FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
What exactly is an etching?
Etching is a form of intaglio printmaking that involves engraving an image onto a plate and then using it to print an image. There are various ways to create these engravings – I use the ‘drypoint’ method, using a needle-like tool to draw each image onto an etching plate. This allows me to capture even tiny details, such as fur texture and whiskers.
I then coat the plate with environmentally-friendly ink – the sunken lines created by the engraving hold the ink while the rest is wiped away. The plate is then placed against paper and passed through a printing press with great pressure to transfer the ink from the recessed lines, and voila! The print is almost finished…
I like to go one step further with my portraits. Once dried, I hand-finish the etching to create additional tone and detail, making each piece completely one-of-a-kind.
How do I choose a photo for my etching?
The basis of every etching is a reference photo. The better the photo, the better your portrait will be, so it’s important to choose a photo that works. When it comes to choosing a photo, there are a few things to consider:
- The photo should be in focus and your pet’s face should be clear
- Your pet should stand out clearly from the background of the image
- Your pet should be evenly lit (no blown out highlights or blocks of heavy shadow)
- Make sure that your pet’s ears (and any other body parts that you’d like to include) are clearly within the frame, and haven’t been cut off
- Make sure it’s a pose and expression that you like
With this in mind, you have a few options:
- Choose from an existing photo – simply choose a few of your favourites (using the guidelines mentioned above) and send them to me. Together we’ll choose one that will work best for your portrait.
- Take a new photo – if you have a camera or smartphone, you might want to try and take a new photo for your portrait. Check out my top tips for taking better pet photos with your phone.
- Hire a professional photographer – professional photographs make perfect reference photos! I offer pet photography services in Northamptonshire and I’m also part of a network of professional photographers across the country if you live further afield.
Please note: If you want to use a photo taken by somebody else e.g. a professional photographer, please make sure you have permission from them first.
If you’re unsure whether a photo is usable, feel free to send it to me – some images can be tweaked and adjusted. You can even send me a few different images, and together we’ll choose the best one for your portrait.
Can I use a photo from my phone?
Generally speaking, yes. Most smartphones these days are capable of taking very good photos!
As long as your photo is well exposed (not too bright or too dark) and in focus, it should be fine. You’ll also want to make sure that your photo is taken from a flattering angle, at a similar level to your pet.
Take a look at my top tips for taking pet photos for more adivce on taking better photos with your phone. You can always send a few photos to me to check if you’re unsure.
Can you take a photo for me?
With over 7 years’ experience as a professional pet photographer, I am more than happy to offer my services to help you capture a great reference photo.
If you’re local to Northamptonshire then I can visit your home or a local park/woodland for a quick photo session. The session shouldn’t take longer than 30 mins-1 hour and I’ll take a variety of photos for you to choose from to form the basis of your etching.
The fee for a photo session is £50. You’ll be given access to an online gallery to view the photos from the session and choose your favourite to be used as a reference. Prints and digital files are not included.
If you live further afield, you’re welcome to travel to Northampton for a photo session with me. Alternatively I am part of a wonderful nationwide pet photography community, and will happily recommend a professional in your area.
Can you include more than one pet in a portrait?
The short answer is yes! Although it depends on how many pets you’d like to include, and the reference photos you have available. It might be that we need to come up with a custom layout for your portrait, or create a collage of multiple prints. If you’re interested in commissioning a portrait of multiple pets, please drop me an email and we can talk through your options.
Can you add my pet’s ashes to the etching?
Absolutely. If your pet has passed away and you would like to create a special memorial portrait, I can incorporate a small amount of their ashes into the etching. Once you’ve ordered your portrait, I will send you an ash collection kit. Simply follow the instructions and post it back to me. I only need a tiny amount of ash, and will return any that is left over once your portrait is complete.
How much does an etching cost?
Etching start at £150 for a single pet portrait. Optional extras include:
- Ashes – incorporate your pet’s ashes into your portrait – £25
- Gold leaf – add gold leaf detailing to the background – £25
- Framing – frame your portrait so it’s ready to hang – £50
How big will my portrait be?
The standard artwork area of each etching is 7″x5″ – this is then mounted in a 12″x10″ mount (to fit a 12″x10″ frame).
Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes! If you’re looking for a gift for a friend or loved one, I offer gift certificates that can be gift-wrapped and posted, or sent via email if time is of the essence.
Can I order additional prints?
Yes, you can! The beauty of etching is that I can create multiple prints of the same image – perfect if you’d like an additional print as a gift. Duplicate prints cost half the price of the original.
Please note: Even though duplicates are printed from the same etching plate, the prints are finished by hand, so there will still be some slight variations in tone and texture. They may be duplicates, but they’re still beautifully unique!
Can you frame my etching?
Yes, I can! I offer a full framing service with a range of frame styles to choose from. No need to worry about finding your own frame to fit your artwork – your portrait will arrive finished and ready to hang straight on your wall.
Do you ship overseas?
I currently offer free delivery within the UK. There is an additional shipping fee if you live outside the UK, or want to send an etching as a gift to someone overseas. Please get in touch and we can talk about the best way to deliver your artwork.