Photography Tips

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My aim when producing your portrait is to create a drawing that you can treasure for many years to come. To do this, one of the most importrant things in commissioning your portrait is to ensure I can work from a good photograph. I cannot emphasise enough that 'the better the photo, the better the finished portrait'. I sadly have to turn away many photogrpahs because of issues with quality, but don't worry - I am here to help you get the best photograph possible and give you as much advice as you need.

Quality

The very first thing I look for in a photograph is the quality. As a highly detailed pencil artist I am attracted to detail like a bee to pollen, so the more detail in a photo the better your portrait will be. This is especially important for your pet's key features such as their eyes and nose. It is highly important that the photo is sharp and in focus. Sadly, I am unable to work from blurry photos.

Lighting

Take your pet's photo in natural light, preferably outdoors. The best time is on a bright overcast day but not in direct sunlight as this can cast some unflattering images.

Turn Flash 'off'

Please AVOID using flash if possible. Flash causes a number of problems and looks very unflattering. It often masks out a lot of detail, causes unnatural shadows and colours, and can often result in the dreaded red-eye or eye glowing effect.

Levels

Take the photo at eye level with your pet. Photos looking down on your pet look unflattering and unnatural to the eye. The best angles are with your pet looking straight at you or with their head slightly tilted to one side looking past the camera.

Camera

If possible, try to take your photo using a proper camera rather than from a phone. Photos taken using a camera often results in sharper, detailed and better lit photos. Phone cameras in comparison tend to be less detailed and a little darker although I am more than happy to use photos from a phone if they are clear.

Examples of Good Photographs

Good pose and composition, highly detailed, good lighting and true natural colours

Examples of Common Problems

Poor lighting, out of focus & lack of details, red/glowing eyes, pet looking up/down or eyes closed

Pets That Have Passed Away

If you are looking at commissioning a portrait of a pet that has sadly passed away I understand you may have limited photos available, but please don't worry - send me as many photos as you can and we can work through them together. I will need to see photos of pets that have passed before I accept your commission, so I can check I can work from your photos.

 

Multiple Pets

A common misconception for multiple pet portraits is that you have to have your pets in the same photo. This is NOT TRUE - in fact it is always best if you can send sepearete photos of each pet and I will lay them out nicely in your portrait together.

 

Here For Advice

Don't worry I am always happy to help and give you the very best advice that I can. I will always review and discuss your photos with you when ordering a commission. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need any more help, or if you wish to ask any questions. Feel free to send me as many photos as you like, with no obligation at all - my advice is always free.

© 2019 Claire Milligan Artist

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