Photo Requirements

Photo Requirements for a Portrait

If you are considering a pet portrait and are taking a photo of your pet specifically for a portrait, you may find the information below helpful.


While phones and tablets are the most convenient way to capture a picture of your pet, it may not be the best quality photo to work with. The quality will vary depending on your phone, lighting, and proximity to your pet, however, a digital camera image is preferable.

If you have access to a digital camera, take a wide variety of photos with natural lighting to get the best reference material. The clarity of the photo and amount of detail present will have a big impact on the final painting.


Most pictures we have of our pets are looking down at them, although this is how we naturally view them, it makes most sense to get a photograph on their level since the painting will be hanging at eye level.

Either crouch or lie down when taking photos, or place your pet on a safe elevated surface to achieve the same result. Keep in mind how the pose will look when hanging on the wall.

The two photos below are of a handsome Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named, Chase. You can see how the photo on the right of Chase looking straight ahead would make a much lovelier portrait than the photo looking down at him.

PicMonkey Collage

Use Natural Lighting 

Take your pets outside and use natural lighting if you can. A slightly overcast day is perfect for a photoshoot. If you are unable to take a picture outside, try to take one indoors next to a window or patio door with the blinds pulled back. If you have to take an indoor picture, do so without the flash.

You can see in the examples below of my pit bull, Roxy, how natural lighting makes a difference in the perceived color of her fur. The picture on the left was snapped with an iPhone and has poor lighting, bad positioning, and is a low quality photo. Also in the photo on the left is my Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, Sandor Clegane, and if you look closely you can barely see my chihuahua mix, Josey Wells, hiding under the bed.

PicMonkey Collage2

Fill the view finder with your pets head and chest 

To achieve this affect, step forward and crouch down to the pets level and try to fill the view finder with the pets head and chest. A picture from a few steps back will only become blurry once it is zoomed in our cropped.

File Size 

When emailing a photo, send the original file size. Often, email accounts ask if you would like to reduce the file size in order to send information faster. If possible, do not reduce the size when sending otherwise a lot of detail will be lost. The photo on the left was sent at a much smaller file size.

PicMonkey Collage3

Collars and Accessories 

When taking photos for a pet portrait, remove any accessory you do not want present in the portrait. If it is not safe for you to remove your pets collar or lead when photographing, I will do my best to work around those if you do not want them included in the portrait.

Pets that have passed

If your pet has sadly passed and you have limited photographs, I will gladly look at any photos you do have. Even if you feel the photo is not portrait quality, I will offer you a number of options to remember your pet. I will always give you my professional advice and options to help you choose what is best for you. Please feel free to share your photos and ask my opinion at any time!


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