The quality of your photo determines the quality of the final product. Our representations of your pet are based on the photos you submit. The better the photo, the better the finished product.
Perhaps the single biggest “mistake” people make, when shooting snapshots of their pets is that we tend to shoot downward at our pets. This presents a really unatural looking angle, and sometimes causes an awkward foreshortening of the pet’s body proportions. If you can, kneel down; get yourself on your pet’s level, or as close to it as you can. It makes for a much more appealing perspective! And, lastly, if you can, shoot outdoors; flash exaggerates colors and shadows. Good, natural light is much to be desired.
For our products, what works best is a photo that is eye level with your pet. Please read the following for suggestions and tips on photographs.
The best possible lighting is achieved outside in natural light. Try to do this even if your pet is an indoor only pet – though of course safety comes first and this may not always be possible. Having your pet close to a large window, with plenty of natural light coming from behind or slightly to the side of you as you face your pet, is the next best option.
Avoid direct sunlight, as it can alter natural coloring and increase the contrast between shadow and light, hiding some features. A bright but overcast day is perfect.
Don’t use a flash, as this can cause red-eye and distort the true coloring & shading of your pet. An exception to this is if your pet has a black coat, in which case a flash or bright sunlight can actually bring out shading and texture which may be lost in photos taken under other lighting conditions.
Photograph your pet on their level. Don’t have them looking up at you unless this is how you wish the portrait to appear. For a wall hanging, this will look awkward.
Take plenty of facial photographs with a zoom lens if possible, and have their face fill the frame while still in sharp focus. Try taking some three-quarter views as well as from the front, as a slightly angled pose can sometimes make a beautiful portrait photograph.
If your pet will not sit still, have someone hold them in position. If these pictures are solely for the portrait, then hands and arms in the frame do not matter and are easily removed as long as they do not cover important markings.
Keep your pet as comfortable and at ease as possible. Cameras can be distracting for some animals, so if you cannot get your pet to behave normally, try having someone else present to divert their attention and keep them engaged.
Capture the most characteristic expression & pose of your pet. If they are generally happy, try to catch them doing their version of a smile.
A good idea is to have favorite treats or toys at the ready. Hold them up near the camera to catch (and hopefully hold) interest in the right direction. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be silly. Try making funny and unusual noises or movements to get their attention.
Please note that the quality of my portrait will be dependent on your photographs.
Below is a sample of what a good photograph looks like. I blew up the enlarged area to show the detail that is available to me to use in the carving or painting.