Pet Portraits in Oil

Traditional oil portraits painted on linen canvas

Photography Advice ...

Just click on the links below to take you straight to a photography section you would like to read about. If you can’t find what you are looking for please contact me for help.

Photographing your pets…

Multiple pet photos…

Portrait backgrounds…

Working with unsuitable photos…

Sending your photographs...

Photographing your pets …

It can be difficult to take photographs of your pets, especially when they are over-excited and can't keep still, but if you can use a digital camera this will make the task a lot easier as you can take many pictures and then just delete the blurred ones and the ones you don't like.

Try to take the photographs from your pet's eye level, not from above, because the image will appear more accurate of your pet’s face structure and shape, especially around the mouth and nose. You also won’t cast any shadows accidentally across your pet.

If your pet has dark fur use the flash on your camera to capture the details and highlights. Also try to take the photos outside if possible, as they will be a lot clearer, or even just stand near a window with plenty of light shining through.


Another good point is to think about what expression you most like on your pet; is it when they are sleepy and relaxed? Or when they are alert and playful? Capture the expression that most reflects their true personality. Have patience and use toys or treats if they help.

 

Multiple pet photos …

If you want to commission a portrait with more than one pet in the same painting, then I can work from more than just one photo. A few important factors would need to be discussed, such as sizing differences between your pets, lighting, and fur tones and colours. This is because we would want all the subjects in the painting to appear as though they are in the same place, so lighting and contrast would need to be similar on all your pets.

 

 

Portrait backgrounds …

If you would like to include a detailed background with your pet portrait, then you need to decide what kind of background you want. You can provide me with additional photographs of possible backgrounds, such as your dog’s favourite place to go on an exciting walk, their favourite sleeping spot to curl up in, or just their own back garden where they love to play. If you don’t have any photographs you would want to use in a portrait then I can provide many examples for you to choose from. I can help you decide which backgrounds would be most suitable if you can’t decide or don’t know where to start.

 

Working with unsuitable photos …

For me to be able to create a pet portrait for you, it's preferable that you provide good quality photographs that enable me to capture detail and likeness of your pet in the final painting. I understand that sometimes this won't be possible because the photos are old and your pet may no longer be with us, so if you want a portrait from a bad quality photograph then contact me and we can work it out together.

First, I suggest that you send me as many photos as possible so that I can see your pet at different angles and in different lights, then we can discuss the correct colourings, markings, and character of your pet. Although I suggest that you send multiple photos, the actual photo that I use for the final portrait should hopefully be in focus, have nothing of your pet cut out (such as ears, top of head or paws) and be from your pet's eye level. Please contact me for more help and information.

Sending your photographs ….

There are a few different options you can choose from when it comes to providing me with pictures of your pet to paint a portrait from. Choose the method that is most suitable for you but remember that I can help you at any time if you need me to. All photographs sent to me are returned with the finished portrait, and any photographs taken by me will be sent to the portrait owner either through email or the post.

Sending original photos through the post or email…
If you don’t have any digital images of your pet and you just want me to paint straight from an original photograph, you can easily send me the photos straight through the post or email. This is most suitable for a client who’s pet has passed away so they are unable to take new digital photos, or a client who wants a specific picture to be painted and doesn’t want to take any more. When choosing this option, please remember that new digital images will often contain a lot more detail than a standard photograph, but they can still be worked from. Photographs can be scanned into a computer and sent to me through email if customers are worried about sending precious photographs away in the post.

Sending jpeg images through email or the post…
The most popular option is to send me images of your pet through email. It is quick, easy and reliable, and the images often allow me to see a lot of detail. This is suitable for people who are using a digital camera and have easy internet access. Images should always be in jpeg format and be at the highest resolution possible. I can help with this if needed. I can also accept jpeg images to be saved onto a cd and sent through the post if this is more convenient for a customer.

I can take the photographs for you…
This option has many benefits and is suitable for anyone living nearby, especially if you don’t own a digital camera or you would prefer that I took the photos for you using my own digital camera. This way I am able to take extremely suitable photos that I know would be perfect for a portrait, and I am also able to meet your pet and see what personality they have, as it is important to capture the true personality of a pet in a portrait. This final option is only available to those who live near enough to travel to.

Obviously not all of these options are available to everyone, but the main thing to remember is that the higher quality the photo you give me, the more detailed the final painting will be.