Reference Photo Guide

One of the most difficult parts of getting a portrait of your beloved pet is finding the perfect photo to use as a reference. While your photo doesn’t have to be perfect to create a wonderful portrait, it certainly helps! On this page I’ll give you some tips for selecting the perfect photo for me to draw from.

Close and Crisp

Close shots with lots of detail make the best shots for portraits. Those from far away or that are blurred are much harder to work from, and the end portrait will be less detailed.


Bright lighting that allows for all your pets beautiful colour and details to shine through is very important, especially for black pets. While I can adjust lighting of a reference to a certain extent, poor lighting can lose a lot of the detail in an animal’s fur.


Framing the animal in the photo is important to make an artistically pleasing portrait. This is one of the areas where I have the most control, as I almost always crop a reference photo to get the most pleasing portrait of your pet. However, if the original reference photo has ears or noses outside the frame, that makes things more challenging!


The eyes are the most important part of your pet’s portrait, so being able to see them is a must! A portrait of a sleeping animal can be wonderful, but for the most part you want to find a reference photo that showcases your pet’s beautiful peepers.

%d bloggers like this: