Articles

3 ways to get a photo turned into a painting

September 19, 2021

There are 3 ways to get any photo, picture, or image turned into a painting.

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Photo into a real oil painting


Why would someone want to have their picture painted in the first place? There are 3 main reasons:

  1. Experience a favorite photo in a new medium. For example, getting a wedding photo turned into a piece of art to give as an anniversary gift.
  2. Modify an existing photo. For example, requesting angel wings on a lost loved one as a way to remember & commemorate them.
  3. Enjoy the art of customization and simply have fun with custom artwork.


No matter your reason, you have several options - each with their distinctive purpose - to have a picture of someone (or something) painted and turned into a beautiful piece of art.


Option 1 to turn a photo into a painting - hiring a real artist

The first option is the most popular and has been around the longest - contacting an artist and providing them a photo to turn into a painting. 


Hiring an artist to create a piece of artwork is known as “commissioning an artist”, which has been practiced for centuries and centuries. Did you know that the famous “Last Supper” painting by Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by the Duke of Milan in 1495? 


In fact, you have probably seen street artists set up chairs and paint their seated subjects in front of them, in real time.


However, nowadays, you don’t need to wander the streets or go knocking on shops to find a talented artist - you can find & hire them online at places like MadeMay, Etsy, and Reddit Gets Drawn.


When choosing an artist, be sure to look at previous examples of their work so you can choose the art style you like best.

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Portrait painting from a photo


Since each painting is handmade from scratch, be sure to commission an artist well-in-advance as it may take several weeks for the artwork to arrive at your doorstep. For digital art requests, the process is much quicker, usually 1-2 days.


As long as you have a photo (or photos), you can hire a real professional artist to turn your photo into a painting. Plus, you can describe what you envision your soon-to-be masterpiece looking like if there is something in particular you are going for. Here is an incredible example of the power of customization from a real customer:



Option 2 to turn a photo into a painting - using an online app

In recent years, lots of apps have emerged that automatically generate a painting from your photo. Of course, these are simply filters with digital effects and there is no real art being “made”.


Since they are computerized renditions, the process is nearly instant - upload a photo and you can download the filtered painting. There are some unique options, such as getting your photo into an 18th century style portrait. To get the best result, upload a selfie with your passport-like photo (No eye glasses and your face should be prominent).

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Free digital apps to turn photo into painting


If you are looking to turn your photo into a painting quick & instant, platforms like BeFunky and AIPortrait are great choices.


Option 3 to turn a photo into a painting - painting it yourself

That’s right, we believe in you! What’s that? Oh, you failed art class? Don’t stress out just yet, you can still create a painting of your photo with some assisted help - painting by numbers.


Paint a photo via paint by numbers


Similar to the apps described in the option above, there are platforms that allow you to upload a photo and will produce a digitized “blank” canvas with lines and numbers. Along with this canvas, a painting kit with brushes will be sent to you so you can fill in the numbers with the corresponding color. Little by little, you will start watching your photo come to life in a painting.


Have questions or are you looking for something not described here? Contact us and our team can help!


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Articles written by MadeMay's staff and community of over 500+  expert artists and creators.
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