Here you can learn a few tricks on how to make photos specifically for a Medieval Pet Portrait.
The quality of your pet’s photo is the most important thing for a painting worthy of hanging on the wall. Sometimes the right posture and attitude can make a difference. In case you are not content with the photos that you have, you may want to go to a photo shooting session with your pet.
Don’t worry. It’s not complicated, and it’s worth the effort. My advice is just to go and take some photos anyway. It will be fun.
1. Only the head is important, and sometimes the neck.
Do not worry about the body of your pet and the background. Only the head will be seen in the final portrait. The body will be replaced by a medieval painting anyway. This advice is against established photography rules, but it makes sense because we are looking for a special-purpose photo.
2. Fill the entire frame with the head
The head will be the central piece of the painting – everyone will look closely at it. The details are very often important so try to get the maximum from your camera by getting closer to your pet. If you take a photo from a distance, the relevant part (the head of your pet) will contain a fewer number of pixels and fewer details.
2. Position, angle, and attitude
Try to have the pet pose close to the one in the original painting that you like (front, profile, or semi profile). Your camera should be at the eye level of your pet. Sit on the floor if you need to and target his face. Get someone to capture the attention of your dog. The eyes should be open.
3. You may use an assistant
Many dogs and cats are very active and not interested in photography, so they try to go away. You can have someone keep them still. You can put it on your assistant’s shoulder. Give support for the chest and back legs all the time. Do not pull your pet by the front legs. It may be painful.
Some cameras are optimized for human faces. The assistant can look away and let the pet be the star.
4. Take photos of the paws
Many paintings look better with animal paws than with human hands. You may want the original paws in the picture. Take some close-ups. It is a small detail, but you will remember this for many years.
5. Natural Lightning, without flash
- This is a secret everyone knows: almost any camera can make good photos in a good light.
- Try to go with your pet outside, but try to avoid strong sunlight because it will cast sharp shadows. You can also take outstanding photos in the golden hour (is the period of the daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset).
- Shoot with the sun behind you to get a uniform light. But, in very bright your pet may be squinting so you will have to find shade.
- You can shoot on an overcast day because the light is uniform and you will have no shadows.
- If you cannot go outside, make use of the natural light by going close to the window, but avoid the shadows. Turn all the lights on, even during the daytime.
- Don’t use flash. If you have enough light, you don’t need flash. You will get a dull and flattened image. However, if you are shooting during the day, my advice is to use fash. It is counterintuitive, but it can compensate for the harsh shadows on the face.
6. How to get your dog to look at the camera
Sometimes this can be very frustrating because it is hard to keep his attention for more than a few moments and keep the camera steady at the same time. Show him a treat or his favorite toy, maybe with the help of an assistant. Or make some noise to capture his attention.
The face should be clear and in focus, with many details. Sometimes the camera gets confused if there are many objects. You can take many photos and choose the best ones.
8. You can use your smartphone
Your smartphone should be good if you have enough light. A DSLR is better especially for posters larger than 16*20 inches.
9. Do not use digital zoom
It is preferable to get closer, rather than use digital zoom. It will not add much information. Or don’t use zoom at all. A computer is better at enhancing the image than a camera.
If your camera has optical zoom, go for it.