When I do a portrait of a pup, I work strictly from photographs.
I prefer to meet with the owner and their pet to get to know them and gain insight into their relationship. For me, these things are very important in preparing for the project. Of course, different artists work using different methods. But, after drawing and painting puppies for over 20 years, I have found this list to be quite helpful for anyone interested in pet portraiture.
clients about the process. Some things may seem obvious to the artist but are foreign to the customer. Explain media and composition options, canvas and framing sizes and pricing.
are your best friend. They are a surefire way to keep dogs focused. In fact, there is a product out now called Flexy Paw, a treat holder that attaches to a smartphone with a clip for treats to ensure your canine subject will always be looking at the camera.
Be sure to ask the owner if their pooch has a favorite toy to be included in the portrait. It’s a nice touch that adds personality to the piece and the composition.
an animal. This should go without saying but, in the midst of trying to get that perfect shot, you may forget to reward Rover. Even if you’re not getting the pose you desire, always give the treat you promised. Not only will this keep the pup happy, he’ll come back for more.
TAKE TONS OF PICTURES.
Feel free to click away. Even if a face is blurry, you may get a better angle of a leg or tail or the general posture of the dog.
TAKE IT HOME.
When planning the photo shoot with a client, always attempt to have it take place in their home. Unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds are distracting to most pups and will make your task harder to complete.
A photo can sometimes appear darker when printed—especially with black dogs. Lighten the photos using editing software to exaggerate differences in shade to define body structure.
to them in a calm and loving voice. The last thing you need is an over-excited animal that doesn’t want to sit still.
over the dog when taking your photos to prevent an awkward composition. Get on the same level or slightly above the pooch to avoid dwarfing your subject.
Ask the pet parent for help in getting that money shot you both desire. They know their fur baby better than anyone, and including them in the process adds to their experience.
There is a limited window of time before even the most patient of pooches has had enough of posing. Use it wisely.
Before creating the perfect pet portraiture, make sure you have a plan incorporating these tips. Don’t forget that the puppy parents’ time—and yours—is valuable! Be accessible and accommodating to your human and canine clients, but don’t move in. You should be able to get all the pictures you need in about 30 minutes.
Article by Liz Shumake, Puppy Portraits
You may contact Liz at (843) 415-5158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about a personalized pet portrait.