How to turn a favorite memory into a family heirloom

As a new mom, I tried Paint Your Life to capture this precious time with my baby.

Paint Your Life
(Image credit: Paint Your Life)

As a new mom, I'm constantly reminded by other parents to savor this special time, since it will go quickly. (And as my baby approaches the two-month mark, I can attest to the truth of this.) Of course, my iPhone is jam-packed of snapshots of my little one, but I was craving something with a more professional hand. Due to the virus, I didn't feel comfortable working with a photographer for a newborn photo shoot.

Enter: Paint Your Life (opens in new tab). This unique service turns your family photos into masterpieces using professional artists. You can capture a moment, transform a bad picture into a beautiful work of art, or even depict people together who never met. I decided to give Paint Your Life a try to preserve this precious phase. Here's how it went. 

Choosing a Photo and Medium

Pricing of your artwork varies by the size of your painting and how many subjects (human, feline, or canine) it depicts. Of course, choosing a favorite photo is no easy task. At first, I was tempted to select a shot of my husband and I with our child, but with three subjects, we would have to pick a large size to get enough detail. (One-person size options start at 8 x 10, three-persons start at 16 x 20.) 

To get the most out of my budget as well as optimal detail in the artwork, I selected a photo I took of just my baby in her diaper — so the focus would really be on her face. When choosing a photo, don't worry about finding one that's perfect. You can ask your artist to colorize, remove aging/fading, or clean up any imperfections. You can also create a painting from multiple individual photos, like with family members who have passed away.

Once you've made up your mind (after going back and forth about 5,000 times, if you're like me), it's time to order...I selected "child" as the theme—other options include couple, grandparents and child, multi generations, pets, etc. Next up, pick your medium. 

Despite the name, you aren't limited to just paint! Paint Your Life lets you chose from oil, charcoal, watercolor, black pencil, color pencil, pastel, or acrylic. I really liked the luxurious, timeless feel of oil (the site's most popular option). 

Selecting Your Artist

From there, you can browse Paint Your Life's galleries to select an artist you like. Or, you can check "let us choose the best artist for your order." I opted for the latter, since Paint Your Life will know who is best for baby portraits.

There are other choices as well, like if you'd like to let the artist choose your background, if you'd prefer a solid background, or if you want the original background. My photo was taken on a simple swaddle, and I decided to keep the original background. 

If you aren't sure, don't fret. You only pay a small deposit when placing your order, so you don't have to commit entirely. You will also get a digital proof before the artist starts painting. There's also a place to leave comments for your artist when uploading the photo(s). I made a note to remove some clutter from my background. 

Final Steps

Finally, it's time to pick a size. I went with 16 x 20 horizontal with the perfect spot in mind in my living room. I finalized my order with the promise it would be ready in just a few weeks! You simply pay the deposit for the artist to get to work, and other options like framing come later. 

That's it! Once your order is submitted, you'll receive a confirmation email and a temporary password. Your artist will be in touch soon to create your masterpiece.  

Ann Loynd Burton

After serving as an editor for luxury publications for nearly a decade, Ann Loynd Burton struck out on her own as a freelance writer covering design and lifestyle. Along with her work highlighting decor trends for Real Homes, Loynd Burton has covered interiors for such publications as Apartment TherapyAspireCottages & Gardens, and Galerie