Some photos look great on your phone, but look terrible on the wall. Why?
In this post, we’ll look at what makes a great reference photo, and why. In my experience, there are really three things:
1. Lighting: Your pet is lit by natural daylight
2. Image Quality/Size: The photo has enough detail
3. (Optional) Height: For a “traditional” look, shoot from your pet’s eye-level
If you just need a checklist for taking great reference photos, it’s as simple as that: take the picture outside, make sure your pet fills the camera/phone screen, and send uncompressed images where possible.
It’s an unfortunate fact of nature that we are taller than our dogs.
OK, maybe for everyday life huge dogs wouldn’t be the easiest pets, but for portraiture purposes the fact that we look down at our pets— but look straight across at our walls— causes all sorts of problems.
So follow the below image if you’d like a traditional look to your portrait.
#3: IMAGE QUALITY
But look what happens when I zoom in on the dog…
Oh, hello there.
If perfect reference material just isn’t available, that’s OK too.
I can also work with several different photos to make sure the portrait turns out right. It may take longer, but it’s worth it to get a perfect painting of your pet.
For more examples of my work, visit my portfolio of Pet Portraits from Photos.
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