Reference photo and tips

If you don't have a suitable photo to use for your portrait and need to take one for the purpose, the following are tips from pet photographers:

1. Avoid using the flash to prevent 'red eye'' and harsh tones. Photos taken in good daylight conditions, rather than bright sunlight will give the best results. Sufficient natural light can be achieved by placing your pet next to a window.

2. A natural pose with the camera placed at eye level with the subject gives the most pleasing result. This can be achieved by getting down on the ground with you pet. A photo taken from a standing position, looking down on the subject can cause distorted perspective, making the head appear large and the legs short.

3. Take a still shot of your pet rather than an action one to achieve as much detail of the features and coat as possible.

Alternatively, depending on distance I can arrange to meet with you to take the reference photos on your behalf.

Email your photo and requirements

Once you have decided on your reference, you can email me a photo and additional ones if you want to include more than one subject, along with your requirements in terms of the way you would like your portrait to look. This may include the colour of the background or elements of the photo you want to emphasise or eliminate.

If you would like to talk through your requirements and live locally, I will be very pleased arrange to meet with you or, alternatively, you may wish to give me a call.

Please use the contact form to send your order instructions and refer to the price guide for details. On receipt of your order instructions I will email you a a series of 'mock-up's, confirmation and quote, along with an estimated completion date.

The creative process

The first stage is to prepare a preliminary sketch, which can be emailed to you for approval. The pastel portrait itself can take many hours  complete, depending on subject and once your preliminary sketch is agreed, I will provide you with an estimated time for completion of your portrait. To ensure complete satisfaction with the finished result, I can email you, if required to provide updates on the progress.

Pastels are the ideal medium for recreating the texture and colour of animals and for rendering the look and feel of the coat and features, particularly the eyes, in fine detail. I use soft pastels and pastel pencils for the fine details and a smooth textured pastel board or velour paper, which has a velvety soft finish.

I like to keep backgrounds simple, so as not to detract from the subject and use soft tonal colours blended together. However, some breeds of dogs, gun dogs in particular, look beautiful when set in a landscape and I am very happy to paint these type of portraits too.

The final portrait

Your final portrait will be supplied mounted, in high quality mounting board, in a colour of your choice.

Choosing a suitable frame depends on your personal choice, and style of décor where the portrait will be displayed and therefore you may wish to arrange this yourself. I can arrange to put you in touch with a professional framing service or, if you wish arrange framing for you to meet with your specifications.

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