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Reference Photo Guide

The quality of your reference photo is vital to helping me capture your pet on paper. 

​Don't forget to have fun with the photos. Some of my favorite drawings have a unique point of interest, like a tongue sticking out of a dog's mouth, a signature collar, or an ear that is flipped over inside out.

These two photos are ideal head shots, why?

perfect image.JPG
  • Natural sunlight: The lighting in both of these photos is excellent. Usually natural lighting is best. 

  • Both images have clear, visible details of the face.  I was able to zoom in and see each strand of fur. Both photos provided detail in the eye including visible pupils and light reflection which really helps the drawing come alive off the page. 

  • The photographs provide a complete image of the face and the torso.

  • The photos were taken at eye level and the photographer was in close proximity to the dog.

Avoid blurry or distant images

carrie kitty.JPG
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Often, the photos people send me are candid shots just taken for fun.  While these photos have a lot of sentimental value, a good portrait must have spot-on details. 


Avoid poor lighting or shadows

Lighting problems often hide very important details. For example, the cat on the left has a lot of shadows over his face and I can't see his eyes.  It appears the photo was taken with the light behind him, but it is always better to have your pet looking toward a light source. The pup on the right has very auburn hair, but to me it looked black.  Additionally, that dog appears to have very curly hair on top of his head, but it is usually more tame and flat.

Avoid photos taken at an awkward angle

avery kitty _edited_edited.jpg

The first photo is of an elegant cat, but the angle in this photo is unflattering and makes the cat appear distorted. While the photo on the right is a typical angle for us to photograph our pup, it does not translate well into a drawing because the feet appear to be extending from the head.

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