Since I'm relying on you to provide me with good quality reference photos, it might be a good idea to let you know what works and what I'm looking for. What I need in your photo submissions can be summed up in one word: DETAILS.
The best way to get enough detail in your photos is to "shoot" with these four areas in mind:
Please make sure the pet is in focus. It gets pretty hard to guess what those details are when they are hazy and unfocused. I end up guessing and I'm a real bad guesser.
The pet should take up a large portion of the photo. I've had photos submitted in the past where it looked like the pet was in the next county. When the subject is small, so are the details; and the details are what I need to see.
Lots of pixels. Most smartphones take photos that are big enough to use, but if you've set your camera to take itty-bitty images (i.e. the file size of the photo is set low), so are the details. So if possible, please use the full-pixel capability of your camera.
Please! No flash photos (unless taken under professional lighting conditions) as. Use natural light whenever possible.
Bad Focus and Bad Lighting
This photo has a great pose, but the lighting and focus make it unusable. I would be hard pressed to find enough detail to create a decent portrait using this photo.
It should be pretty obvious that both these pooch's are waaaaaay too far away and small to use for a portrait.
Here is an image taken at a very low-pixel setting. At such a low setting, the details start blending together into mush.
Here is the same photo but taken at a higher pixel count. You can see the detail is much crisper and easier to define.
Because the light source is directly behind the subject, there is virtually no detail to be seen. Even though this photo was taken in natural light, because of the location of the light it made for a bad photo for a portrait reference. Try to place the light on the sides of the subject.