Having a great photo to draw from is critical. I will usually draw from just one photo but having sight of other photos of the animal can help with achieving a likeness. Great photos can be a little tricky to perfect but here are some guidelines to getting them right:


High levels of light are needed, so outdoors may be best, however if there is strong sunshine try to avoid deep shadows around the face and neck, early or late in the day means less shadow. The sparkling highlights from sunshine can work well in many instances but a slightly cloudy day can sometimes work better. Try different weather conditions and see what results you can achieve.

Try to make sure you get highlights in the eyes, they can look sad or even rather deadened with no bright reflections.

Get in close; crop your photos in as closely as you can and think about how to frame and pose your shot to show your animal off, and to be able to show the animal as you really see him or her.

Get on the animal’s level: this is the way you get the full character and, most importantly, a good view of the eyes.


Make sure the image is super-sharp, ensure it is focused correctly with the eyes being the most important. Do check the settings on your camera or phone and go for the highest quality/resolution shot you can. Older phones and cameras with less than 3mp are unlikely to show the level of detail I like to work with.

Consider using a little optical zoom: this ensures that the nose and ears aren’t out of proportion to each other as most lenses are very slightly wide angle on their normal settings. If you don’t the nose can look too big compared to the ears or body.

Take LOTS of photos as obviously digital photography means they don’t cost you anything.

For more detailed information on taking photos of your pets, please click the link below.
9 Pet Portrait Tips