Oil Painting Your Photo: Go from Picture to Paint with Paint Your Life (Review)

There’s something thrilling about having your digital photo turned into an oil painting. Perhaps it’s because photos feel so disposable these days since we take so many using our phones. Or maybe it’s because paintings of oneself seem prestigious somehow. Whatever the reason, portrait paintings — made by going from photo to painting — can be an awesome addition to any home (or office) decor as I recently found out when I tried out a service called Paint Your Life.

This wasn’t the first time I’d used a “paint my photo” service: I once had a California dock painted by another company that turned out great — unfortunately that company recently told me business wasn’t so hot lately. So I went looking for some alternatives and bumped into Paint Your Life on Google.

The sample artwork shown on the homepage looked very promising and there were some service options that made a lot of sense: a money back guarantee, unlimited revisions, online proofing, free shipping and reasonable pricing. When I saw all of this and found that a large portrait could be had for under $300 I was intrigued.

The checkout process — along with the revision and proofing process — was excellent! Better than I would’ve imagined, actually.

During checkout I had the opportunity to provide notes to the artist, I was able to choose a frame type and size and was able to make any changes I might have wanted to before checking out.

The very same day I placed my order (within a few hours, actually), the artist assigned to my account sent me an edited version of the photo I submitted to be painted asking for approval. They wanted to crop the picture in quite a bit and I asked them to retain the entire portrait background, which they did.

A few weeks later my painting arrived in the mail and, as I unwrapped it, a smile came across my face. There I was — on the DailyTekk video set — in oil on canvas. Cool!

I ordered the largest framed painting that could easily be shipped by Paint Your Life: a 24”x36” canvas. The painting arrived well-packed and undamaged (frame and all).

As I’m writing this here paragraph I’m staring at myself staring back at me (in other words I’m looking at the painting) and I’m impressed with the attention paid to detail. Behind me in the photo are a TV, lots of art (in both digital and physical formats on screens and canvasses), some background lighting, some text and a wooden table. It’s a busy background to be sure but Paint Your Life tackled it without complaint (the previous company I mentioned earlier actually wanted me to use a different picture than the one I submitted so I was happy there wasn’t a similar issue here).

Examining things a littler deeper, I am impressed with the texture shown on my shirt and on the wooden table. Even the rather small emblem on my shirt looks great! The colors and gradients are smooth and pretty darn accurate. Details like a cord plugged into a light were not overlooked.

I can’t say that the portrait I received looks photorealistic, but I can say that it looks really nice. The more I look at it the happier I am with it. That said, if I’m going to be really picky (as a reviewer must) I have to say that the image of my face looks very close to my face but perhaps isn’t an exact replica. It’s clearly me, but something looks ever so slightly different (and what that something is I can’t even nail down — that’s how insignificant it is).

Below is a split image: half is the original photo I submitted and half is the painting.

In terms of quality and accuracy, my verdict is this: the artist did an excellent job recreating a extraordinarily complex scene and I am very happy with the results. I’d certainly have no reservations about recommending Paint Your Life to a friend or family member.

Sometimes I am a narcissist (as we all are, at times) and I’m going to love showing this off to people. I will happily hang it in a prominent place — probably in the office — and will remember how much I love my job every time I see it (I get to make movies about the latest, funnest tech products for a living?!).

If you’re less of a narcissist than I, I think sending someone you know a painting of themselves (your parents, some friends) would make an awesome gift. And a family portrait converted to a painting is a great way to memorialize a great memory.

I spend a lot of my time talking about what technology people might want to add to their lives but there are certain cases, like this, when it makes a lot of sense to go in reverse and take away the technological aspect of something digital and transform it into something a bit more old school like a physical painting.

Now, which app had that digital leveling tool in it?