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* Commissions FULL for 2024 & 2025*

Have you ever thought you'd love to capture that loving character in more than just a photo album? Get in touch via the form below so we can discuss various options to create your perfect portrait. I work from good quality photographs, ideally digital. You may already have a photo in mind, if not scroll down for photography tips.

I work in pen and ink with charcoal or black pastel shading on premium quality paper. I can also work in acrylic paint on wood board or canvas.

Lead times vary so please allow plenty of time. 2023 is now full and there are limited spaces in 2024. Pen and ink portraits on A3 paper will take me around 2-3 weeks per portrait. Acrylic paintings vary depending on size and level of detail but as a rough guide a 30 x 30cm painting will take around 4-6 weeks to complete.

A 20% deposit is required to secure your booking with the balance payable only when you are entirely happy with your picture.

The quality of the photograph you provide for me to draw from has a huge impact on the level of detail I can add to the picture and in turn will determine the quality of the final product. I am a realism artist which means I draw what I see, while small alterations can be made using artistic licence, if you truly want the portrait to look like your pet, I need to see all the individual hairs, the reflections in the eyes etc. This may sound like a lot to ask but in fact you don't need any specialist equipment or much skill to achieve this. A camera phone takes a great picture, you just need to get close enough to the subject and keep a steady hand.

Artist Stephanie Lacey holding acrylic painting of a pet portrait

Tips for taking a great photo

1. Lighting:

Choose a day that is overcast or find a shaded area, avoid shooting in direct sunlight as this often results in too much contrast and big black or white areas in a photo. Take your photo in natural light, if you are indoors, choose a room with plenty of natural light and get the subject to face the light source.

2. Patience:

Do this when you have time to spare, animals often don't like to cooperate when it comes to photos! It's important you're both relaxed (or at least having fun!) Have some treats ready (more than you think you'll need!)

Allow yourself a few attempts! This process is really important to the outcome of the portrait so it shouldn't be rushed.

3. Surroundings:

Consider the environment your subject is in. Don't let anything get in the way of your camera and the subject. If the animals legs are curled up in a bed, the bed will need to be included in the picture.

4. Framing:

Take the photo at their eye level, if you're photographing a dog for example, crouch down to their level or even lie on your tummy to get a good angle. Try to get as close as possible, while ensuring the whole subject is in the frame. I can crop and zoom in when we decide on the final composition but adding imaginary feet is very tricky!

5. Sharpness:

Keep the camera as steady as possible to ensure a sharp image. If you have shaky hands, lean on something like a chair or a pile of books.

6. Focus on the eyes:

That is the part of the picture that captures the most character and emotion and the part I need to be really sharp. The eyes are what you'll focus on when you look at the portrait and that's the bit the memories will come from. Get the subject to look towards the light source if possible.

7. Don't worry!

I am on hand to help every step of the way. If you are fairly local to me I will happily come and take the photos myself.

If you're worried your photo isn't good enough, don't be! Just send it over and I can have a good look and advise how you could improve it. You can send me as many photos as you like, its not uncommon for my clients to send 40 to 50 shots! It's best to get the photo right before we start the portrait process so allow enough time for this.

8. Multiple pets

Trying to get two or three dogs to sit nicely together for a photo is nearly impossible. It's fine (and much easier) to send separate photos. Ideally the photos will all be taken at similar angles and in similar lighting conditions. 

9. Heavenly residents

Sadly our furry friends don't last long enough and I do many memorial portraits. In this case, hopefully you will have a photo in mind that you might like to use or you can send me a selection of what you have and I can advise which ones would work best.

Telephone / SMS / Whatsapp:  07843 234698


Enquire about a commission

Pop your details in here if you're interested in having a chat about commissions, or if you have any questions and comments about my work.

artist Stephanie Lacey work in progress

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