Welcome to Pet Portrait Salon.com

Photo Tips

When looking through your photographs and/or choosing to take new photographs of your pet with this portrait in mind, here are some tips to make the best possible choice.  Remember that the overall rendering of your pets face and position will be exactly that which is in your photograph.  Background is not necessary, as it will not be painted unless you have agreed to a special commission fee and have made prior arrangements.


The best possible lighting is natural light.  Even if your pet never ventures outdoors, use window lighting to create a soft, natural feel to your pet's eyes and fur.  Natural light will give the eyes and markings of your loved one a more true to life look than artificial light.

If your photograph was taken outdoors, try to find or take one that is not in direct sunlight or dappled lighting.  Any white or black on your pet will loose detail taken in deep shadow or hot sunlight.  A nice light, solid shade or overcast day will render the most natural color.

If at all possible avoid flash.  As you are aware it can cause red-eye and change the overall color of your pets eyes and/or coat.  If however your pet is solid black, certainly a fill flash in the shade or bounce flash inside will help bring out texture and shading required for the painting.


Look for a photograph that best represents their personality...an expression that you just love or a regal pose which just makes them the most beautiful animal ever!  Keep in mind that what you give me is what you get.  So if you want a portrait of the animal looking up at you then that's fine, otherwise look for or take a photograph that was taken at their level.

If you have or are considering commissioning a full-body portrait, then you must look at the proportion of their body in the photograph.  If the head is bigger than the hind end, you won't be happy with the final portrait.  If this is what you want, look for or take a photograph of your pet from their level, squat, kneel or sit to capture realistic full body proportions.

For cameo portraits of one animal, concentrate on a photograph where your pet's head and upper body is at least 1/2 of the image.  In other words, if your pet is a spot in the overall image it isn't a good choice to work from.  

Choose a photograph that does not have anything in front of the part of the pet you want painted.  No arms or hands on the animal, if it has a ball in it's mouth, that's what will be painted.  Distracting items or backgrounds that do not come in close contact of the pet are fine and will not be painted.

If you are commissioning a multi-pet portrait, in addition to following the above guidelines, also provide me with a variety of poses for each pet you wish to be added to the portrait.  Keep in mind that I need to be able to find a pleasing depiction of your pets, so if I have two or more poses that you like of each pet I am more likely to be able to put together a group painting that is natural and pleasing.

The overall rendering of your custom pet portrait relies on your photograph(s).  All your photos will be returned to you unharmed upon completion of the portrait.  Your photographs are scanned at high resolution and the portraits are painted digitally using a digital artist's pen and tablet.  

I can work from a digital photograph and accept your image on a CD, DVD and possibly email.  However, the digital image must be high resolution, uncropped and without any color or other digital corrections.  We should talk before agreeing to work from a digital camera image.

For those living locally, I can come photograph your pet for an additional fee.  This is not preferable, pets will often not show their true personality in this type of situation and you may be disappointed by the results...it is however an option if you do not have pictures or can not provide photographs of your own.