As I work from photographs, the success of your portrait depends 1000% on the quality of the reference picture(s) you send me. Why? Because, I can only paint what I can see, and I want every ounce of your pup’s gorgeousness, individuality and spirit shining through!


  • With a high-quality camera vs. mobile device.

  • At eye level with your pet 

  • In natural (not too sunny, not too shadowy) light vs. indoors with a flash.

  • With your pup in his/her natural habitat/environment, so that h/s feels at ease and h/h character shines through.

  • (If you want the portrait of your pet’s entire body) Up close, with h/h entire body (including tail) visible, and with as little background as possible.

  • Click here to see examples of truly excellent portrait reference photos.


Sadly, cell phones and other mobile devices do not produce photos that are ideal for pet-portraits, unless they are taken outdoors in good - not too bright, not too shadowy - light.

A photo taken from a high-quality digital camera in natural (not too sunny/not too shadowy) light is ideal because it will capture subtle nuances (more on that below). 

If you don’t own a high-quality camera yourself, ask a friend or family member to help. 

That said, feel free to send me any and all photos you’re thinking about, including those taken on a mobile device, old photos of a pooch that’s passed, or photos of someone else’s pet you’ve screen-grabbed from their social media feed, and I will tell you whether or not it’s suitable for a portrait.


As you want your pooch’s true spirit and character to come through, photos taken of him/her in h/h favorite environment are always, always best. Use treats if you need to, or take the photo with your pup playing with his/her favorite toy.

Staged-looking photos of your pet outside of his/her preferred surroundings will look / feel contrived.


Crouch down to your pet’s level when taking his/her photograph. Lie on the grass, sit on the pavement (lay a sheet of newspaper down if you don’t want to get germs). Why? Your portrait will be hanging on your or another wall, so a photo like the following, while cute, is disorienting.


Alternatively, if your dog is small, place him/her on a table or chair, if that’s easier for you. 

Take the photo when your pet is looking slightly away from the camera. Pics taken of your pooch head on will make h/h face appear flat, and we want definition. Also, be sure to capture both of your pet’s eyes.

I know this is a lot of information so, again, feel free to send me what you have, and I’ll be honest.


If you would like the painting to show your pet’s entire body take close up shots of your pet, with all h/h limbs and tail visible, and with as little background as possible. 

Photos taken of pets far from the camera, like the following, won’t allow me to see details, which a good portrait is all about!


If you would like a photo of just your pup’s head and/or head and chest, please do not send me a full-body photo. I will not be able to zoom in on it without compromising the sharpness of the photo. Rather, please send me something like the following:



Again, photos taken with natural lighting rather than indoors with a flash are always, always best. However, make sure the sunlight is not too bright, or your pet’s coat will appear lighter than usual. Also, avoid light that casts intense shadows, which will make your dog’s coat appear darker than usual (see the following photo for example).  


If you aren’t able to photograph your pet outdoors, then position h/her close to a window and snap the pic without a flash.


Please email me snapshots in their original size and downloaded directly from your camera. Photos reduced in size are less clear.

If you’re are sending me a large image, please do so via email or via dropbox.

I know this is a lot of information to take in, so feel free to contact me to discuss.