Tips on photographs

Whilst a lovely detailed photograph is great for me to paint, a less detailed one may also produce a 'special' treasured portrait. It is as much about capturing the essence of a loved animal, as it is about detail.

The most important element in your photograph will be that it captures how you see your companion. This is your painting, not mine!

I can only paint what I see, although I can leave out blemishes normally, so please do ask. When you email or post me your photograph, I will take time to closely look at it and then open an honest discussion concerning its merits or problems.

I take great care with my work, my delight is creating your loved companion, much more than it is about art.

I only need one photograph per pet please. If your painting is to include more than one I can normally combine separate photographs, you will see examples in my gallery.

I often paint pets that have sadly passed away and appreciate there may only be photographs that are less than ideal. I will advise honestly whether they are suitable. Whilst I always want to provide a loving lasting memory for every client, I would never promise to paint something that is not possible. I always capture any pets character as long as I can see it. Please do not assume a photograph is not good enough though, send it to me and I will advise.

Tips for taking photographs ..
  1. Some mobile phones have excellent cameras, but if not then please use a camera to obtain a better result
  1. Where possible, take photographs in natural light. Indoor lighting can affect colour and so is not ideal. Have the sun over your shoulder, do not take a photo into the sun as this makes the animal dark. Black animals in particular benefit from good outdoor lighting as it highlights the fur for me to see detail and movement. Please avoid too much light though as it can create .. squinting, large areas of too much white or too much shadow, both of which hide detail
  1. Please take head and shoulders only where possible. A photograph of an animal in a beautiful setting is fabulous, as far as a photograph goes, but for me it will not be useful. By the time I crop into the bit I need, it is likely to be very low in resolution and hence blurred.
  1. Ideally try to capture whatever is important to you about your pet. Not everyone wants the classic portrait pose. Obtaining good eye detail is especially important if you can (not relevant if your animal has fur over its eyes due to it's breed of course), eyes are truly the window to the soul
  1. Please remove collars on dogs and cats, and ensure the animal is not covered by items such as bedding, unless you want them painted in. I cannot paint what I cannot see
  1. Horses or ponies tack incurs extra cost, so if you do not want it included, please photograph without it. Tack covers too much detail for me to pretend it isn't there and invent a horses or ponies face
  1. Unless you like the pose, do not look down on your pet. I suggest getting down to their level is best
  1. Food and toys, especially noisy or wiggly ones that excite your pet, are ideal accessories for an animal photographer. Two people working on the photo might be ideal, with the photographer getting down to the level of your pet as this will help with perspective and reduce the risk of 'overly long noses'!
  1. Don't worry about background as I remove it

Images can translate their colours differently from photograph to photograph or from print to print. For this reason, when your photograph is decided upon, I will need you to print it please, check colours are correct and then post it to me. I will then paint as close as possible to those colours.

Many thanks .. enjoy taking or finding your 'special forever photo' to be painted