Having professional photographs taken of your pet or companion animal is the best choice.  These pictures will capture the animal's personality and will meet the needs of the portrait artist.  However, with a little time and patience, taking photos that capture the special features of your pet or companion animal is possible.

The single most important thing for capturing a good photo of your pet or companion animal is patience! We all know pets that love to have their picture taken and will readily pose for the camera, but some are not as cooperative.  Try to choose a time when your pet or companion animal is more likely to be calm -- after a meal, exercise, or playtime.

Please note that the quality of my portraits depends in large part on the quality of the reference photographs.  If the photographs are out of focus or the subject is a small portion of the photograph and not the whole photograph, I won't have the necessary detail and my portrait may not reflect the true likeness of your pet or companion animal.

Here are some tips on how to take good photographs of your pet or companion animal.

Tip Comments
Lighting Natural lighting (outdoors if possible) is best.  A bright, overcast day is the ideal as it will bring out the natural coloring and shading of your pet or companion animal.  Avoid using your camera's flash!  A flash will remove any shadows and alter your pet or companion animal's color rendition.
Film Speed and Print Size Assuming sufficient light, 100 speed print film produces the sharpest image details.  (200 is also a good choice.)  If your pet or companion animal is very active and just won't sit or stand still, then you may need to use 400 speed film to avoid blurry images.  However, 400 speed film doesn't capture as much image detail as 100 or 200 speed film.  (If you are taking 4x6 prints, you probably won't notice a significant difference.  However, at 5x7 - and, definitely at 8x10 or larger - you will see a difference.) The ideal print size for reference photos is 5x7.  This is large enough to show good detail without being significantly more expensive to develop than standard 4x6 prints.
Posing Take pictures at your pet or companion animal's eye-level. (Unless you want your portrait to be 'looking-down' or 'looking-up' at your pet or companion animal!) Take several photos of just your pet or companion animal's face, filling as much of the picture as possible while keeping it in focus.  For portraits, just your pet or companion animal's shoulders and complete head will be required.  For a full body portrait, you'll need to take several pictures of your pet or companion animal in the pose you'd like.  A full side-body shot of your pet or companion animal, either lying down or standing and looking at you, is usually the best pose for this type of portrait.  If your pet or companion animal won't sit or stand still, have someone gently hold or restrain your pet or companion animal.  If these pictures are for a portrait, then arms or hands won't matter as long as they don't block key features of your pet or companion animal.  Try to capture your pet or companion animal's expression -- use a favorite toy or sound to get your pet or companion animal's attention just before taking each picture.  Sometimes it helps to have someone hold a toy or treat just above or beside your head so your pet or companion animal will be looking in the direction of the camera as you take the picture.  And, finally, take as many pictures as you want!  You can never have too many pictures of your pet or companion animal!
Digital Images Digital photos have additional benefits over film prints:
  • You can e-mail them to me.
  • If the pictures are taken at high-resolution, I can enlarge them to discern and capture even more details in my portrait.
  • With your permission, I may include it with your pet or companion animal's portrait on my Portfolio page!
If you are in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and you'd like to use a professional photographer, I highly recommend
James J. Fontaine.  He's very reasonable and has taken hundreds, if not thousands, of reference photos for my artwork over the years.

For your convenience, you may want to print this page.


You Are the VERY Best!

I LOVE IT!!!!! You captured his (Bandit) eyes like they are real...and the framer was really impressed with all the different colors in his fur. My husband LOVED the portrait (it was his birthday present) and he posted the picture on Facebook. Best B-day present ever!

                                                                       - Shawna Heising

Latest News

Ladies Time Out

On November 6, 2015, from 6-10pm, Ladies Time Out at The Barn at O'Bistro on North Main St.  in Wolfeboro, NH will feature a variety of events and items for sale, with food, dancing, and lots of fun just for women. This is a special event for you, ladies, to have a fun time with your friends. And it is all for a good cause: The Wolfeboro Area Children's Center.
Join the fun, do some shopping, and help a good cause!
***Note: I will be donating 10% of all commissioned portraits that come from this event to the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center.

Las Vegas Commission!

I recently had a commission come in from Las Vegas, Nevada!!! That was exciting that I'm reaching pet owners across the country! See what Shawna had to say about Bandit under "Testimonials".

Rocky and Bear

My newest commissions have just been added - check out Rocky and Bear under Dogs in Portfolio! I think they came out great and my client is pretty happy, as well. See what he said under "Testimonials".

Website Revamped

My website has had a facelift! Read more ...