Stop taking pictures and start taking works of art with CanvasPop!

If Yogi Berra were to assess today's use of cameras he might say: "Nobody takes photographs anymore... they're too busy taking pictures."  If you're like me, you have thousands of digital pictures stored on hard drives and online galleries but only print a tiny fraction of them.  Once in a while we'll find "a keeper" and enlarge it to 11"x14" and frame it, but by and large, photos stay on the computer and maybe a digital photo frame.

With this in mind, I tried something new. CanvasPop is an easy-to-use service that accepts digital photos and turns them into works of art.  You can select from a wide assortment of sizes and finishing options.  Available effects are Comic Book, Color Sketch, Pop Art, Sepia, Vintage, Black & White, Lomo, Color Isolate and Oil Painting.

Since the result is delivered on canvas on a wooden frame, I went with 'Oil Painting' to complete the effect.  The result looks like it was painted, complete with drips and drabs, so you should decide if you want something photorealistic or more impressionistic.

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Oil Canvas effect

The photo you submit doesn't necessarily have to be a 10 megapixel high resolution image, especially if you're going to use one of their special effects. The 5 megapixel camera in the new iPhone 4 should do the trick, and that's what I used.

Oil Canvas closeup

They have real live, friendly and patient human beings, who can adjust your photo just so.  They call it "HumanPowered(TM)" customer care... what a concept!  CanvasPop provides digital proofs so you can approve or reject the image online.  They even let me swap out a different photo altogether when it looked like the canvas wrap option I had selected would have cut off a part of the subject.  CanvasPop has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime guarantee against cracking, fading or bubbling.

There are a lot of pricing options, starting at $30 for 8"x10" unframed so you don't have to break the bank to create your own masterpiece, but you can get a really nice 20"x30" heirloom for $100 to $150.

I would like to see an iPhone app that lets you upload directly to their service, and the company tells me that might be an integration opportunity for some of the camera apps that are out there already.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.