Features and Specifications
- Printed on museum-grade fine art paper
- Portraits come in three sizes: 8 x 10," 12 x 16" and 18 x 24"
- Portrait frames come in black and white
- 3 fonts to choose from
- Printed locally with fast dispatch
- Phone cases are REACh, RoHS and TUVRheinland certified
- There are limitations on the images they can work with
For this review, we ordered a framed horse portrait and a phone case. We sent in the same photo for each product: a close-up of a paint mare named Splash whose head and neck are quite dark.
The company was wonderful to deal with. They’re cheerful and quick to respond to questions. The process was also incredibly easy. You just choose the product you want (plus your make of phone for the phone case). Select the background colour and font you’d like, enter the name of your pet, upload your image and you’re good to go.
The portrait technique they use for their prints and cases gets the realistic details of the photo across, but also renders the photo so that the end result looks a bit like stylized brushwork.
It’s often not easy to pull details from a photo of a dark-coloured animal, but the image they created manages to give some real contours and textures to her features.
We were impressed with how much of her expression they were able to capture. It’s not just that the portrait is accurate—it is—but that her eye looks alive and her face looks like she’s paused to consider something.
The paper is high-quality and has a nice weight to it. We could see it holding up well even without the frame. The frame itself is an 8 x 12 in black wood. It’s very simple (it’s not, after all, the star of this show), and it seems well-made and easy to hang. The glaze is made of plastic instead of glass. The plastic arrived with a peel-off protective coating on each side to prevent damage, so there wasn’t a mark on it.
There are two options for background colours for portraits: off-white and charcoal. We chose the off-white option and paired it with a simple, sans-serif font. The effect is really lovely with a dark and white horse. We did think it might be fun to have some other backgrounds available to highlight our many-coloured animal friends, though.
The custom phone case has a wider range of options, and comes in 6 background colours. We chose an off-white that set off the darker horse beautifully. The image was nicely sized and centered and the edge to edge matte printing is lovely.
The case itself looks durable and well-made. Paint My Pooch’s website states that the tough cases (which we received) are made with a dual layer of silicone for shock absorption. As riders, this is something we deeply appreciated because we’re confident we’re going to drop this phone, probably from the top of the horse featured on it, and it’s nice to have the peace of mind that it won’t shatter.
In terms of functionality, the case fits the phone perfectly, and it’s easy to still get at the buttons that need getting at.
A Few Negatives
There were really only two things we wished had been different. The first is that the portrait came separately from the frame. It was very easy to put together, and looked great when it was assembled, but we felt like if we wanted to send it as a gift, it would look more polished if it was ready to hang right out of the box.
Update: The company has told us that they've since changed their framing supplier, and that the portraits now come framed, which we were happy to hear.
The second thing we’d love to see improved is the selection of photos they’re able to work with. The image guidelines specify that the photo should ideally be a close-up of the pet, at eye level, against a light background.
We had one photo that we loved that we weren’t able to use because it was too dark. And we could easily see other instances where people might not be able to meet those guidelines. Those who are giving a portrait as a gift and have a limited number of images to pick from, or those who want a portrait of a pet who’s passed on and have a certain photo in mind, might have a harder time using this service.
What Others Are Saying
Many reviewers had given the items as a gift, and said the gifts were really well received. More than a few said that they liked how the gift portrait had turned out so much that they ended up ordering a portrait themselves.
Some people (besides us) mentioned that they wished the portrait had come framed. Others found the price a bit steep. One person mentioned that since the name of the company is on the shipping label, it’s easy to tell what’s in the box. They thought more discreet packaging would be helpful for those sending the portrait as a gift.
Aside from those few negative comments, reviews of the portraits are overwhelmingly positive. The quality of the products was frequently praised, as well as the quick turnaround and great customer service people experienced.
The Bottom Line
This is a neat option for a gift, whether that gift is for someone else or for yourself. If you have a pet you’d like to memorialize, or just like to have lots of pics of your animal friends, Paint My Pooch produces unique images that are well-made, true to life and enjoyable to have around.
Written by Anne Elliot
Image credits: Paint My Pooch