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Several good photographs of your dog are needed to produce your portrait. With planning almost anyone can achieve very positive results. The following are helpful hints that I have found aid in giving the best results. These are not intended as requirements. I will review all submitted photographs. Should in my judgment, I feel additional photos are necessary you will be notified.

  • Photograph your pet outside in natural light.
  • Avoid direct sunlight; try for a bright overcast or hazy day.
  • Use flashes only for whole body shots.
  • If using film, use only a high quality color film with a maximum film speed of "ASA 200", preferably ASA 100 speed film.
  • For film images, use a 35mm camera with at least a 75mm lens (or higher).
  • If using a digital camera, a 4 mega-pixel camera or higher will produce the best results, preferably one with an optical zoom.
  • First and most important, get in close to your subject. Preferably, as close as can be gotten and still have the image in focus. Sometimes this is difficult without a variable telephoto or zoom lens. If you have a camera that has this capability, or if a friend has one, try to use it for the photo-shoot.
  • Don't be concerned about background when taking photographs for my portraits.
  • Position your dog so that when you take your photographs the light source will be located behind you.
  • Take the photos from their level – get down on the ground. Do not photograph your pet looking up at you.
  • Take several close-ups photos of your pet’s face from their level. This is best achieved with a zoom lens.
  • You best know your pet, and you will know whether or not the photographs you have taken best express its personality. It might take more than one photo-shoot to capture the pet’s expression in a manner you would find pleasing in a portrait. Done get discouraged.
  • You must try to capture your pet’s attention in making photographs for a portrait. If your pet loves to ride in the car - when you are ready to take the picture, try saying something like, "Ya wanna......" but stop short of saying "go for a ride" - usually the pets full focus will be on you and what he hopes you might be getting ready to say. Try to get that quizzical look!!
Once you have several good photographs, choose which ones you feel best represent your dog's personality; which pose you would be most happy with in a painted portrait and categorize them in order of preference. This is important, as you know your dog best. If this decision is left to me, then I might pose your dog or its expressions in a manner you might find foreign or less pleasing.

If you are forwarding prints, I prefer to work from 4" x 6" color photographs. I have good success with this size image so long as your dog's head is closely centered in the photograph. Also, the image should be a fairly good close-up to show maximum features of its coat, markings & texture. Larger prints can offer some advantage, but the added expense is not necessary. Smaller prints I am afraid necessitate the use of guesswork to fill-in details.


Mike Robichaux Telephone: 225-755-4740
Email: [email protected]
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Copyright © 2004 Mike Robichaux
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