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Welcome to the help guide for selecting the perfect reference picture for me to turn into your very own unique, beautiful portrait. The file upload tool is at the bottom of this page.


I get many enquiries from potential clients and they are always a little upset when I refuse a reference picture that they wish me to paint. There are several very good reasons why I refuse certain photos, so this help guide may be of assistance to you, to understand the reasons why a perfect reference picture is so crucial and the handy tips section may help when you are trying to capture that perfect moment with your beloved pet. In some cases, new photos will not be possible. If your pet has sadly passed away, please send me as many photos of your furry friend as possible and I will try my best to create the best possible portrait for you to cherish.


So, lets first discuss why I refuse poor quality reference photos. I am someone who doesn’t know you or your pet or family member and all I know is what I can see from the photo you supply me to work with. Blurry images, poor lighting and far away photos are of no good to me when I am producing you a memorable work of art, I cannot guess what the fur is like on your furry friend nor any distinguishing features your family member may have. For me to produce a stunning, accurate portrait for you that captures the soul of your subject(s), I need to be able to see as much detail as possible.












































As you can see in the first two comparisons above, there are clear differences between the two photos. The photos on the left show the way the fur is lying, the eyes are wide open and bright. I can really see a great deal from these photos and could produce amazing pieces of artwork from these pictures. The right-hand pictures are a world apart from their neighbours. The fur is blurry, I cannot see the way every strand of fur lies when I zoom in on the photo. The eyes are dull and lifeless and the lighting is terrible, the photo is too dark for me to see the detail required. Similarly, the next two comparisons show the difference between a good quality photo and bad quality photo in terms of eye detail and nose detail. I would have to reject the reference photos on the right as I couldn’t create you a beautiful portrait from these pictures, and for me personally, I will not accept poor images for the sake of claiming the job as your chosen artist. You would not be very happy with the finished piece, nor would I. To date I have never disappointed a client with a finished portrait and I do not intend on starting that trend. Please see my pet photography tips (below) for help on taking suitable photos.



Pet Photography Tips


How to find the perfect picture?

When looking through your pictures and albums of your loved pets, or taking a new picture yourself, there are a few key things to consider - as mentioned above:

  • Good Lighting – Is your picture light enough to see your pet?

  • True eye colour – Does the picture show the true eye colour of your pet?

  • True fur colour – Does the picture show the true fur colour of your pet?

  • Visible fur direction – Can you see the fur in detail?

  • Texture detail – Can you see the iris detail of your pets eye or pebbled texture of the nose?

  • A good distance from the camera – is your pet too far away and hard to see?




Mobile phone cameras are becoming increasingly advanced, with photo quality improving with each new handset release. However, they’re still not quite up to the standard of a digital camera. Where possible, please use a digital camera for pet photography.


If you do not have access to / cannot get access to a digital camera, then I can accept photographs from a mobile device.


Please follow the advice below in order to get the very best from your device:




Natural light is an absolute must! Unfortunately, mobile devices do not process low light well. Please ensure you take photographs of your pet in daylight in order to achieve the best possible result. Ideally, you will take your photos outside, though I appreciate this is not a possibility for some cat owners. Please avoid using flash on all devices as it can cause a reflection in the eyes, and causes loss of detail in the fur.




Please avoid using the zoom function on your mobile device. It is always best to get in as close as possible to your pet to ensure he or she fills the frame. If this is not possible, step in as close as you can get and I’ll see if I can crop and work with it. I might be able to salvage some details this way, though there is no guarantee. While the onscreen effect of a pinch and zoom photo looks reasonable, the effect is a highly pixelated image which I sadly cannot work with due to the loss of detail. To take the photo a little further away and crop is better than the pinch and zoom.


N.B. Although pinch and zoom is not accepted on mobile devices, optical zoom on a digital camera is encouraged.



As mentioned above, filling the frame with your pet(s) is important. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a full body or head & chest study only, the more you fill the frame the clearer the detail will be. In both cases, be sure not to cut any of your pet’s limbs / ears etc. out of the frame.


Finally, in all cases, don’t be afraid to send me numerous photos. There’s no limit! The more I have to work with, the better!

Dog Nose Good.jpg
Pet Good.jpg
Cat Eye Good 2.jpg
Dog Comparison for Site.jpg
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