(The second in an occasional series of blogs by Chief Canine Officers Freddie and Joey)
As much as Todd would love to invite all his portrait subjects into his studio to sit for their sketches and paintings, it’s not practical.A cat might have time to lie around in a patch of sun streaming through the window for hours (and hours and hours), but dogs like us have things to do.We’re busy canines.
Todd paints custom portraits—of dogs, cats, people, horses, roosters,whatever—from photographs. Trust us, he can create some pretty amazing portraits from not-so-amazing images, but we think it’s nice when he gets to start with some awesome photos.
We know not everyone is as natural in front of the camera as we are—we’ve been photographed and painted practically since we were pups. So,we’d like to take this opportunity to talk to the dogs, cats, people, horses, roosters and whatevers out there about how to pose perfectly for photos—the ones that Todd will use to immortalize you in acrylic or pencil.
Meet Lola, a spunky Terrier from California who looks so cute with her favorite toy!
* Get ready for your close-up. Todd likes to work from at least one photo that clearly shows your face: He’s known for capturing the soul of his subjects through their eyes. If you’re an animal of shorter stature, have the person holding the camera get down to your level. Look squarely ahead and give a nice smile. For dogs, a classic head tilt never hurts. (We don’t know what works for roosters, but we encourage all the fowl to give the head tilt a try, too.)
* Look natural.It can help to think about someone you love. If you’re a cat, that might be your person—or, more likely, yourself. If you’re a person, it might be your spouse or child. If you’re a horse, it might be the very nice lady who grooms you and brings you apples.
Lola loves hanging out in her backyard.
* Be creative. A photo taken in the living room or back yard is often perfect, but if you love the dog park, the hay meadow next door or a nearby lake, head out there. You’ll look happy in a place you feel comfortable.
A great shot showing Lola’s beautiful coloring.
* Be prolific. It’s best to give Todd several photos to work from—an assortment conveys a sense of your personality and inspires a perfect composition for your custom portrait. (You don’t think a photographer shoots just one picture for the cover of Bark! or Vogue and calls it a day, do you?) Try a variety of standing and sitting poses. Get some profile and even action shots. Catch that Frisbee! Play with that yarn! More the sedentary type? Curl up with your best friend by the fire or lounge on the sofa.
* Skip the Instagram filters. You’ve got a gorgeous coat (or hairdo or feathers or mane or maybe even scales) and Todd will want to capture that in all its natural glory. If the photos you submit were taken at different times and in different lighting conditions, have someone with thumbs write a note indicating which one most accurately shows your coloring.
A better shot of Lola on her patio. Could be the perfect background for her portrait!
* Consider the background. If you think you look quite fetching (Ha! We’re punny!) in one picture but the background is ugly, that’s OK. Todd is a master of creating perfect backgrounds. You can suggest an idea or have him paint one of his signature looks—a colorful and dynamic contemporary design that we think sets off furry pets,in particular, perfectly.
And the final portrait. Lola on the bed with her favorite toy was the best pose, but the patio where she loved hanging out was the perfect background. Todd was able to composite it all together from all the supplied photos.
* Don’t worry. If you have any questions, call (336-201-7475) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) our people. They can answer any of your questions about photos for custom portraits—or most anything else. They are really smart. Just don’t ask for us. We’re working on our latest bone project. (Todd and Stephanie aren’t the only creative ones in our pack!)
Yours in dogness,
Freddie & Joey