Pet Portraits & Wildlife Art by Award Winning Artist Colette Theriault/ pastel, graphite, watercolor and colored pencil/prints & originals/commissions accepted. Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Photography Tips

It can be frustrating for an owner who wishes to commemorate a pet with a portrait but has no good pictures of them. Do not despair!  In many cases, an animal artist can work with several “not-so-good” photographs to render a pleasing and realistic looking representation of a pet who’s no longer with us.


*For a small fee, the artist will travel within the Sudbury area to take suitable photos of your pet if this is still possible.

When taking or submitting photographs, please consider that the better the photos, the easier it will be to draw or paint your pet. Generally, this leads to quicker results and better representation of your portrait.  If the photos are blurry or the pet is too small to see clearly, I will have less to work with and will need to use guesswork to complete the portrait.   Below are some important points to remember when taking photographs of your pet.

Two people present:

Taking good quality photographs of pets by yourself can be difficult. Getting a person to help you will not only make your task much easier, but will also cut back on possible stress for you and your companion and time spent taking your pictures.

Subject location:

Generally, natural daylight is preferred to flash photography. The right colors and shadows show up better with natural light and they eyes don’t get the reflection that causes “red eyes” or “ghost” eyes. If at all possible, take photos outdoors on a bright but overcast day (not direct sunlight unless photographing a black animal). If the situation demands indoor photography due to safety or weather conditions, take photographs near a brightly lit window with the light coming from one side or behind the subject.

Consider the background:

Try to ensure it is of contrasting color to your pet and that it is not too busy. Bad examples would be photographing a white dog with snow as the background or a black cat on a navy couch.

Angles and levels:

When taking photos, don’t look down at your pet. Always get down to your pet’s eye level and photograph at a distance of about 3 to 6 feet. Try not to take shots where your pet is looking straight into the camera. Looking slightly to the left or right, your pet will look better on his portrait. Take close up facial photographs with the face in sharp focus and filling the frame. You can try posing your pet in different angles, poses and views. If your pet won’t sit still, have someone hold him/her in position. It doesn’t matter if the arms and hands are in the photograph as they can easily be removed for the portrait as long as they don’t hide important features such as markings.

Your pet’s character:

In taking photos, try to keep in mind the personality of your pet and how you would like him/her to be portrayed. Is he a lazy couch potato or excitable and full of energy? Try to capture the most characteristic expression and pose of your pet. You may need to get someone to distract your pet so that he becomes relaxed and ignores the camera while behaving his normal self. A favorite toy or treats will work wonders in getting his attention.

Most importantly, have fun all the while keeping the photo session a positive experience for your pet. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me!