If you’ve owned a digital camera for a few years, you are probably like the rest of us, accumulating a ton of digital pictures (after editing, I still had over 200 from my week in Mexico), maybe emailing/sharing them online, occasionally printing a few, or making a coffee mug or a t-shirt once in a while. If you’re a little ahead of the curve, you’re probably starting to consider purchasing a digital picture frame this or next year. But at the end of the day, most of them are sitting on a hard drive, and if you’re smart about it, backed up in more than one location. I found one interesting new service that’ll let you take those pictures a little further than you’ve probably considered in the past, Brilliant Image. They take your digital pictures and turn them into pieces of art.
I was able to try out placing a sample order, and I’ll start by saying I’m quite happy with the results. As you’ll see by their online order form, there are quite a few different options, so you can have your own creative expression of what you want to make. While the form looks complex, it’s pretty straightforward. Step one – select a photo. I picked one of my wedding pictures – since our photographer was all-digital (which I can’t recommend highly enough), everything he took was extremely high quality, so I wanted to see what “the best” would look like. You can either upload the photo or mail it to them separately (you can even mail a printed picture if you want).
Step two – pick your style. I went with the “gallery wrap”. There are tons of options, depending on the size of what you want, including square, rectangular, or rounded options. Also, you can pick from a variety of different frames, all with different prices.
Step three – choose effects. For a small additional fee, they can retouch your photos, create collages or add effects. You can also go black&white or sepia for no extra charge.
Step four – place your order. The total fee for the option I selected would normally be about $75 plus shipping, although some options are much more expensive. For example, the 30″x40″ Mahogany Black with a High Res proof is over $450. But hey, it’s art, right?
Mine showed up about 10 days later, well-packaged (see the photo above). When I opened it, I was stunned by the effect. It really looked like someone had painted the picture! Maybe I am impressed too easily, maybe other folks are used to this, but it was extremely compelling in my opinion. Take a look at some of these pictures and the zoomed-in details I took. There’s the canvas, and there’s no pixelization whatsoever.
It’s definitely more expensive “photo printing” service than anything out there (although SmugMug most certainly comes close for reasons I still cannot fathom), but then again, these aren’t just glossy photos. This looks, feels and possibly tastes (didn’t really try that one) like art.
If you want to add a little class or a touch of art to your home, and you want to use your own photos to do it, I highly recommend Brilliant Image’s services. They were professional and easy to work with, and provided a product that was better than I was expecting. I did ask their recommendation for megapixels to make a photo “paintable” and they recommend 4MP for “most reasonably sized paintings” (more details here).
Whether for you or as a gift, they are most assuredly “LD Approved” and my painting is hanging on the wall as you walk into my apartment (you can see a few more pictures here). It consistently gets a “that’s cool” when friends visit.
UPDATE: They’re offering a little promo to LIVEdigitally readers, simply enter the code “LIVDIG” for 10% off your order!