Photograph Guide

Step 2: Choose your reference photos

There are 4 important things to consider when taking or picking your photo(s):

1. Lighting

Natural outdoor lighting is best for showing detail and colors in the subject’s fur, hair, skin, etc.



Portrait of a dog in soft, natural lighting
Photo with poor lighting that makes details difficult to see.

2. Camera distance

Photos should be taken from a distance that is far enough away to fit the whole subject in the frame, but close enough to see important details.



Close-up of a cat that shows good detail and shape.
Full-body portrait taken from too far away. Detail is lost.

3. Perspective

Perspective says a lot about the subject’s personality and the tone of the portrait.



Flattering photo of dog taken at the subject's eye level.
Poor perspective demonstrated by a photo taken too far away and from too far above the subject.

4. Photo Quality & Detail Level

Photo quality is important. I may not be able to accurately recreate the subject with a poor-quality photo. Detail can get lost with blurriness, pixelation, or darkness.

Your photo may be of poor quality if you cannot make out the following details:

  • Fur direction and color transitions
  • Hair textures, tones, and colors
  • Skin features such as freckles
  • Wrinkles & smile lines



A clear portrait free of pixelation with a contrasting background.
Blurry family photograph demonstrating a poor quality photo choice.

Using an existing photograph

When taking a picture of a physical photograph:

    1. Take the photograph out of its picture frame.
    2. Lay the photograph down on a flat surface.
    3. Stay aligned with the straight edges to avoid a tilted picture.
    4. Avoid letting your own shadow fall onto the photograph.
    5. Avoid light reflections on the photograph.
    6. Stay still to avoid blurriness. Consider using a tripod if available.

If you need help finding or taking the right pictures, I’m happy to help!

Please email your photos to and we can discuss your options.