Laura J Smith Portraits in Pencil
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The first and foremost thing you need to achieve a beautiful portrait of your
animal is a photograph that captures their personality.

Here are a few photo hints to help:


Have a friend or friends help you. You will get a better shot if someone holds the animal while someone else tries to keep his or her attention. For dogs, asking them for a treat, or ask if they want to go for a walk, will many times get a wonderful expression. For animals like horses, holding a coffee can and dropping grain into it does wonders. Other ideas for attention getters are plastic or paper bags and treats.


Most portraits are done as a headshot, so you need to get close to the subject. Try to have as little background as possible.


Try not to take a head-on photo. A profile, or having the animal turned just a bit, will keep the subject from having a big-head look.


Be careful of the background on photographs. You don't want the picture to look overly cluttered. Try taking pictures in front of solid walls, such as barn walls, or in front of trees or fences. If you are taking a body-shot of a horse, watch the fence line. If the fence line is right above the horses back, it can make them look swaybacked.


Always try to put the sun at your back, but make sure you do not cast a shadow on your photograph.


Take lots of photographs. The more shots you have the better the chance of getting a really good picture.