3 Tips to Create the Best Pet Portrait

pet portraits cover

Mobile phone wallpapers and traditional 4×6 prints are excellent ways to show off your kitty or pup, but they lack a certain “wow” factor. So how else do you get out-of-this-world pet pictures? Make a custom portrait, of course. But it’s not as simple as choosing a random photo from your camera roll. You really want to capture your friend so artists can easily turn your photo into a work of art. Follow our tips to create the best pet portrait and enjoy a show-stopping piece to hang in your home.

1.) Ensure Adequate Lighting

Lighting is important in pictures of people, so why would that change for pets? Actually, it’s probably more important to have sufficient light, as many pets have dark coloring that’s hard to fully capture in low light conditions. 

Think “bright.” Choose an existing photo or take one outside in the daylight if possible for natural light. If a trip outside isn’t ideal, stay inside and position your pet in exceptionally bright lighting to minimize shadows. Photos taken near windows work beautifully, and you don’t have to use flash. Mobile device photos especially need adequate light because those cameras struggle to focus otherwise, affecting the whole image.

pet portraits from photos

2.) Aim for Quality

You don’t want to commemorate your love for your pet with a sub-par photo. Quality is everything when it comes to creating a stellar pet portrait. Thinking of taking a fresh photo specifically for a digital portrait? Buckle up and hunker down for an in-depth photo session with your furry friend. Lighting changes throughout the day and our pets naturally move around, so you might need to take up to 30 photos for the perfect shot to create the best pet portrait. 

Avoid blurry photos at all costs, too. If your pet is in motion when photos are taken, you’ll be sacrificing clarity and reducing the quality of your final portrait. Use a smartphone or SLR camera if you’re going for a professional look. Each of these options has built-in features to autofocus and reduce blur. Try to make sure your pet sits still to help the process along. 

Of course, the best photos are up close and personal, because they really show off essential details. Use a photo where your pet fills the majority of the frame rather than at a distance. But remember to fully show their face and avoid cutting out the edges of their ears or other parts. When it’s time to send your chosen photo for your framed pet poster, use the full-size photo to show every detail. Never resize the file because it’ll degrade the image (i.e. sharpness and clarity). 

dog and portrait

3.) Look for Eye Contact

While we naturally see our pets from above, a birds-eye view doesn’t create the best pet portrait. Make sure your pet is looking directly at the camera. This way, you’ll see everything from eyes and ears to nose and mouth. Select an image where Rover is at eye level to capture the fullest view of his charming face.


Is this harder than simply snapping a photo from your own vantage point? In some cases, but it’s totally doable. It might mean you have to get on the floor and crouch down to his eye level or place him on a table, but the results are worth it. Full body images work in some cases, so long as you don’t crop anything out. But ideally, aim to showcase your pet’s head and shoulders to capture their character and unique features. Now say, “Cheese!”

Create Your Pet Portrait

Looking for a fun way to show just how much you love your pet? Create a digital pet portrait from your very own photos. Ditch the store-bought wall art in favor of a life-size rendering of your furry friend that’ll last for years to come.