When I draw pet portraits, I follow the reference photo exactly in terms of the animal's position and expression. (Of course my stylized art adds a flare in terms of texture and color.) It is important to send me a reference photo that truly captures the essence of your animal friend. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a photo reference of your pet:
1) Overall vibe. Are you looking to portray them as playful, wild, peaceful, sweet, intense, etc? Look at photos of your animal and notice which aspect of them is most represented. Is this what you want to come through in the finished work?
2) Consider the angle of viewing. Are you looking down at the animal? Typically the best reference photo is taken when the camera (person) is eye level rather than standing over the pet.
3) The crop. It is usually best to have all of the animal's face showing. We can crop it down if artistically warranted, but it is difficult to draw what is beyond the photo.
4) The quality of the photo is important. I need to be able to zoom in and see details in the eyes and accurate coat color.
When in doubt, email me a bunch of photos and I will coach you on choosing or taking the best reference photo of your animal. If the animal is deceased we will work together to find a photo that I can work from even if the quality is not perfect.