IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW GOOD YOUR PHOTO REFERENCE IS!
#1 ~ IS IT CLEAR?
Flash photos make terrible references. Please do not submit a flash photo if you can avoid it.
Is the image blurry or out of focus?
If you are submitting an image for a head portrait, are the eyes clear and visibly showing lights and details?
#2 ~ IS IT TOO DARK OR TOO LIGHT?
Is any part of the subject in cast shadow causing dark blackened areas?
Is any part of the subject washed out by bright lighted white areas?
#3 ~ DOES IT VISUALLY "MAKE SENSE" ?
Was the subject photographed from an unnatural angle?
If you are combining multiple subjects from different photos into one artistic piece, does the light source match on all of the photos?
We are tall and dogs are short. Be sure to get down to their level to get a great reference photograph.
If you want more than one subject in a peice, photo each animal seperatly but in the SAME SPOT. This will ensure the light is the same way on each one. Visually, this makes artwork much more appealing.
#4 ~ CAN YOU SEE THE WHOLE SUBJECT?
Is the reference image cropped to cut off an essential part of the subject like an ear or paws? If the image is cropped ... I will only draw or paint what I CAN SEE.
See Question #2 again ... Is any part of the subject hidden in dark shadow or blocked out by bright light?
#5 ~ IS IT SENTIMENTAL *AND/OR* IS IT VISUALLY APPEALING
Is this image is one that captures your loved pet's personality or brings you back to a place / time that will bring you fond memories and in general, make you smile.
or ... maybe this photo is just a beautiful image of your animal that you simply LOVE and want to have it transformed into a work of art.
No matter what, be sure you submit a photo reference that you will enjoy seeing on display.
HOW TO TAKE GREAT REFERENCE PHOTOS
Here are some tips to get a perfect reference photo:
1) YOU are tall, your dog is NOT, so, squat to their level (or even slightly lower) before shooting.
2) NATURAL LIGHT NO FLASH!
3) Have your DOG FACE THE LIGHT SOURCE (or slightly to the “1” or “11” o'clock positions) ... This is the best way to make sure your dog (especially the black ones) are not in shadow. If the light is behind them - you can’t capture details.
4) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BEST NATURAL LIGHT; early morning and late afternoon: lower sun position is best for outdoor shooting.
5) STAND BACK AND ZOOM IN (need a decent lens) on your subject. This helps put THE DOG in focus and blur the background slightly.