This is can be one of the trickiest things working in the pet portrait field. So often I get contacted by people who want a beautiful portrait done of the dearly departed pet, which I am more than happy to do until I see the photos they have for me to work from. Of course if they have passed on we can only work with what we have and my years of experience can often mean I can do something.

But generally speaking I will seek out the really good photo to work from as it not only makes it more enjoyable for me, the end result is so much better. It helps me create a pet painting that is going to really capture the character and detail you can see in my portfolio.

Here are some tips on capturing that perfect photograph for me to work from.

1. Please don’t use flash, it washes out the colours and creates a horrible red eye in your pets eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul so are the most important thing to me.

2. Outside is best. Avoid a really dark gloomy day. The best weather is a bright but slighty overcast day as it avoids dark shadows. However sunny days are not too much of a problem. Make sure the sun is behind you when photographing your dog or horse, but try and make sure they aren’t squinting.

3. On their level. Try not to photograph looking down on your dog or cat. It creates unusual angles and distorts the perspective. I can correct somethings but too much distortion is a nightmare. Sorry yes it may mean you need to get on your hands and knees!

4 . Full resolution files! I can’t work off something you have taken off facebook or a bad camera phone that is about 49kb. There just won’t be enough detail! When taking your photos make sure your camera or phone is set to the highest image size and when you email make sure your phone or email doesn’t automatically resize the photograph. I recommend at least 1-2mb files please.

5. Patience is the key. If I am local enough to you I can take my own photos for the portrait, but as we all know animals aren’t always the most co-operative. I snap and snap and snap some more, the beauty of digital is you can take as many as you like and it doesn’t matter they can be deleted if no good. Sometimes I take in the region of 200 photos and I will be surprised at what I manage to get without realising it.

Happy Snapping!