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Tips for great photographs

Natural light is best, preferably outdoors, and not in direct sunlight. The best time is on a bright overcast day. Sometimes direct sunlight can wash out features and cast some unflattering images causing distortion.

It is critically important that the photo is sharp and in focus. Blurry photos are impossible to use as reference.

Flash lights are a no-no. Again, the flash on a camera can cause unflattering shadows and distortions. It can mask out details and shadows and cause unnatural coloring.

Eye level is always best UNLESS you are going for an avant garde look! Sometimes looking straight down on your dog from above can be kinda cute!

Sometimes a head tilt to one side is pleasing or three quarter angle is preferable. Iphones have come a long way, so I typically don't have a problem if you are using your phone for photos. That said, if you have a 35mm camera, that's even better!


Poor lighting, out of focus & lack of details, red/glowing eyes, pet looking up/down or eyes closed



If you are looking at commissioning a portrait of a pet that has sadly passed away I understand you may have limited photos available, but please don't worry - send me as many photos as you can and we can work through them together.



A common misconception for multiple pet portraits is that you have to have your pets in the same photo.  Most of the multiple pet portraits in my gallery were single pets from multiple photographs. I prefer to have several reference photos of each pet to ensure that I ccrrectly capture hair and eye color correctly. I also like to have a variety of poses to help with the most pleasing composition. 


My goal is for you to LOVE your portrait! Sometimes that means several conversations about composition and coloring. I am here to help.

I will always review and discuss your photos with you when ordering a commission. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any more help, or you wish to ask any questions. Feel free to send me as many photos as you like, with no obligation at all - my advice is always free.


with shadows

Bad lighting, black dog has no detail, too far away.



This is a perfect picture to use as a reference for a portrait.



  • Taken at the dog's eye level

  • Lightning is indirect, natural sunlight

  • There is a nice balance of highlights and shadows on the dog's coat.

  • The details are crisp, sharp, and in focus.

  • The coloring is true and natural

  • There are highlights in the dog's eyes and nose

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