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.

When a client emails or posts their photograph to me, I take time to closely look at it and then open a discussion concerning its merits or problems. I fully appreciate a commission is extremely special and needs to capture a loved companion. It is likely to be displayed on a wall forever so I want to do the very best I can. I take great care with my work, my delight is creating an animal, much more than it is about art. The most important element in a photograph is that it captures how my client sees their companion. A photograph essentially needs to be how my client wants to remember their pet. This is my clients painting, not mine!

I only need one photograph of any animal. If a painting will include more than one pet I can normally combine a separate photo, of each animal to be included. You will see this in my gallery.

I often paint pets that have 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.

I paint what I see, however, if a clients asks me to remove such as a mark that isn't normally there, I can normally do so.

Tips for taking photographs ..
  1. Where possible, take photographs in natural light. Indoor lighting can affect colour and so is not ideal. 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. 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 and 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, this will help with perspective and reduce the risk of 'overly long noses'!
  1. Don't worry about background as I remove it

A gift voucher might be useful when buying someone else a portrait. This is especially useful if a client knows little about the animal to be painted. They start at £10

Images can translate their colours differently from photograph to photograph. Below this text are two photographs of the same painting, taken within minutes of each other, but looking quite different in colour. Photographs can be misleading. For this reason I request my client prints their chosen photograph, in 7 x 5 at least, and checks the colours are correct before posting to me. I will then paint as close as possible to those colours.

horse darker 250

horse paler 250

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