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The best reference photographs for pet portraits

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Would you like to book a pet portrait, but you're unsure of the best type of photographs to choose? Take a look at this blog post to get an idea of the best reference photos for drawing.

The reference photo is the most important aspect of any pet portrait. While I'd love to accept all photographs that are sent to me, there's general rule about what makes a good and bad photo. After all, the drawing can only ever be as detailed as the original picture. With this being said, here are some guidelines to ensure you get the best possible outcome when ordering a pet portrait.

What makes a good reference photo?

You don't have to have an SLR camera to take a good reference photo. A smartphone with a decent camera can capture great results, as long as you follow these simple tips.

The best reference photos are taken in natural lighting, this allows for the true colours of your pet's fur to be visible. When zooming in on the photo, you want to see detail such as individual hairs, so the closer you can get the better. You also want to take the photo to be taken on level with your pet, rather than from above or below as this can skew the perspective.

What makes a bad reference photo?

Unfortunately some photos just won't work for a pet portrait. These photos tend to be taken either in low lighting, from too far a distance, or in motion. If you take a look at the photo below, it's a little dark and pixelated - meaning you can't see the detail and the eyes are dull. The ears are also cropped out of the photo which makes drawing tricky. It's also worth noting that reference photos shouldn't have any colour altering filters as this makes it tricky to see the true fur colour.

It's amazing the difference good lighting can make to a photo. Hopefully with these tips in mind, you'll be able to capture the perfect picture for your new pet portrait. Alternatively, if you're ordering a pet portrait as a gift, hopefully you can now spot a good photograph from their Facebook!

I understand that in some circumstances your pet may be no longer here, therefore you might only have a select few photographs to choose from. In instances like this I try my best to draw from the photographs you do have, as I know how heartbreaking it is losing a pet.

If you have any questions or concerns about your photographs then please do get in touch as I can discuss the best options with you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, I look forward to hearing from you.

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