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Advice on obtaining suitable photographs

Using the right photograph is probably the number one most important thing for creating a beautiful, detailed and accurate likeness in a portrait. Clear, high resolution photographs mean that I can create the best possible portraits of your horse, dog, cat, or other animal. It is so important, that I cannot take on any commissions where there is not a suitable photograph for me to work from. This can be very disappointing if the animal has passed away, which I understand as I have experienced this problem personally.

So, what makes a suitable photograph for me to work from? I will give a few examples below, along with a guide for taking photographs yourself. If you cannot get your own photographs, then I can put you in touch with a very talented professional photographer who may be able to help.

Ideally, photographs should be taken at the animal's eyelevel so you may have to crouch or even lie down. This ensures that there is minimal distortion from the camera lens. We've all seen the photographs taken from above which show a huge head and tiny legs, or the massive nose that is too close to the camera and looks totally out of proportion to the face.

Then you need to think about how you would like to remember your pet. What was he/she like personality-wise, and does the photograph show that? You will probably need to get someone to help you by holding your pet or by distracting or playing with them to get the perfect shot.

Often face-on photographs or full side-on ones don't make good compositions for portraits. A three quarters view is usually ideal.

I am also able to paint backgrounds which are different to that of the original photograph. If your pet had a favourite place, for example, and you have a photograph of it, then I can paint them against that background. I have a large number of my own stock photographs too, which you could also choose for a background, such as woodlands, fields, dramatic skies, or snow. Alternatively, if you want nothing to distract from your pet, then I can paint them against a plain background suited to their coat colour or in a hue of your own choice.

Examples of good photographs:

Below are a few examples of unsuitable photographs. If you are at all unsure, email me with your photographs at:

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