Providing Photos For Your Portrait

One of the most important steps is to take high-resolution photos of your pet, that display the essence of your companion’s personality and beauty. The cameras on newer smart phones, iPads, and tablets are sufficient to take these photos. Taking the photos outside on a cloudy day works best, as it provides even lighting and prevents extreme shadows. The photos must also be taken close to your companion, and be on their eye level, which means you will likely be on your knees, or lying down to take them. It may be best if you enlist someone to take the photos, while you control your companion with some snacks/treats.

EXAMPLE OF A NONOPTIMAL PHOTO. While this photo was taken at an acceptable height, the lack of light has prevented the photo’s capture of critical details to draw a top quality portrait. If this would have been taken outside on a cloudy day, it could have been a great portrait.


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ANOTHER NONOPTIMAL PHOTO. This photo was taken looking down on the subject, and the bright sunlight created a shadow that distorts detail on the dog.

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Here’s an example of an optimally taken photo, followed by the Companion Portrait that was drawn from it with colored-pencil stylus. The photo was taken at the pet’s level, outside, on a cloudy day to prevent shadows. Taking photos outside also ends the need to use a flash, which can scare your dog, cause red eye in photos, and cause shadows that distort details in the dog’s fur. Holding a dog snack near the camera will usually get him to look at it.


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We need at least one quality photo that will provide the “pose” for the portrait. By providing other pictures, it will help us to draw the details, capturing the traits that are unique to your companion. If you have a photo and are unsure if it will help us, send it anyway. We will return all your photos safe and sound. You can email electronic photos directly from your phone or tablet via the commission a portrait form (Send them full size, DO NOT reduce the file size), or if you have older photos that are not in an electronic format, you can ship/mail them to us at this address.
If the portrait will be a memorial for a past companion, please send us as many photos as you can. We will look them over and see if we can compose a quality portrait from the photos you have. If it’s not possible, there will be no charge for assessing them. The St. Bernard puppy’s portrait below is an example of how we can sometimes combine photos. The final portrait was made by using the first photo’s head, and the second photo’s body and open eyes; drawn in graphite pencil.

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The photo and the final portrait in graphite pencil of our first Doberman.


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