Have you ever wondered about getting one of your treasured photos turned into a real painting, but had no idea how to go about doing it? I recently stumbled across a really cool website that makes it super easy. Before finding this site I had NO idea that such a thing existed. I knew that some artists specialize in commissioned paintings, but never imagined there was a website out there with an entire team to make the process simple AND affordable. It’s called Paint Your Life, and in this post I’m going to take a look at the company and how they turn your photos into paintings.
What is Paint Your Life?
Paint Your Life was established in 2006, with the objective of offering hand-made custom paintings using customers’ photos. The company began with just a few artists and steadily grew based on the high demand for their work. In their own words, “The mission of the owners was and is, to make quality art available to everyone, a masterpiece of their own choosing at an affordable price.”
How Does it Work?
They make the process really easy, which is one of the reasons I like the site so much. You start by uploading your image onto their site. You can choose what type of painting you’d like (oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc.), which artist you’d like to paint it, and include any notes or special requests you may have regarding your photo. Once the artist is halfway done with the painting, they send you a photo so you can see how it is coming along. When it is finished, you are given another opportunity to either approve it or make further revisions. Once the painting has dried, it is framed (you can choose to order it framed or unframed) and shipped to you. Shipping is free, and they offer a 100% money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied.
What Sort of Paintings Can You Order?
Paint Your Life offers paintings in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. They also offer pastel drawings, as well as drawings in pencil and charcoal. You can order paintings of people, portraits of pets, or landscapes. Landscapes might include things such as houses or other buildings, vehicles, planes, boats, etc. They have a vast gallery of examples on their website so you can browse through those to get some ideas.
What is the Pricing Like?
The pricing structure is very straightforward, AND, as an artist I can tell you, surprisingly low. It is based on the medium (whether it’s an oil painting, a pencil drawing, etc), the subject matter, and the size. If it’s a portrait painting, the price goes up with each additional person in the photo. The same principle applies to pet portraits, and landscapes are in their own category. The final price will also depend on if you order the painting rolled, stretched onto gallery stretcher bars, or framed. You pay 20% at the beginning of the process and the remaining balance is paid after painting approval.
Prices start and $159 and go up from there. Here’s a partial look at their pricing chart:
How Long Does it Take?
The turnaround time depends on three factors. The medium, the size, and whether or not you order the express service. On the shortest end of the spectrum, a small pencil drawing using express service would take 10 days. On the longest end of the spectrum, a large oil painting using the regular service would take 29 days.
What are the Reviews Like?
Curious as to what people were saying about Paint Your Life, I did a Google search and ended up at a review website called Trust Pilot. The reviews there are outstanding. People seem to be genuinely excited about the work that they do and happy with the overall experience. They have a 9.5 out of 10 rating, from 144 reviews. There are very few bad reviews. I read through them all, and each negative review was responded to in a considerate way by a customer service representative at Paint Your Life. Also, almost all of the negative reviews have something to do with the fact that their painting took “almost a month” to arrive…
That is how long it is supposed to take, people. Good grief.
Under any other circumstances, a custom hand made painting would certainly take considerably longer than three weeks to a month to complete, even if it was the only order an artist was working on. And here we are talking about a company that has orders coming in by the truckloads. The fact that they’re able to complete all of their orders within a month is frankly quite shocking in an of itself. So the criticism of orders taking a month to arrive holds no merit for me. It’s actually more of an amazing accomplishment.
If you want a photo printed onto canvas, you can for sure have that done within a few days. But if you want to send a photo in to have a real live person sit and paint it from life, then I recommend you don’t have any unrealistic expectations about how long something like that will take.
Would I Personally Order From Paint Your Life?
Possibly. On the one hand, I’m a painter myself, so if I wanted to turn a photo into a painting I would probably just do it myself. On the other hand, I don’t do realistic portraits of people. Because they’re hard. Drawings of people? Sure. But paintings? Pass. There’s a high level of difficulty that goes along with that and it’s just something I never really got into. My style is a lot different than the style of the artists at Paint Your Life. Their work is very technical, representational, and straightforward. Mine is more loose and open to interpretation. There’s nothing wrong with either one. They’re just different things.
So while I probably wouldn’t order something for myself, if I wanted to give a realistic style portrait painting as a gift, I would consider using their services to save myself the time and trouble.
What I Like About Paint Your Life
- They allow you to choose the artist you want to paint your photo. I like this a lot because I think it gives you the best chance of being satisfied with the finished product. If you go to the “Paintings Gallery” section of their website, you can browse through many, MANY examples of previous work. If you see a painting you think is particularly well done, hover your cursor over it. You will see a link called “more paintings” that allows you to see more work by that artist. You can also view the original photo that it was painted from. When you decide on the artist you like the best overall, you can click on a button that says, “I want this artist to paint my photo!” I think this is important because every artist has strengths and weaknesses. Some specialize in pet portraiture, some in landscape, etc. This way you can choose the artist you feel will work best with your particular photo.
- They offer unlimited revisions and online proofing. When the artist is halfway done with the work, you are sent a proof, to which you can request changes. I think this is an important step and I like that they offer it because it can be really hard to imagine what a painted version of your photo is going to look like. This way, if there’s something about the way it’s coming along that you don’t like, you can get it changed. Say, for example, you’re getting a photo painted of a group of people and someone is wearing a shirt with distracting imagery. You can ask the artist to remove the element, or even have the person wear a different shirt altogether. Everything is custom done so you can get as specific as you want with your requests.
- They can combine images from multiple photos into one painting. Like you could do with Photoshop, the artists are able to take things from different photos and turn them into one, cohesive painting. They do this an no additional charge, amazingly. Just send in all of your photos with very detailed instructions. Similarly, they could colorize a black and white photo, or vice versa. This is where the online proofing would really come in handy, since something like this would be especially hard to visualize.
- They offer an artist consultation service. If you have multiple photos you are considering and are unsure which one will work the best, or you’re not sure what kind of painting you should order, or how you should order it (rolled, stretched, framed?) they have experts on their staff that will help you figure out all of these questions. Paint Your Life has been around for a while and I think they’ve figured out that this type of business model requires thorough and excellent customer service to be successful. Take advantage of that.
- They have a 100% money back guarantee, with no questions asked. Maybe you gave it a shot and it just didn’t work out. This is a possibility, and one that they are prepared for. Paint Your Life cares more about the satisfaction of their customers than losing a few sales here and there because that is what keeps their business going. It’s reassuring to know that you can try their service without having to lose a good chunk of change if you aren’t happy with the results.
Think you’d like to check out Paint Your Life for yourself? Here is a link to their website.
Have any of you ordered from Paint Your Life before? Or do you know someone who has? I’d love to hear about your experience!