Photography Tips for A Horse Dog or Cat Portrait

If you do not already have a favourite photograph for me to create a pastel portrait of your pet, here are some tips for you to get some good shots of your horse dog or cat for me to paint from. 

Phone cameras/cameras

Phone cameras are so good these days you should be able to get some great shots yourself. When I first started painting pet portraits we didn't have phone cameras. So locally I would go out with my camera and take pictures of client's horses, dogs and cats and get the films developed, it was a long winded process! It was made a bit easier with the advent of digital cameras, I still have mine – a Canon EOS with long zoom lens which was great because I could stand well back and zoom in on the subject and get a great blurred background. 

These days most clients have a phone with a fabulous camera - probably better than that digital camera of mine! I don't really use it anymore, and take most of my photos with my iPhone, in fact these days most clients take their own photos to sent me. Videos are another way of getting good stills, so when you take your photos, do take a few videos as well, especially if you want a painting of you horse trotting, cantering or being ridden, there will more than likely be some very good stills in there. 


Bright sun will give a more dramatic effect, longer shadows late in the day, and overhead at midday. Ideally you want the sun behind you as it also stops the sun from being direct on your lens. I personally love dramatic shadows because the subject becomes more 3D and literally pops out from the painting in a blaze of contrast and colour, but the choice is yours. 

If you prefer a more subtle portrait then wait for a cloudy but bright day. Don't try and take pictures in the rain because your subject will be bedraggled and the light will be dull. 

If you photograph indoors, the phone cameras are usually quite good at sorting out the light for you, but don't use flash because it will wash your subject out (no depth of dark and light) and he/she will have red-eye. 


To photograph horses you may need a helper (or