Stage One in a Bichon Frise Portrait


I’ve started working on Chuckie’s portrait by laying in a loose, washy underpainting in acrylic thinned down with lots of water. My goal is to establish the basic colors, and to create a feeling of where the lights and darks are going to fall. I start out using larger brushes because otherwise, everything gets a bit too tight too fast for me. Here are a few more tips on taking a good photo for a pet portrait.

You can see more tips in my last post.

Tip 4. Try to shoot your pet at eye level instead of above or below them. That means getting down on the floor
(or up on the bed) with them–and if you can’t do that, try to pick up your pet and put them on the same level
as you. Don’t try this with a big dog though!

Tip 5. Try to get as close as you can to your pet, but avoid cropping things like their ears. An artist needs to have some elbow room to adjust the cropping themselves for the painting.

Tip 6. Take good clear photos. Detail is critical for an artist with a style like mine. Some camera’s offer image stabilization which helps keep photos clear. But if yours doesn’t, then try to shoot in plenty of natural light. Camera exposure’s slow down in low light which means it’s very easy to get blurry photos.

Tip 7. Send me the original photo file not one downloaded from social media, a friend’s cell phone or that’s been emailed. Many times these processes change the photo to a much smaller lower resolution file. That means it loses most of the fine detail.