I have been thinking the last week about how much some of my friends and acquaintances love their pets, but they do not have any good images of these pets, just cell shots. One of my teaching friends lost her cat recently. The cat was old and the time had come, but that does not make it any easier. I wanted to do something for her to help her in this time of loss and as a thank you for the support she has given me since I have started this business of pet photography.
Mt friend had mentioned in passing a few times that she would love to get photos done of her cats, but it had not happened. Now it was too late. I asked her to send me the best photo she had of this cat that had died because I thought I could at least do a painting for her. What she sent was a cute photo, but it was a low quality (small sized) cell phone snap. It was the kind of photo I am sure we all have where we are walking through a room or sitting in our favorite chair and we look at our pet and think how adorable they look and we snap a photo.
These are the types of photos I had of my previous dog, and I didn’t think much about it until he passed. As I mourned the loss of my precious companion, I found myself wanting to print and frame some photos. I did print some, and I do cherish them, but they aren’t the quality I can do now and the printing was done at a local lab and they aren’t great. He deserved much better, and thus was born one of the reasons I bought myself a good camera and took courses to learn how to use it well. I think we all can forget to invest in things we cherish and not realize it until later.
I took my friend’s photo and used the tools I have to make it bigger, but I couldn’t make the quality better. I did get it enough better that I could use it to create a digital painting. For the digital paintings that I do, a photo is the starting point, but much can change in the process of creating the final piece. In the original photo, the cat is lying on the floor looking up. This is a common way we see out pets, but it is not always the most interesting point of view. Also, the rug in the background has similar colors to the cat in some areas, making the edges of the cat hard to distinguish at times. These things do not lend themselves to the best composition. I decided to change the position of the cat from laying down to standing and to supply a new backdrop. I chose to give the painting a feeling that the cat was walking through clouds with the body veiled by mist. The cat looks serious and strong and healthy. I hope I have created something that will help her to cherish and remember all the best things about her cat.
Do not wait until your pets are gone to get good pictures or paintings of your pets. They give us so much and we often don’t realize how much until we feel that giant hole in our heart when they are gone. We spend money on portraits of other members of our family. Why don’t we spend it on our pets?
Link to my story about my dog and his influence on my decision to start a pet photography business: https://stephaniesabourinphotography.com/2019/05/14/creating-memories-before-it-is-too-late/