Carla's Artwork

Pet Portraits & Illustrations

Photo Requirements

A few tips and tricks to take a good reference picture of your pet!

It’s very important to have a high quality and interesting reference photo of your pet.

Your pet’s portrait will be hanging on your wall for a long time and you don’t want to regret that you didn’t have a more interesting reference photo.

You don’t need a fancy digital camera to take a good reference photo.

Most smartphones take pretty good pictures nowadays.

Just make sure you tap your screen to focus on your pet’s eyes or nose when you take the photo.

Perfect Reference Photo


Always take the photo outside or close to a window in daylight.

With few exceptions preferably not in direct sunlight.

Photos taken in artificial light are not suitable as the color of the pets fur is often altered by the unnatural lighting.

I almost never accept a reference photo taken in artificial light.

Make sure the light is behind you.

Although a photo taken with a nice sunset behind your pet can make a beautiful picture, it’ll not be suitable for reference because the backlight will alter the details and colors.

Artificial Light


Make sure your pet is not moving.

An action shot often appears blurry.



Make sure your pet is not too far away.

When zooming in no details are visible in his face.

Too Far Away


Extremely important!

Lower your phone to your pet’s eye level.

A photo taken from above will show his ears backwards (not a happy look), his nose too close and out of proportion.

Also, his chest disappears.

From Above


Make sure your pet is in the mood. 

When he’s disturbed during a comfy nap he’ll not be in the mood and it will show in the photo.

Take your time and wait for the perfect moment.

Some pets just don’t like to pose for photos.

Holding a treat or favorite toy just above your phone can help to get attention or change your pet’s facial expression.

Have fun and patience during a photo session and don’t let it take too long.

Your pet will sense you’re getting frustrated and it’ll become harder to take a nice picture. Just try again another time.

Take plenty of pictures while your pet is in your life.

I often receive enquiries about deceased pets and limited photos available.

Don’t hesitate to send multiple pictures of your pet.

I can help you choose the perfect photo for reference.

Try to capture your pet’s characteristics.