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What Photos Should I Submit?

Hi, Lauren Knight here, the artist behind Draw My Dog! Custom Pet Caricatures! One of the biggest hurdles in creating a successful pet portrait that really speaks to pet parents is making sure the portrait actually looks like the pet! Our easy online ordering system allows you to submit up to 5 photos of your pet to make sure I have lots of good reference. But if you're anything like me, you have about a million photos of your pets! So which ones should you submit?
A good reference photo can make the difference between an OK caricature and a GREAT caricature. Here's some tips on what kind of photo to submit to ensure the best likeness of your pet, starring Draw My Dog's own Bilbo the Pug!
Tip #1- Lighting is Everything!
In order to clearly see your pet's distinctive features and expressions, it's essential to chose a photo with good lighting. Try to avoid these photography pitfalls when choosing a photo to submit to Draw My Dog!
 Example of over-exposed lighting
Too bright
Avoid using photos that use flash! An over-exposed photo bleaches out features and makes everything very flat, making it difficult for the artist to see the shape and volume of forms. A flat, washed out photo may result in a flat, washed out caricature! 
Example of under-exposed submission photo
Too dark
Especially with dark-colored dogs, it's very hard to distinguish features when a photo is too dark. That means the artist has to try to guess what the subject looks like, which may mean the caricature may not really look like your pet!
Example of a backlit submission photo
Though it can make for a dramatic photo, lighting the subject from behind (i.e. a bright window or a sunset) drowns out the details of the face and makes it hard to see. Try to make sure your light source is in front of your pet rather than behind to avoid a silhouette effect.
Avoid Filters and Effects
While they look great on social media, filters and other effects change colors and lighting drastically in photos and make poor reference images.
So what makes good lighting?
We recommend photos taken with natural light or with a single light source, taken without flash and without any bright lights behind the subject. These photographs give the artist the most accurate idea of what shapes and colors define your pet's distinctive characteristics, and result in better, more accurate caricatures!
A photo reference of good lighting for your custom pet caricature!
Tip #2- Show off your pet's best features
The ideal photo to submit of your pet will not only have good lighting, but also capture their unique features. Their signature smile, that funny thing they do with their ears, they way they play with their favorite toy- all the things that make them special to you, their pet parent! Here are some ideas on what to aim for when choosing photos to submit for your custom pet caricature.
Avoid top-down views that hide your pet's body for reference photos!     Good reference photos are taken at eye-level and show your pet's body!
Get on their level!
While we spend most of our time looking down at our pets, getting a photo of them at eye-level makes for a much more intimate and personal image! Draw My Dog! Custom Pet Caricatures show your pet's full body, so submitting photos that show more than the top of their back will lead to better, more personalized portraits.
   Avoid taking reference photos too close to your pet's face to avoid distortion   Good reference photos can still be close enough to capture the details of your pet's face- just not too close!
Avoid the "Fish Eye"
When a photograph is taken too close to your pet's face, perspective becomes skewed and suddenly, your pet's nose is bigger than the rest of their head! While the artist may choose to emphasize your pet's features for comedic effect in their caricature, it's best to start with a photo that accurately shows their proportions. This will lead to a better likeness in your pet caricature!
Be Expressive!!!
Your pet has a BIG personality! When choosing photos, the most important consideration is whether an image showcases your pet's character-- even if the lighting or framing isn't perfect, be sure to submit photos that YOU LOVE!
Your pet has a BIG personality- choose photos that show their character, even if it's not perfect!  
But what if my Favorite Photo isn't a "Good Photo"?
Not to worry! Using our easy online ordering process, you can submit up to 5 photos of your pets, so if you have a favorite photo of your pet that really shows off their personality - but not so much their features- feel free to include it! In fact, we strongly encourage uploading multiple photos so the artist has many angles and expressions to work from. More photos = more information = better, more accurate portraits!
I hope that these guidelines help you choose the perfect photos to submit for your Custom Pet Caricature by Lauren Knight! I can't wait to draw your pet!