Having a pet portrait painted without a good photo – is it possible?

 

I am often asked if it’s possible to have a portrait painted of a pet when there’s not an ideal reference photo available. Maybe the painting is a memorial portrait and, life being what it is, a wonderful reference photo had never been taken of the pet. Maybe the portrait is a surprise gift and the gift-giver doesn’t want to spoil the surprise by asking for photos of the pet, and instead uses something from social media. It happens.

In a perfect world, these wouldn’t be obstacles we’d have to deal with, but the world is far from perfect, and the short answer is that yes, you can still have a gorgeous pet portrait from your photo with less than ideal reference pictures!

The above transformation shows just such a situation. Petey passed away, and a good friend of his owners wanted to surprise her friend with his portrait. She sent me what she could stealthily get her hands on (see pic above) and I painted a beautiful portrait of Petey from it.

Would you like to have your pet’s portrait painted? Click here to see pricing options. 

Custom Pet Portraits Starting at $75 – Hand-Painted from Your Photos

Having your dog or cat hand-painted on canvas is probably less expensive than you think. I am a professional artist residing in Phoenix, Arizona who specializes in dog, cat and other pet portraits from photos. Hand-painted Custom Pet Portraits on gorgeous, professional quality stretched canvas, in a variety of styles to suit your decor and personal aesthetic, ALL start at under $100.

In fact, at the time of this post, my least expensive option, simply because it's the smallest, is just $75.

Below are the various styles of pet portraits I offer. Click the link below each one to view size and pricing options. Rest assured that each order, no matter how small or large, is treated with the same care and  customer service. 

Click the title below any of the portrait styles above to see pricing and size options for that style, or click here to go to my Etsy shop, which has them all on one page. As always, if you have any questions at all I'd be happy to answer them! Click here to send me a message. 

Pet Portrait Sale Going on Now!

All of my custom portraits are on sale while I try to beat this Arizona heat by staying inside in the AC, painting amazing portraits for my customers!

Whether you’d like a traditional pet portrait, a colorful pet portrait, a Day of the Dead style pet portrait, a memorial pet portrait, or even a portrait of a person, it is all on sale!

Simply click here to go to the custom portraits section of my Etsy store, select your custom portrait style and size, and then in checkout enter the coupon code SUMMERHEAT for 10% off of your entire order!

This sale will continue through the end of July, so tell your friends… I hope you’re finding your own way to stay cool this summer!

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What style of pet portrait is right for you?

I offer a variety of styles of pet portrait paintings. Check out your options below to decide which style best suits you and your pet. Remember, every pet portrait commission is completely custom, so you can make requests as well!

Ordering a custom pet portrait is easy and fun. Click below each style to go to the ordering page. Then I'll walk you through the rest (hint: you send me photos of your pet and some information about his or her personality, and I take it from there!)

Colorful Custom Pet Portrait

This colorful pet portrait is painted on canvas, with as much or as little bold use of color as you'd like. These portraits tend to have a lot of energy and really brighten up a room.

Click here to order your colorful pet portrait.

Traditional Pet Portrait

My traditional pet portraits are painted with more of a "realism" style and are an elegant accent to any room. You can always request a few extra pops of color to be added to these portraits if you choose.

Click here to order your traditional pet portrait.

Day of the Dead Pet Portrait

I create these paintings with a fusion of my painting style with the amazingly beautiful Mexican Day of the Dead style for a truly unique piece of art featuring your beloved animal. It is a dreamy and surreal take on portraiture.

Click here to order your Day of the Dead pet portrait.

Day of the Dead Pet Portrait on Rice Paper

These sugar skull portraits are painted in more of a "tattoo" style, on beautiful, hand-made rice paper with a gorgeous emulsion of sea shell powder that gives it a lustrous surface. They include your pet's name in a banner as shown.

Click here to order your Day of the Dead pet portrait.

Day of the Dead Style Pet Memorial

Similar to the previous portrait, these are painted in a Day of the Dead style with your pet's name in a banner. The difference is that these are painted on canvas, so there are more size options, and the entire background is hand-painted with flower accents. This is a popular pet memorial painting.

Click here to order your Day of the Dead pet portrait.

Pet Portrait Painted from Photo – See the Transformation

Pet portraits painted from photos are much more than just a replica of the photo…

A customer recently told me that she wanted a portrait painted of her dog because the painting would be able to capture the essence of her dog, while a photo only captures a moment. I thought that was a really beautiful way to put it. When we got started on her custom portrait, she sent me photos, videos and lots of loving details about her dog, Pepper. I felt like when I got started on  even just the preliminary sketch work, I knew her dog and he was coming to life in front of me.
When I paint pet portraits from photos, I don't just ask you for the photo, paint what I see in the picture, and deliver it to you like a painted replica. There is so much more to it! Every portrait involves communication about your pet. What were his or her favorite things to do? What funny little habits did he or she have? What about your pet just absolutely captured your heart?   A pet portrait painted from a photo takes on a life of its own, inspired by your pet's heart and personality. I like to say that when I'm done, the portrait breathes with the life of your pet. Every brush stroke is painted with your pet's heart and soul in mind.

Below are a few samples of photos and the painted portrait that I created from them.

If you'd like a portrait painted of your own pet, click here to place your order.

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What Moms Want for Mother’s Day – Make it Unique with a Custom Portrait

Ideas for Mother's Day can be hard to come by sometimes. What do you get for the woman who raised you and continues to love you more than any other human being on the planet, despite everything we put our moms through over the years… I mean, let's be honest here. From writing on the walls to stomach bugs to broken vases, our moms have cleaned up after us and loved us through thick and thin! They deserve something really special on their special day.

