5 Better Alternatives to Instapainting for Custom Art | Turn photo into painting

February 3, 2022

Instapainting is a well-known company to turn your photo into a painting. However, its negative reviews naturally cause people to ask - what are other alternatives that I can choose instead of Instapainting to get an artist to turn my photograph into a painting?

Our analysts surveyed more than 380 people and found the biggest perceived problems with Instapainting:

  • High middle-man fee
  • Confusing process
  • Overseas labor (artists), which may result in poor quality

If you are looking to get a real artist to turn a photograph of yours into a painting, here are 4 better Instapainting alternatives that you can check out:

Instapainting Alternative #1:

Similar to Instapainting, people can go to MadeMay to find and hire expert artists to turn their photos or pictures into a real painting on canvas. The best part is that it takes less than 2 minutes to get matched with an artist after answering a few simple questions about your request. Plus, MadeMay has a 0% artist fee so you are supporting trusted & independent artists.

Example of custom artwork and portrait paintings on MadeMay

Real example: a 16x20 painting at Instapainting starts at $138, but the same size is only $115 for some artists on MadeMay. 

Instapainting Alternative #2:

There are lots of independent artists who list their commissioned artwork services on Etsy, one of the most popular marketplaces in the market today. Although finding the right artist can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack, getting the right one is an affordable way to get a custom portrait painting made for you. Plus, Etsy offers great guarantees, including buyer protection in case something goes wrong.

Example of finding an artist to turn your photograph into a painting on Etsy

Instapainting Alternative #3:

Founded in 2000, DeviantArt is one of the oldest communities filled with artists that you can hire or ask to have your picture turned into a painting. With over 61 million registered artists, there is an abundant supply to get access to the right type of artist you need for your custom art request.

You can categorize your art request by digital art, game art, fantasy, anime and magna, and more and message artists directly for quotes.

Example of different custom art categories on DeviantArt

Instapainting Alternative #4: Googling for independent artists (personal websites)

Instead of using 3rd party marketplaces, you can also commission or hire a professional artist simply by Googling for certain search terms, such as the following examples below.

When you do this, you are essentially directly accessing an artist's personal website (if they have one) to get in touch. Since each website is different, you will need to do a little bit of research to get the pricing and timeline information right.

Examples of Google searches to hire an artist to turn your photo into a painting:

  • Google search: portrait artist near me
  • Google search: custom portrait painting by independent artist
  • Google search: commission a landscape artist
  • Google search: hire an artist for custom artwork

Instapainting Alternative #5: PortraitFlip

PortraitFlip have helped thousands frame their memories with handmade paintings. With PortraitFlip, you can get a picture-perfect portrait made on-demand from one or multiple photos. They have helped people create paintings from photos that were almost impossible to be captured in reality. From the PortraitFlip team: "Art is a funny thing -it merges realities with dreams, and with our mighty artists and designers, we help you shape your dreams into a portrait. When you commission artwork with us, you don’t just commission an artist, you also empower and uplift the artist community around the world."

Custom portrait painting from PortraitFlip