Pawtraits' in Pastel
T: (07) 4129 6378

How to Take the Perfect Shot for Pet Portraits

Where possible, I like to take photos of potential subjects. There are specific details that I look for in photos that help to make the best possible study, e.g.

  • Shots to be taken at eye-level with the pet (not from above the subject. This task often requires a good roll around in the dirt being licked and wrestled).
  • The frame needs to be filled with head and chest (i.e. eliminate as much background as possible).
  • A good balance of light and shade on the subject (i.e. a shaded side of the face and a defined source of light on the other).
  • Definitely NO FLASH (this kills off subtle definitions such as dimples, whiskers and wrinkles, and also creates 'blue-eye' the equivalent of 'red-eye' in us human pets.
  • Do not have the pet in direct sunlight (this has a similar effect to using a flash) unless the day is overcast (cloud cover is ideal).
  • Very early morning and late afternoon is another way to avoid harsh light. So, during the middle of a sunny day, on a verandah or pergola with a roof or under a shady tree is good.
  • Slightly 'to-the-side' profile often works well with most pets and many pets strike a beaut pose while at attention (i.e. on a promise of a treat). Be careful not to exclude one eye during this process.

I am able to remove any council tags which are not terribly becoming for portraits, at your request (why advertise your council for free?). It is not necessary to remove them before photographing your model.

Consider whether you prefer 'tongue in' or 'tongue out' and have a towel ready to wipe your exuberant mate's jowls – particularly if you're offering treats to get that good shot (we don't want drooling portraits).

Take a look at some original photos in my gallery at previously commissioned subjects and you will see the effect that I'm after. So, if it is not possible for me to take actual shots of your pet, please bear in mind these requirements when photographing your friend and if you're lucky enough to have a digital camera, just e-mail your shots through to me for assessment and I will let you know if they are suitable to work from.

Otherwise, pop them in the mail to me for a hardcopy assessment. All photos will be returned, regardless if the work is commissioned or not.

Unless using your own photos, I retain the copyright to all photos that I take. I also retain the copyright to the portrait. What does that mean? Well, I am happy for you to use photos of my work for your personal use (i.e. decorating your website, etc.), however, if you use those same photos for commercial purposes (i.e. used to sell doggy products) I would need to enter into a business arrangement with you. Breaches of copyright are subject to litigation under copyright law.

"If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
"A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than his owner can express with his tongue in hours."
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."