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Six Things to Do with Your Pet’s Photos

by Anmol Ramgiri, pet blogger at

Do you have some spectacular photos of your pet companion?

In this article, I’ll tell you 6 Ways To Use Your Dog’s Photos, but feel free to do the same with any lovable critter. These ideas also make fantastic gifts for birthdays and holiday seasons.

Without any further ado, let’s hop in! (more…)

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How to Photograph a Black Dog

Black Dog

If you own a black dog, you undoubtedly have some of those photos. The ones that look like a big black blob on the couch with a tiny pink tongue sticking out or the bearskin rug on the floor. Photographing a large dark colored dog is difficult . If your dog has thick hair to the face area (e.g.  Newfoundlands), it seems to be nearly impossible. Fear not. Mindy Dutka, a professional pet photographer and owner of Dogs I Meet (, offers some tips on taking photos to capture the true beauty of black dogs.

Set The Tone
To start, set the tone. Mindy suggests spending some time with your dog, conditioning him or her to the camera or iPhone. You want picture taking time to signal fun and treats for your dog. You can play a game sitting next to your dog, snap a picture then give your dog praise and a treat. After a few times of sitting with your dog, ask him/her to stay and you move back and take a photo. Let your dog hold the stay and you move to where your dog is and give him/her a treat. (You do not want your dog to come to you for the treat – that will condition the dog to always walk up to you when they see you trying to take a photo.)

Lighting is Everything
Next, lighting is everything. But the type and intensity are important. “Dark fur absorbs all the light. Outside lighting is better,” Mindy said. “Early in the morning or an hour before sunset are the optimal times. Try to avoid photographing midday when the sun is its brightest and harshest. You want “open shade,” not bright, harsh light. It’s also better not to use a flash, as that can reflect off the fur. ”

Eyes Facing a Light Source
Now that you have good lighting, The most important tip is having your dog’s eyes facing a light source to catch the light in their eyes. Focusing on the eyes captures the spirit and essence of the dog.

Keep Your Dog Stationary
It’s also important to keep your dog stationary, while you move your position to the best spot. You may have to move a few times to catch the right angle to capture the light in your dog’s eyes.

Get Down on the Dog’s Level
If your dog is laying down, get close to the ground for the photo. Ideally, you want the camera to be at the same level as the dog. Another good angle is to have the dog look up at you, again focusing on the eyes.

Select Background Colors that are Yellow, Light Blue and Green
Try to select background colors that are in the yellow, light blue and green shades. You don’t want a busy background, as you want your dog to be the star of the photo. Using portrait mode on your Iphone can bring your photography skills into a different whole new level. This is because the portrait mode usually creates a bokeh or blurry background which makes your black dog stand out.

Most importantly, practice! Dog Photography is a lot of trial and error. Fortunately, it costs nothing to take as many photos using your phone as you want and deleting the less-than-perfect ones is just a click away.

About the Author

Mindy DutkaBoston based photographer, Mindy Dutka, has been crafting her pet photography skills for the past 5 years. Combined with her passion for animals, especially dogs, Mindy creates opportunities for businesses, rescue organizations, and families to use photographs to tell stories that inspire, fundraise, and give back to these beloved animals that don’t have a voice of their own. Mindy believes that every dog has a tale, and these tales should be shared and heard.

Mindy’s compassion for animals and ability to connect and capture their spirit shines through in her work. You’ll often find yourself feeling visceral emotions to her photographs, whether it’s a smile because of a dog’s adorable head tilt, or sadness looking at a dog through a shelter’s fence. Mindy’s photographs have been used to tell the stories of wonderful organizations such as the Veterinary Emergency Group and animal rescues around the world. Her photographs are also cherished by families who now have a tangible representation of their beloved connection to their pets. Mindy feels sincere joy and gratefulness that her work is her passion.

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The Creative Process of a Pet Photographer

As a photographer and lover of all things fuzzy, I’ve always loved combining the two through pet photography. One of the first things I trained my cat to do was model. It helps if your model is food-motivated, and lucky for me, my cat Toad is practically food-obsessed. (more…)

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Picture Purr-fect Pets

As a retired professional photographer, Barry Cohen has done his fair share of dog portraits, and he just loves creating digital paintings from pictures sent to him from all over the world! To help you snag that perfect shot, he shared some of his best tips for your next pet photoshoot!


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Painting Pooches with Panache

by Sarah Flannery, Artist and owner of C4C Pet Portraits

I may not be Picasso, but I try my best and so far I have been lucky enough for customers to enthuse about my artwork…but having great material as reference to work from can make all the difference when you are a pet portrait artist!

So, as a customer, how do you make sure you get the sort of portrait of your beloved pet that you are going to want to hang over your fireplace for all to admire?

OK…if I’m local, I love to meet the pet to get a feel for his/her personality and character. I have met cheeky Chihuahuas, lovingly loyal Labradors and even an agile and athletic Abyssinian with a penchant for head butting! But what happens if you don’t live locally I hear you ask? I have customers in the States, Canada, Luxembourg to name a few…and much as a holiday across the pond appeals I’m not sure home visits of this distance would be financially viable (I live in the UK!)  So the next best thing to meeting these wonderful animals is for owners to provide a good quality photo. The emphasis being on good quality!

You wouldn’t believe some of the photos I have been sent! I have had photos of pets that you would be hard pressed to make out if the animal is a cat or dog, lighting so bad all you can see is a silhouette and images that are so out of focus they look like they have been taken in a London’s pea souper of a fog. However with a little encouragement most people can take a decent photo and in this age of technology even mobile phones can take pretty good pictures and can provide enough information to work from.

Taking a Great Photo:

But how do you take a good photo? If you want to go pro, Petworks has hundreds of professional pet photographers available for hire! Although, it’s really not that hard, believe me! I can draw, I can paint but give me a camera and I’m certainly no expert…however all a pet portrait artist really needs is a photo that ..

  1. Is in focus,
  2. Is well lit or has an obvious light source giving strong areas of light and dark creating a striking image,
  3. Shows a clear image of the pets face and eyes (yes eyes really are the windows to the soul and go a long way to capturing the animals personality)

Example Photo #1:

Here is an example of a great photo with dramatic lighting making it an excellent reference to work from (painting shown on the right)

Photo Example #2:

Here is an example of a photo showing expressive facial features with clear definition (painting shown on the right in a contemporary style)

Choosing your style

Congratulations, so you have now successfully provided a good quality photo, but your work is not yet done (don’t worry this is the fun bit!)  You now have to decide what sort of pet portrait you would like …hmm?  Some artists offer traditional oils, others provide modern more abstract artwork. I personally like to mix it up a bit and offer various styles. Why? Because everyone is different, most customers usually want the artwork to sit nicely with their decor and I find different mediums and styles can actually suit the various personality traits of specific animals. A high energy, mad as a hatter Springer Spaniel who lives in a state of the art (excuse the pun) modern house may well suit a colorful and energetic contemporary portrait whereas a posed and gentle elderly Great Dane may be better represented by a traditional oil set in a gilt frame, pride of place over the Georgian mantle. A bit cliché I know but you get the idea!

So if you are considering having a pet portrait painted of your furry (or scaly!) companion have a good think about what sort of painting you would like. To get the best result from your chosen artist, try and get a nice clear photo and consider what sort of artwork really suits you, your pet and of course will it be interior decor friendly! Petworks has hundreds of the best pet portrait artists throughout the United States. Book one today!

About the Author Sarah Flannery

From a young age I always knew I was going to be passionate about two subjects…animals and art! After completing my secondary school education, I went on to study art and design. Here, my love of painting and drawing began to flourish.