Pet Portrait Photography

To be able to visit and take photos myself is the most favoured process. I am more than happy to visit your home and photograph your pet, as I have a professional digital camera and I know what I am looking for. I am then able to take as many photos as is needed, so I can be assured that I have captured the detail. Especially important are the eyes.

If you are sending your own photos through, then that is great too, as it is vital to have a variety of detailed photographs to work from. The quality of the portrait and its detail will be dependent on your photos. All photos are returned in the condition that they arrived in. Please send your photos by signed for post if they are the only copies.

Pet Portrait photograph showing an example lack of depth of field
In this picture too much zoom was used and
this has reduced the depth of field so that
the nose is out of focus.

Filling the frame

It is best to take the photographs as close up as possible and to fill the viewfinder. Also, if you have a favourite pose that you can capture, then that's even better at helping to create a portrait that is truly typical of your pet. If you have a zoom on your camera then you should have it about midway in the range (for most cameras). This is because if you use too wide-angle (short focal length) it can flatten your pet's features. If you zoom-in too much (long focal length) then it can mean that not enough of the pet's features are in focus.

Pet Portrait photograph showing the effect of good natural light on the subject

This photograph of a westhighland terrier showing
the effect of good natural light on the subject


Lighting, this is always best with natural light and not flash use. This can be achieved by being outside or by a window. Also remember to face away from the sun to avoid making your pet squint. If the sun is out, find a shaded spot and make sure you have the light source behind you. The best day is a bright overcast day (not too heavy cloud so the light is still getting through).

If you have to take your photo indoors, then choose a light room near the window. Try to avoid using the flash, as this will cause red eye in your photo and could bleach out the natural colours of your pet.

Pet Portrait photograph showing an example of a bad picture to work from
This photograph show how not to take a picture.
The subject is being looked down on and is
bleached out by the flash.

Camera Positioning

Most important - the best position to take the photo is to be at the same level as the pet. Photos pointing down don't look right. If necessary lie down to make sure you are at eye level. To get my pet to pose beautifully, I have to tease him and say 'rabbits' which immediately makes him look alert with ears pricked. We want an alert looking animal if possible, although, whatever pose you want, is the one created for you.

Have fun

It's useful to get a few photos over a period of a couple of days, then you don't have to stress about them. It's important for you and your pet to have fun too. Reward them for good behaviour and try and make it a game. Don't expect them to sit still all the time!
Please see below an example of a good photo.


Developing and sending photos

If you are using traditional film to take the photos then ensure that you take them to a good developers. The more specialist the camera shop the better the results tend to be. Many a good photo can be spoilt by poor development.
For those of you taking digital pictures then please send me the master files, individually if your computer has a file size limit. This is because I will need to print them out at a high resolution in order to work from them. Please remember that if you need any advise at all on taking photos or even saving them onto your PC ready to email, then please do not hesitate to contact me. I have all the knowledge that can help you.

Pet Portrait photograph showing an example of a bad picture to work from Pet Portrait photograph showing an example of a bad picture to work from

Digital Enhancement

For some pictures that you may think are a little to dark or the colour isn't quite right on, I can alter them on the computer. This allows you to send some pictures that may otherwise not be good enough to work from. Please always send the original images or digital files and allow me to alter copies of them to work from.