Photo Tips 

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I know that most people are not professional photographers.  If you are still having problems getting good photos of your pet after following the suggestions below, please let me know and I will be happy to farther assist you.  I have many tricks up my sleeve for various situations.  Good luck with your photo session!

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Photo Tips


  • If you live within driving distance, I will be glad to come over to take photos of your pet for references for the portrait.  (Depending on how far away you live from me, there may be a small fee to cover the costs.)
  • It is always best if you have a camera to take the pictures.  You should try to get close-ups of your pet, filling the frame of the camera. If your camera has a telephoto setting, use it. You need to be at least 4 feet away from your pet while taking the picture or the photo will be distorted.  The telephoto lens (or setting) will give you a close-up without the risk of distortions or being out of focus because you are too close to your subject. (exception if using a smart phone.  See below)
  • If you are using a smart phone to take the pictures, do not use the telephoto to bring the animal closer to you.  This may cause the image to become blurred.  Set your resolution on the highest setting possible and be sure you are far enough away so that it does not cause distortions.  Send the full resolution photo to me.  Not all smart phones are created equal, while some (like the iPhone) take great photos, others do not.
  • If you do not have a smart phone, please do not use your cell phone to take the photos.  Instead, use a camera.  Regular cell phones do not take good enough photos to use as references. 
  • Take several views of your pet: such as a profile, 3/4 profile, both sides, and from the front.  Have your pet in various stances, such as sitting, standing and laying down.  This is particularly important if you are going to have more than one pet in the portrait.  Do this for each animal individually and include a photo of them together so I can use for size comparison. (Pastel portraits only.)  I do not recommend having more than one pet in a pen and ink portrait.
  • Try to get down to the pet's level to take the picture.  A picture taken from above gives a distorted view of your pet.  If you can not come down to his/her level, place your pet on a table, chair, deck or other object where you can be eye level.  
  • The best lighting is outdoors in indirect light. This can be on a cloudy day, in the late afternoon, in the morning about two hours after sunrise, or in the shade on a sunny day.  If you take the picture on a sunny day, it helps if both the subject and the photographer are in the shade.  (However, if you have an all black animal, more light may be required.)  You may want to take pictures in the sun as well as in the shade.
  • Be sure that the light source is in front of the subject.  If the subject is backlit, it may be in the shadows too much to see the details.
  • Send several pictures of your pet. These can be either film photos or digital files, or a combination of the two. (All pictures will be returned to you unharmed.)  If taking digital photos, please set the camera to the highest quality possible. The file size should be at least 2 MB. You can either send them via e-mail at their full size or put them on a CD.  It is very important to have at least one good picture with the eyes in focus and another with the nose in focus. 
  • If you email photos to me, make sure that you only send 2-3 images per email.   Most email carriers tend to shrink the size of the images if the files are too big, making them too small for me to work from. 
  • Above all, make your photo sessions short and fun for your pet!  Keep your patience and your sense of humor! This is most important! If your pet knows you are getting frustrated, he is less likely to cooperate.
  • Please DO NOT ask me to do a portrait from pictures taken by a professional photographer unless you have the photographer's written permission. This is copyrighted material and it is unlawful for me to use without the permission of the photographer.

**Please note that it is very important that you provide good quality photos for me to work from.  Follow the tips above to help you get quality photos of your pet.  I will no longer accept inferior photos for references, unless you are willing to pay double.  The reason for this is that I am only guessing at the details when using bad references, It takes me several times longer to do the portrait, and the quality may not be as good in the final piece.  It is very much like asking a person to drive blindfolded.  It can be done, but you have to slow way down and a lot of mistakes will occur in the process.  

Email:  artisteff@ gmail.com             © Stephanie Grimes 2015 All Rights Reserved