How to take a good photo of your pet - Carla Gebhard Designs

Taking a photo of your pet can be easier said than done, I know this all too well… Stanley (my Boxer dog) is very camera shy and Nikita (my horse) is just far too curious about what I’m doing. But if you want a nice pet portrait painting it really is worth spending a little bit of time taking a good quality photo for me to work from. By the way, you should know I’m useless at taking photographs, this is not about how to improve your photography (sorry)! I’m just writing this to try and give you a better idea of what sort of photographs I need to be able to paint a good watercolour painting of your pet. And don't worry, you don't need a fancy camera or even any skill. I just used my phone camera to take these photographs of Stanley and they're perfect example of what I need to work from, nothing fancy just nice and clear!

Stanley 2.jpg

So, firstly you need to be in good light, natural light is best, but as long as you’re not in a dark and dingy room it will be okay, try to avoid using the flash though.

Stanley 1.jpg

You also need to get down on their level. If you don’t, their heads end up looking really big compared to the rest of their body. This can look really cute for normal photos, but when it comes to painting them, they just look out of proportion (the photo below is an example of what not to do). 

Stanley 3.jpg

This is an obvious one, but make sure you’re close enough to capture all their cuteness. If the photo is taken too far away I’ll struggle to see all the finer details. So, make sure you move closer to them and don’t just zoom in, as that can make the photo pixelated and very difficult for me to paint. If something isn’t visible on the photo, but you’d like to include it in your pet portrait just let me know before hand or send a few photos (including a close up) then I can take the best bits of each photo and ‘merge’ them together.  This also goes for the background, don’t worry about taking the photo in the perfect setting. I quite often leave the background blank making your pet the main focus or if you prefer I can paint a false background in, maybe their favourite place or even a flowery boarder if that’s your thing, obviously the option is yours.

stanley 8.jpg

So, basically you just need to remember to think about the light, to get down on their level and to make sure all the details are nice and clear. The better the photos I have to work from, the more accurate your watercolour pet portrait will be.

I really hope this has been helpful, but if you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Carla x