How to choose a good 

Reference Photo

Capturing the likeness of a family pet is the essence of creating

a coloured pencil portrait. The photograph from which I work must provide the detail that will enable me to reflect the true character

of the subject.  Below you will find a little guide of how to choose a good reference photo.

Good reference photo:

  • Taken close to the face 

  • Bright, natural lighting that reflects true colours of the subject

  • Eyes and features, fur, nose, patterning of good visibility

  • Nice composition (imagine the pose as a drawing without background, make sure nothing obstructs the subject)

  • Good quality photo that allows  me to zoom in in search for finer detail

Bad reference  photo:

  • Taken from far away/above the subject

  • No detail, pixelated or blurred when zoomed in

  • With a filter on, not reflecting the true colour/tones, taken in low light

  • Flash reflecting in the eyes

All efforts will be taken to work with any photos provided, but on rare occasion I reserve the right to turn the commission down if dissatisfied with the quality of the reference photo provided.


Good reference photo example

Bright, sharp, nice composition, vibrant colours


Bad reference photo example

Lovely photo, but not great reference - dark, blurry, pixelated, no definable features