How does the process work?
It's easy! Just email a few favorite photos of your pet, and let me know which type of portrait appeals to you. You can also point out favorite images on the site. I'll let you know whether your photos are workable (see guidelines below). For personality portraits such as royalty, cowboy, etc. you'll choose from the exact backgrounds you see on the site. For artistic images (those with painterly backgrounds or nature scenes), just let me know what colors and styles you're drawn to and we'll go from there.
How can I choose a photograph that will work best?
1. Sharpness: The image must be clear and sharp. Many things can be corrected digitally, but fixing blur is very difficult if not impossible.
2. Lighting: Unless you are submitting a professional studio photograph, photos taken in natural light are best, so long as areas are not blown out or in deep shadow. Outdoor photos taken in shade are fine, assuming they're not too dark. Always, even lighting is best. If photographing indoors, shoot near a window to achieve nice, soft lighting.
3. Background: A plain background is best. Your pet should be the main subject, with as little background clutter as possible. If you're taking a new photo, hang a solid contrasting colored sheet or use a plain wall as a backdrop.
4. Shoot at eye level: Crouch and photograph at your pet's level rather than shooting downward. Try your best not to cut off ears, paws, or tails, and don't have your pet wearing a collar if you don't want it in the final image. I may be able to change the color of a collar but it is more difficult and sometimes impossible to remove one completely. Also, clean up any eye goop, dirty whiskers, etc. before photographing.
5. Pose: If you are choosing one of the personality portraits, look at the ones you like best and take a photo with your pet's head in the position that is likely to match (for most, facing front or slightly to the side works best). I can also match your photo to the personality image that will work best. For artistic images, most poses will work.
6. Image quality: Photos must be at a decent resolution in order to look good in the final image. Very low resolution, grainy images do not turn out well. A resolution of 300ppi is preferred, but if you're not sure about that sort of thing, don't worry! I'll let you know if there's an issue. In general, photos taken with a digital camera are best, although many newer phone cameras take higher resolution images, so a phone image can work. If you use a phone camera, send the file directly from your phone in an email, and choose full size or the largest size possible..
How many pets can be in one image?
There is normally one pet per image, especially in the personality images. But more than one pet can be composited into an artistic image. This requires more work, which will be reflected in the cost. Please inquire about special orders.
Are there any types of pets you won't accept?
Nope! Any pet you love is a candidate for a work of art. While the majority of my artwork is focused on dogs and cats, I love to work with photos of other animals as well. If you have a horse, lizard, bunny, bird, snake, or anything else, you are welcome to submit photos!
Can you do memorial images?
Yes, absolutely! The "rainbow bridge" images offer a way to celebrate the love of your beloved pets and to preserve their memory forever. These can be personalized with name, date, poem or other text. This type of image also makes a meaningful gift for a grieving pet parent. (See below for information about gift certificates.)
How does a photograph turn into a work of art? Do you just press a button?
Wouldn’t that be nice! Alas, no. Using Photoshop and other software, I combine various techniques mastered through years of studying and working with digital processes in order to create a one-of-a-kind artistic image. (If you're curious, you can see my personal artwork here.) There are layers, textures, blending. light and shadows, and much more that goes into these images. What may look simple can take hours of work. But in the end, it’s not only about skill and attention to detail, but having a creative vision that captures the spirit of your individual pet.
When and how do I make payment?
Once your photos have been approved, a non-refundable payment can be made via Paypal. Then, let the artistic process begin!
Do you offer a guarantee? How do I know I'll like my artwork?
The payment is non-refundable, but my goal is always to ensure that you are not only happy, but thrilled with the final image. To that end, before going to print I will send you a proof via email to approve.
How long does the artwork take to create?
Once we've agreed on the details, It normally takes 2-5 days to create an image, depending on the current workload. You'll be notified once the creative process is complete, and again once shipment has been made.
What formats can I choose from?
You can order a high quality 11x14 photo, print on canvas, or print on metal. All are printed by a professional lab and come with a free low-resolution digital file suitable for sharing online. (Please note that low resolution files are not meant for printing.) if the aspect ratio of the original image does not allow for a 11x14 crop, the closest common print size will be used (normally 12x18) at no extra charge. If you prefer, you are welcome to purchase the high-resolution digital file only, which is suitable for printing. Keep in mind that products created by professional labs are of much higher quality than those printed through channels available to consumers. (For details on each product, see the Pricing page.) A reasonable estimate of time for receiving products after completion is 5-7 days for production and then 3-5 days to ship. Digital files can be sent immediately.
How can I gift a portrait?
Send an email saying you would like to purchase a gift certificate. Once payment is made, I will email you a personalized certificate that you can gift via email or print out. The recipient can then email to redeem the certificate.
Can you ship internationally?
Yes! Please inquire for shipping rates.
Have other questions?
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, and to discuss special orders. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back with you promptly!