Choosing the best reference photo may be the most important part of the commission. Below I have ranked different reference photos from most suitable, less suitable and not suitable.

As a portrait artist, my aim is to present you with a true to life, realistic portrait. Achieving an accurate likeness & creating a drawing with detail and depth is of upmost importance to me. However, I can only draw as well as the reference photo allows me to. I understand that not everyone can get the very best reference photo due to the commission being a surprise for someone, or sadly the pet has passed away. Below is just a guide to help you choose the most suitable from the photos you have.

The more clear your photo, the best representation I’ll be able to put to paper. As long as I can clearly see the direction and the length of fur fur, a slightly blurry or out of focus picture isn’t the end of the world as I can draw detail in for you, but it helps. The pose & positioning is possibly the most important factor when it comes to creating a great portrait. Please also aim to have your subject totally in frame so that any parts of his/her features aren’t out of view. All photo’s below are of my German Shepherd Caesar!

Most Suitable

• In focus • Good lighting (natural outdoor light is best) • Colours are clearly visible • Photo taken at the same level as the pet’s view • Both sides of the face are visible

Less Suitable

• In focus but body is missing, may have to draw in the background as seen in the photo to make sense of the placement • Photo taken from far away, less quality as a result & may request more photos for confirmation on colours • Photo taken above the pet’s line of view, creating a slight birds-eye perspective which may result in a disorientated portrait • one side of the face is visible

Not Suitable

• Out of focus & lacking detail • Poor lighting (indoor lighting can cause issues) • Colours are not clearly visible • Photo taken at different level to the pet’s view • Part’s of the face is out of frame or out of view