I've posted this before, many months ago, but I think it bears repeating. Whenever someone is interested in having a portrait of his or her pet painted, I am often asked what photos I need to work from. To help you take better photos of your pets, whether you wish to have a portrait painted based on a photo or you just want a nice photo of your pet for your own use, I've created the "Top Ten Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos".
1) Have a friend or family member, someone that your pet is comfortable with, help you take the photo. It may help to have someone hold your pet in place or to hold a treat or favorite toy over your head while you take the photo.
2) Get as close as possible to your pet. The more detail you capture the better your picture will be.
3) Make sure that your camera is on the highest quality setting.
4) Only use the flash if absolutely necessary. Just like some people have "red eye" in photos, some pets' eyes will "glow".
5) Pay attention to the lighting around your pet. Avoid taking photos in low light so that you don't have to use the flash.
6) Use a favorite toy, treat, or friend to help your pet look in the direction you want.
7) Take photos from many different angles. Sometimes extreme angles can create more interesting photos. Try shooting from above, below, and all sides of your pet.
8) If your pet is a dog, take him or her out for some exercise before taking the photo. This could get rid of extra energy making him or her more likely to listen to you. Also, sometimes when a dog is panting the corners of his or her mouth turn up creating a "smile".
9) Be sure that your pet is in a comfortable environment. Your pet will be on edge and not show it's true personality if it is unhappy or unsure of its surroundings.
10) Finally, take lots and lots of photos! The more photos you have, the more you have to choose from, therefore allowing for the creation of a pet portrait that really captures the spark of your pet's personality.