Never fear, I have you covered!

Moms love something that is unique, made just for her. Order your mom a custom portrait of her favorite pet, or of her grandchildren. Next to you, there's nobody she loves more!

If time is getting tight, you can still do it! I offer gift certificates for my custom portraits as well, which allow your mom to be a part of the process as I create the portrait for her, with her input along the way. It's a fun process and again, something so unique she'll treasure it for years to come.

Pet Portraits – Custom Painted Pet Portraits in Pocket Size

These small, custom pet portraits are absolutely adorable and are perfect as gifts or as “pocket portraits” to fit easily in your cubicle at work, on your bedside table, or even into your suitcase when you travel! Slide one into somebody special’s stocking during the holidays or tuck one into a little gift bag for a BIG surprise! These little beauties have the same high quality work put into them as my very popular larger portraits on canvas… they’re just smaller!

Order your “pocket portrait” here!

These portraits are painted on DaVinci Pro Panels – strong wood panels crafted from fine-grained Birch wood for long-term warp resistance and a fantastic archival painting surface. They are gesso-primed, painted with professional acrylic paints, then finished with a beautiful gloss varnish for protection, beauty and longevity.

You have your choice of a 4″ x 6″ or 5″ x 5″ panel.

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Pet Portraits Painted from Photos – Tips for the Perfect Reference Photo

Capturing a great photo of your pet is the first step in getting an amazing painted pet portrait!

When you hire me to paint a custom portrait of your pet, quality reference material is the key to an amazing finished painting!

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. When I'm painting a memorial portrait, I know the customer can't follow my guide to capture an ideal photo, and that's OK. In those cases, I simply ask for as many photos as you can provide, from a variety of angles, and I create a great portrait anyway. I've even painted a portrait of two best buddy dogs together when one passed and their owner realized he'd never captured that "perfect" photo of the two dogs together.

Barring that unavoidable scenario, there's no reason you (yes, YOU!) can't capture a fabulous photo of your pet by following a few easy guidelines. This may even change the way you photograph your pets from now on!

Read on for my fail-safe guide to photographing your pet, and when you're done, be sure to visit my Pet Portraits page for information on ordering a painting created from your beautiful photo!

1. Get down to "pet level"

Photos taken from "human" height tend to look down on your pet, and that results in awkward photos. Get down on the ground yourself for some great angles right at eye-level with your pet. You'll be surprised how much better your photographs turn out with this simple adjustment in angle!

Tip: prop a treat up on top of your camera to encourage your pet to look towards the camera with a bright, eager expression!

2. Take your photos at the highest quality level your camera or phone offers

I can paint with great detail if the detail exists within the reference photo itself. Fuzzy, low-quality, grainy or pixelated photos don't give me a lot of fine detail to work with. Zoom in on the photos as you take them to make sure they're focused, crisp and full of all of that great detail I love to reference in the paintings themselves!

3. Light is your friend when taking photos of your pet!

Both overly dark photos, taken in deep shadows or dark homes, or overly bright photos with glaring sun, can destroy the subtle shadows and highlights that give the best result in your final photo. However, soft, natural light is wonderful! One great way to achieve this indoors is to take the photo by a glass door or large window, which will allow the light to softly wash over your pet for a beautiful effect.

Tip: Pro photographers call the time shortly after sunrise and right before sunset 'The Magic Hour" because the light has a gorgeous, soft, gold-to-red glow. If you can take a photo of your pet outside at this time, nature will provide you with absolutely stunning light!

4. Avoid these common errors

See below some examples of what not to do when photographing your pet:

Custom Pet Portraits Make Great Gifts!

Best Gifts for Pet Lovers

When it comes to people who adore their pets, you know what kind of gifts they treasure most. Gifts that relate to their pets! Even better are personalized pet gifts. The challenge can be finding items they don't already have, and ones that will last a long time.

The best gift for the dog, cat or horse lover in your life (or bird, reptile, you name it!) may be a portrait of their pet. Looking at the responses I've received from some of my clients who have commissioned a portrait of a friend or loved one's pet, it's a surefire win in the gifting department!

Click here to order a portrait!

"When I saw the painting for the first time I was amazed and knew my wife would love it… [it] even brought her to tears. This one painting symbolizes so much for me, my wife and our puppy Rey…"

"Beautiful. I couldn't think of a better way to honor the memory of my dog… I love it!"

"Such wonderful paintings! I can't wait to order more!"

"Perfect gift for a family that recently lost their pet."

If you'd like to order a portrait, the process is easy and fun! Click here to view available sizes and pricing details. You can also give a gift certificate for a portrait to allow your friend or loved one to be a part of the process as I create the painting.

Bottom line: the perfect gift that will last a lifetime is a click away. How easy was that?

How to have a custom portrait painted of your pet

Ordering a custom painting of your pet in three easy steps!

Having a portrait painted of your pet is a fun and easy process! Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Choose the style of portrait you'd like. Options range from colorful and contemporary, to stylized and dreamy.
  2. Take some great reference photos of your pet. A few tips are to get out into natural light, or take the photo by a window, and get down to "pet level" for the photo (often this means sitting or kneeling down on the ground to take the photo). Send quite a few photos to give me lots of images in my "tool box" from which to work!
  3. Let me know all about your pet. I want to know the quirks that make your pet unique, and stories that illustrate your pet's personality are fantastic! Again, this gives me a nice, full tool box while I'm working on your portrait! My goal is to make the painting or drawing "breathe" with the life of your pet, and every detail you provide adds to my ability to do so.

That's it! The rest of the process is up to me. I'll send you sketches, color swatches, and will keep you in the loop along the way.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I look forward to working with you to create a piece of art your family will cherish!