Tel: 07951 241193

sarahleighart@gmail.com

© 2019 Sarah Leigh Fine Art

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Ordering Your Pet Portrait

Here you can read about how to go about ordering your pet portrait, from the photographs I need, the style of pet portrait you might want and whether you would like it framed or not. I want to make the process of ordering as easy as possible for you. Gift Vouchers are also available should you be too late for commissioning a portrait and also they allow the recipient complete involvement in the process.

Above you can see the detail and quality that goes into my pet portraits from photos. Above is Jasper, one of my favourite pieces despite it being painted 13 years ago. Please read below to find out more about ordering a lasting tribute to your best friend.

The Process

Ordering a pet portrait is actually a fairly straight forward process. The most important thing is the photographs I have to work from and I shall be giving you some advice on the sort of photographs I need to produce your pet portrait shortly

Step 1

The first step is to contact me with the photographs you wish me to use for your pet painting. It is very important they are high resolution images that are taken without flash. Don;t worry about the file size I can receive large files or you can use something like WeTransfer or Dropbox if you have many large files that you want to send in one go.

I will take a look at the photographs and I will decide if they are suitable to work from. It is quite useful to have more than one photo. I will pick one main photograph to work from and then some candid ones with a little description are so helpful for me to get a good idea of their character and personality, which is so important for me to create the best pet portrait for you.

I can also accept images via CD and even post if you it easiest for you. All photographs that are posted I would suggest sending Special Delivery for their safe keeping. They will be returned with the finished portrait.

Don't forget if you live within a 10 mile radius of Knockholt, Kent I am more than happy to travel and take photographs for you and you are more than welcome to visit me, by appointment only.

Step 2

Once we have decided on the photograph we are a going to use we can discuss the size and style background you would like, whether it be a plain one or somewhere detailed your dog liked to go or their favourite place to visit. 

The size of the portrait often depends on what pet I am painting. If it is a horse I tend to recommend something larger, particularly if you want a full body, smaller if it is a head and shoulders portrait. Same rule applies with dog portraits, I often factor in the size of the breed I am painting also. This is only a guide and a good starting point. Nothing is set in stone and I am more than happy to paint your pet to whatever size you would like. It is worth bearing in mind though it can be hard to paint certain things smaller and I may have to say no to painting a full body of a horse in a 10x8 inch painting!

I use photoshop to put together any mock ups of the portrait, such as adding in any specific backgrounds you may like or putting two or three or more subjects together to map out the composition for a painting that will have multiple subjects.

Once you are happy with all the details of the commission I ask for a 30% deposit to book your slot and I will give you a rough completion date. The balance is due once I have sent you a final scan to approve. Please browse my galleries to give you an idea of the many and varied pet portrait commissions I have done over the years.

It is a very similar process with my Jolly Splashes pet portraits. At this stage you can get to pick any colours your would like for the painting or whether you are happy to leave it me to decide. 

Step 3

Once you are happy with all the above, the exciting bit can begin. Work can start on your pet portrait! Many hours of love and work will go into your pet portrait commission so every part of the process is important to me, particularly making sure I have the right photographs to work from. Yes, I will repeat this, as I cannot impress how important it is.

When I start work I am more than happy to show you how it is progressing either by emailing you stage by stage photographs, sharing the progress on facebook or in my blog

Some people prefer to wait for the final scan to see the finished piece and of course if it is a gift I won't share on social media until you give the OK to do so. Once the pet portrait has been finished I will send you a final scan to approve. Here you will have to opportunity to let me know if there are any amendments to be made, but that doesn't happen very often! Of course I want you to be 100% happy with your pet portrait commission so we can work on any amendments together. I will always offer 3-4 amendments before I have to think about charging for my time, but this has never happened before.

When you are happy I can the sign and frame the painting, if you are having it framed and then we can arrange a convenient delivery date. All my portraits are sent via Parcelforce 24 hour or Royal Mail special delivery and will need a signature. Unfortunately I can only frame pet portraits for the UK, anything abroad has to be shipped unframed, but will sent tracked and insured. I am happy to send worldwide and have shipped to Australia with no problems before!

Just to Recap.....

So Just to recap, these are the main things you need to consider ordering a pet portrait

  1. Pet portraits from photographs, they need to be full res, good quality and no flash.

  2. Which is your favourite photograph of your pet, along with some fun candid ones

  3. What size would you like your pet portrait

  4. Would you prefer a plain background or a detailed scenic background in the painting

  5. What size would you like 

  6. Would you like me to frame your portrait

  7. Is it for a specific deadline, please allow 2 months at least to be safe when commissioning a pet portrait

  8. Delivery, I can deliver where ever you would like, if it is easier to have it sent to a work address or a neighbour it is no problem. Please just bear in mind it will need a signature.

Taking Photographs For Your Pet Portrait

Taking photographs for me to create your pet portrait could simply be the most important part of the process, apart from me painting it of course. The reference photographs are essential for me to capture those important details and personality that makes your pet unique. I have been told I capture animals personalities in my pet portraits, even Jolly Splashes mordern pet portraits and the good quality photographs enable me to do so.

Below here are my top tips for getting the perfect photograph for your pet portrait. commission

1. No flash! When you are taking photographs for your pet portrait please do not use flash. It can drastically change the colour of your pet and will cause red eye or green highlights in their eyes which can be impossible to work round and will not enable me to get a true representation of your pet.

2. What light is best I hear you ask! Natural light for taking photos is the best. If you can try to avoid a really bright sunny day, but this is still a better option that using flash! If you do make sure the sun is behind you, but ensure your pet isn't squinting with the sun in their eyes. The best weather is a bright overcast day. This avoids nasty dark shadows a really sunny day will and squinty eyes.

3. Get on their level. Or raise them up if they are small and you don't want to crawl around on the floor! This is essential for avoiding strange angles and camera distortion for your pet portrait. That is unless you want something a little quirky! Something with an unusual angle may suit my more modern pet portraits rather than my traditional pastel pet portraits, but I ham happy to discuss all options with you.

4. Get in close to your pet! It's no good having a blob at the back of a field or so far away I can't pick out any details or shapes or even any eyes......I can only paint what I see. I may ask you to go back and take more. I am not trying to be fussy or awkward I just want to be able to produce the best pet paintings possible, and it really is worth putting the effort in to get them. Most of my clients agree and the beauty of digital is we can take as many photos as we like!

5. I do appreciate often I get asked to create portraits of pets that have sadly crossed the rainbow bridge. Please always contact me to discuss the photos you have. I know I emphasise the quality is so important but I can work from not so great photographs in the past and I would be delighted to take a look obligation free. If you are sending me original copies please bear in mind it is worth sending them special delivery and all photos will be return with finished pet paintings.

Please view my pet portraits galleries to see my past work.