I have never met your pet or loved one so your photos are the only way I have of getting to know them and creating your memories. The better the photos the better the portrait!

 I can accentuate any character in a photo but I can’t make a sad photo happy .

When you or your pet ‘smiles’ their whole face change shape – the face becomes shorter and wider , their eyes change shape and close up and their mouth obviously changes shape. If I just make a smile with the mouth without changing everything else it will look unnatural and creepy..lol’s.

 Without a photo to show me how their face changes shape I am only guessing and I won’t be able to make it look like your pet. So a happy flattering photo is best.

Ideally your photos will be sharp , nicely lit and exposed and with your pet happy and showing  some of it’s pet’s character.

Generally though that’s not the case and I do the best I can with the photos I receive.

I always tell people ‘ Take heaps of closeup sharp photos of your pets when they are alive! even if you never get a portrait created at least you will have some nice photos of them. Often people only realise they don’t have any sharp or flattering photos of their pet after it has passed away and they need a memorial portrait created. I can create portraits using less than perfect photos especially if we  have other sharper ones from a similar angle – they don’t need to be as flattering as your favourite – I can use them to help me with face structure and nose and eye details.

 Although I don’t include every detail in your portrait I need to be able to see the structure of your pets face and if we have the eyes and nose sharp I can use the photo to let me give the little accents that really bring your pet to life! Whereas a photo shows everything in equal detail I choose to only accent the important things in your portrait to bring your subject to life and bring back the connection.

 ‘ A photo freezes a moment while a painting melts hearts!


Photo taking tips

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  If we can have a happy photo to start with that will make a great difference to your portrait!

Plan ahead – for a small portrait it is best to just have a head portrait so zoom in and just take photos of their head and shoulders.

For a full body larger portrait ( 30 x 40cms image size and larger) make sure their whole body fills the photo.

Here are some photo taking tips .

Remember if you are local I can come and take suitable photos for you.

Always make sure you take plenty of sharp closeup photos of your pets. You never know when they may leave you. I have many people asking me to create a portrait of their pet after it has passed away . Sadly I sometimes have to say it’s not possible as the only photos they have are blurry , dark or their pet is a tiny speck in the photo .

To guard against this one option if you are local is to have me come and take photos of all your pets to put on file for any possible future portraits.

Dog photos – Lighting – If possible don’t use a flash .

Have your pet under a verandah in bright light or outside in overcast conditions or near a window if they are inside.You can take photos of them in bright sunlight but make sure they aren’t squinting or have any dark shadows fall across their face.

The best camera is one with 10megapixels plus , a zoom, sports or multi shot function + and a viewfinder- not just a window at the back.

You can use one with just a window but there is no easy way to check if what you are taking is in focus etc so it will make things harder.

If you don’t have a suitable camera maybe you have a friend who is into photography that can help.

It’s best to have 2 people. Tie your pet up on a 3′-4′ lead. Get about 6 -7′ away from your pet at their level so you are looking them in the eye. We don’t want a photo looking down on your pet. You need to get back from them a little and zoom in to take the photo otherwise the photo will have distortions – big head etc.

Have a friend get behind you AT YOUR LEVEL with some tibbits or a toy and get them to do whatever it takes to get your pets attention. Your pet should be looking at the camera as your helper is crouched behind you ( warn the neighbours that the weird noises coming from the backyard are only you trying to get your pets attention..LOL’s)

Put your camera on best quality photos and if you have it use multi shot or sports setting so that the camera keeps taking photos for as long as you hold the button down.Make sure the camera focuses on your pet before you press the shutter.

I need your pet to be filling the photo not a little blob in the distance so for a head portrait zoom in and just take head & shoulders. For a full body portrait don’t get much background.

Take 100′s of photos.

Cats are obviously harder as you can’t tie them up! Aim to get at their level and shoot across ( unless you deliberately want an unusual angle). This is just a quick overview – if your pet is white or black there are exposure factors to be incorporated. Email me for more photo taking help. Horses need careful photographing form about 15-20′ away and making sure you don’t get distortions. Full sun is great to get the gloss on their coat but be careful not to get their head and neck or large areas of their body in shadow.

An ideal photo

An ideal photo – sharp , well exposed , flattering

You might wonder why you would get a portrait if you have a photo this good?  Detail isn’t necessarily good – selective detail is!

By  enhancing the important things ( eyes, expression etc) and downplaying distracting details your  painting will have more  feel to it than a photo.I put back the important connection you lose in photos and once again your pet is with you!

The portrait created from this photo.

The portrait – Darcy

I have never met your pet or loved one so your photos are the only way I have of getting to know them and creating your memories. The better the photos the better the portrait!

 I can accentuate any character in a photo but I can’t make a sad photo happy .

When you or your pet ‘smiles’ their whole face change shape – the face becomes shorter and wider , their eyes change shape and close up and their mouth obviously changes shape. If I just make a smile with the mouth without changing everything else it will look unnatural and creepy..lol’s.

 Without a photo to show me how their face changes shape I am only guessing and I won’t be able to make it look like your pet. So a happy flattering photo is best.

Ideally your photos will be sharp , nicely lit and exposed and with your pet happy and showing  some of it’s pet’s character.

Generally though that’s not the case and I do the best I can with the photos I receive.

I always tell people ‘ Take heaps of closeup sharp photos of your pets when they are alive! even if you never get a portrait created at least you will have some nice photos of them. Often people only realise they don’t have any sharp or flattering photos of their pet after it has passed away and they need a memorial portrait created. I can create portraits using less than perfect photos especially if we  have other sharper ones from a similar angle – they don’t need to be as flattering as your favourite – I can use them to help me with face structure and nose and eye details.

 Although I don’t include every detail in your portrait I need to be able to see the structure of your pets face and if we have the eyes and nose sharp I can use the photo to let me give the little accents that really bring your pet to life! Whereas a photo shows everything in equal detail I choose to only accent the important things in your portrait to bring your subject to life and bring back the connection.

 ‘ A photo freezes a moment while a painting melts hearts!

it’s

A lovely pose but the photo isn't usable unless we have extras.

A lovely pose but it’s so blurry it’s almost unusable. This photo was also very dark – I have lightened it before I’ve posted it here.

When I first saw this photo I almost said it wasn’t possible to create a portrait but Chloe had passed away and I knew how much the portrait would mean to Angela so with the use of many extra photos I created the painting below.

The portrait of Chloe from this photo with others to help.

This portrait of Chloe was created from the blurry photo (LHS) with others to help.

Most photos I receive are in between these extremes.

For example the one below  of Cass. It is a lovely photo with some character for me to work with , it’s  sharp and is exposed ok.

However Cass’s head is distorted in this photo. His nose is too large.

When taking photos of horses don’t get too close or you will get the big head effect. You also need to stand in the centre of their body with them parallel to you if you are taking a full body pose. If you stand with them crooked with one end closer to the camera it will come out too big for the rest of the body. Sometimes it’s not easy to tell that a pets face isn’t normal. Luckily I had taken some other photos of Cass so realised this wasn’t normal. I reduced the size of his nose in the portrait and created a neck that was hidden under the rug. Ideally he would have had his neck showing in the photo.

 Don’t worry about background distractions I can remove those.

between these extremes.

A lovely photo - some character for me to work with , sharp and ok exposure.

Cass's portrait minus big nose and rug!

Cass’s portrait minus big nose and rug!

A lovely sharp well exposed photo with a cute pose

A lovely sharp well exposed photo with a cute pose

The portrait - notice how you feel the connection more in the portrait than the photo and how it is more 3D.

The portrait – notice how you feel more of  a connection with the portrait than the photo and how the portrait is more 3D.