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  • Marissa Hitt

How to Take Picture Perfect Pet Photos

Our custom pet portrait process is created to be convenient & quick to complete, but one of the most important parts are the pictures you email us of your pet.

Here are some tips to email us picture perfect photos, so I can paint your pet with all of their special little details such as their shades, their personalities, & the light in their eyes. I want to bring you joy with your pet’s portrait, & all of their unique features are what make them one of a kind. As we create the timeless keepsake that will be your pet painting, we want to ensure we capture all the wonderful features your pet carries.

1. Let There Be Light

Natural light is usually the best lighting. Mornings & evenings provide the softest light as the sun casts softer shadows. Photographing your beloved pet in the direct sunrise or sunset light could cast varying shades of orange or yellow on your pet, which makes the reference photos more difficult to refer to when painting. I may not be able to tell what your pet’s natural shades really are. If you are taking your pet’s photos indoors, we suggest you turn off surrounding lights to allow natural lighting to have it’s best effect. Facing your pet towards your strongest natural light source (e.g. the biggest window in your house), is always a must when photographing your pet in natural light. However, I am always open to what you want in your pet portrait, so if you desire the painting to have a golden hour glow, go right ahead! We just want you to know those golden hour shades will be painted on your pet if all of the photos you email us are taken then, or we may email you back asking for other photos you have of your pet. I will do my best to paint your pet without the golden glow, but I cannot be certain I would truly capture your pet’s natural shades. The same goes for harsh direct sunlight or harsh lighting outside, as well. Harsh light is typically seen when there are little to no clouds in the sky. Whether you are photographing your pet inside or outside, if there is harsh direct sunlight in the photo, your pet’s photos may make your pet’s coloring look more exaggerated. For example, if your pet is black & beige, his or her black coloring could look darker than usual, & his or her beige coloring look lighter than in person.

2. Beware of the Background

Although the background will not be included unless requested, your background may cast varying shades on your pet depending on the time of day you photograph your pet & what color/colors your pet has. For example, if you place your white pet on bright grass, the grass may cast all kinds of green shades on your pet, or, if you have a purple wall & a gray pet, depending on the time of day you take the photograph & where your light source is coming from, your pet could look a little purple.

3. Put Their Best Figure & Face Foward

Pets are one of the most difficult living things you will ever have to capture on camera. For a pet portrait, I believe it is so important to email us photographs that represent their personality best in body language, as well as their expressions. For example, I had a wonderful photoshoot with Beau, our new Golden Retriever, & here are two photos Jenny Wheat took of him that were both adorable, but one of them represented his personality better, so I posted the photo with his tongue fully out & his head tilted to the side. His eyes were relaxed yet sweet. If you can capture your pet’s eyes in a happy moment, that is just the cherry on top. Because he is always curious, intelligent, & cute, this shot fit the personality we see on a daily basis. Your pet’s body language in a photograph is important, too. By making noises & shaking treats right above the camera, our amazing photographer was able to get Beau’s attention & capture those priceless photos, as well as create our personal favorite.

Now, If I had chosen this photo as one of his main portraits to showcase, it would not have been Beau’s personal best, because I cannot decipher the shape of his face, body, or his usual expression/expressions. If I tried to paint Beau based on this photo alone, I would not be able to paint a very good portrait. Although this photo is quite cute, & I loved posting it on our page, I would not send it to an artist to refer to.

4. Extra, Extra

Extra items on or around your pet are important to take notice of, as well. On our custom pet form, we included a project detail section where you could notify us of any extra requests you may have for your pet portrait. For example, if your pet is sporting a bandanna, please let us know to include your pet’s accessory if you would like it added to the painting. I always paint the pet portraits without collars, so please let us know if you would like extra items such as collars, bandannas, bows, clothing, scenery, etc. included so I can create the look for your pet you have in mind.

5. Your Pet, Unfiltered

Ah, filters. A perfect touch for many Instagram photos, but difficult to distinguish your pet’s natural color when referring to a photo that highlights your pet’s darkest or warmest tones. Here is an example of a filtered versus an unfiltered photo of the famous shot of Beau:

Please take notice of how different Beau’s coloring looks on the filtered photo (the unfiltered photo was taken by Jenny Wheat, the filter was my added by me for this blog post). If you email us a filtered photo of your pet, please let us know you would like his or her coloring as pictured, because we will most likely ask you to email us more photos if we notice a filter on the photo. We want your pet portrait to showcase your pet’s true personality, heart, & the way you want your pet to be featured.

6. Keep It Clean

Keep your photo clean by wiping off your camera lens before taking photos of your pet. You can have the perfect photo setting, but if your camera lens is not clean, it can make the entire photo blurry & discolored.

7. It Can Take Multiple Photos to Reach Perfection

Although it takes a lot to make a great photo, please know I often make subtle changes to a painting when using a reference photo of your pet. If you email us a photo that needs adjusted, we will let you know what we need you to do to get a photo I can refer to. You do not need to have a professional photo taken of your pet (they do look amazing when taken professionally, though). This is why we ask for a few to several photos of your pet, so if one pose is great, but the lighting is not, I can refer to another photo of your pet you emailed us that has better lighting while taking the pose from the other photo to incorporate into the painting.

8. The Goal & The Finished Product

I want you to absolutely love your custom pet painting, & one of my main goals is for the finished portrait to give you & the people who know your pet joy. That is why we check back with you through email to make sure you love your pet portrait once it is finished & before we ship it to you. Once you receive your custom portrait, you are more than welcome to post it on social media (please avoid placing filters on the photo of the painting, & natural light or even lighting is always best when photographing it!) & tag us on Instagram & Facebook. On any social media platform, we always appreciate credit, & would love to share your pet portrait post on our social media pages.



2023 Jenny Shipley Senior Marissa Party Digital-68_edited.jpg
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