PHOTOS are an important part of the process of creating dog portraits, so it’s essential to provide photos that capture your pet’s personality. Since it’s through these photos that I get to know your dog, my drawings and paintings are an expression of his or her unique characteristics as revealed in the photos you provide. I usually focus on one main photo, so it should represent the way you wish the finished portrait to look. It is also helpful for me to have photos that show details such as eye expression, coat colors, etc.
Plan a Photo Session
Take lots of photos! The key to capturing your dog’s personality and characteristics is to make sure they are comfortable. Each dog is different, so different approaches may be needed. Sometimes, photographing over a span of a few days can help your dog to become comfortable with the camera.
Waiting for the Perfect Moment
My Golden Retriever, Sandy, was extremely camera shy and almost all of my pictures show her turning away from the camera. One day while sitting on the sofa with my camera in my lap, I waited for her to walk into the room. With lots of patience and a little bit of luck…Voila! I was able to capture the perfect moment.
As she walked into the room, I snapped this picture, capturing Sandy’s sweet spirit and beauty. ! I think it’s the best photo I have of her.
Tips for Your Photo Shoot
- Keep things natural and relaxed.
- A good time to plan a session is after the morning walk or other exercise.
- Take action shots at the beginning of your walk.
- Enlist help. Ask a friend or family member to engage your dog with treats or a toy to keep his/her attention while you take photos.
- Work in good light, preferably outdoors on a sunny or slightly cloudy day, or inside by a window. It’s best to shoot in natural light.
- It’s helpful to provide a range of photos and also photos with more detail. It helps me to see the colors in their coats. Use a zoom lens or get close to your dog and take pictures.
- Dark and light coated dogs can be a challenge to photograph. Sometimes using a flash can help bring out your dog’s fur.
Positioning – Getting on dog-eye level
- Get on eye level with your dog! When you take photos looking down, your dog appears small and insignificant. Because your commissioned dog portrait will be displayed on the wall at eye level, it’s best to take photos on their level.
- Either crouch or lie down when taking photos, or you can raise your dog onto a chair or other surface to achieve the same result.
- Try shooting different ways – get up close so your dog fills the frame, get a shot of your dog’s profile, try to get the wetness of his/her nose.
- Imagine how the pose might look as a painting or drawing and hanging on the wall
- Be playful, have fun and allow serendipity to unfold!
Not all of your photos will be perfect for a portrait but will be nice additions to your photo albums.
Portrait of Dogs Who Have Passed Away
I have worked with many clients who have asked for a portrait of a beloved dog who sadly passed away. Many times the client has very few photographs but I am always happy to look at your photos and help you decide on options. Perhaps instead of a painting, a drawing might be more suitable.
I am always eager to see your photographs and to help create the perfect portrait. Please feel free to email. I look forward to seeing your photos soon.