If you can see every hair, you can draw every hair.
Without a high quality reference photo, it is impossible to get a detailed realistic drawing.
There are a few things you can do to help get the perfect picture to draw from.
Natural light is best. If you can, take your photo outside. It will help with the natural colour of the fur and eyes. If you are inside, choose a bright room. Avoid using a flash as this can distort the colours in the coat and the eyes.
Get down to your pet's level. This may mean sitting or even lying on the floor. This angle creates a much better photo and therefore drawing.
Eyes - Having the eyes in focus is a very important. This means you need to try and keep the subject still whilst photographing it.
Fur - Being able to see which direction the hair goes means the portrait can be more detailed and therefore realistic. If I can see every hair, I can draw every hair.
The subject ideally needs to fill the photo. Too far away and you won't be able to see the details, too close and the subject won't fit in the frame.
Here are some examples of reference photos.
The photo on the left would not be good to use as the details are not at all clear. The flash has discoloured the eyes and the dog is fairly small within the photo. The angle does not make a good picture.
The photo on the right is better. The puppy is in a natural light, keeping the coat and eye colour true. He takes up a good portion of the photo, which has been taken from a low level, sitting or lying on the floor.
When creating a memorial portraits, I fully understand that it's not possible to go out and take that perfect photo. When this is the case, I am more than happy to work with you, going through any possible photos to pick the one that would make the best portrait. This does mean that the final portrait may not be as detailed.
Here to Help
If after reading all this, you still aren't sure on the perfect photo, then I am here to help! All you need to do is drop me a message with how you need help. Send through as many photos as you like, I am here to create your perfect portrait and I want to make it as easy as possible for you.