Matt Payne Photography Blog: What Is Fine Art America?

March 6, 2022

Fine Art America: What It Is and Isn't

As a solo small business owner, it is sometimes hard to compete against giants like Amazon and Fine Art America (FAA) when it comes to selling fine art prints, art décor, and wall art. Fine Art America is what is known as a print on demand online store and art marketplace representing "hundreds of thousands" of artists while making millions and millions of cheap art prints for sale. Fine Art America seems like a great choice for artists because the artist does not play any role in the fulfillment of the order; however, that is a terrible business decision for artists and results in exceptionally bad products for the consumer. FAA makes prints of artists' work onto a variety of gimmicky products, like these eco-friendly PVC Yoga mats, most of which are of very low quality and manufactured using the cheapest materials. While this may seem great for artists, it objectively makes fine art look bad and is a poor choice for you, the consumer.

A hillside of yellow and gold aspen trees near Aspen, Colorado featuring a snow capped Capitol Peak after a clearing storm in the Elk Mountains of Colorado.

A spectacular Colorado fall color scene featuring 14er Capitol Peak.

An Alternative to Fine Art America

The number one problem in choosing a print on demand option like Fine Art America is that the art is of low quality using cheap materials where the artist has no say in the finished product. This is the opposite of "fine art" where the artist is directly involved in the creation of the prints and where the materials are chosen directly by the artist themselves. Additionally, in the case of fine art photography prints, what differentiates a cheap print from a fine art print, aside from the hand-crafted materials, is the fact that the artist works directly with the buyer to ensure that the final results meet the specifications of the artist and the demands of the consumer / buyer. Lastly, a look at the Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of fine art helps us even further here. It defines fine art as: "art requiring fine skill that is concerned primarily with the creation of beautiful objects." I would not call printing photos onto cheap bath towels "fine art" - would you?

A magical wind storm blows sand at some beautiful dunes in Death Valley National Park.

Completely transform your home or office décor with a fine art print from Matt Payne. You can order a print of "Maelstrom" from his Death Valley National Park collection today. Work directly with an artist who actually cares about the end results of your fine art.

Fine Art America Reviews

I am sure that there are a few folks that have made purchases through Fine Art America that have been happy with their purchases; however, a quick scan of their reviews on Trustpilot reveals that there are common gaps between what the buyer thought they were getting versus what they actually received, for example:

"The fact that they use highly reflective glass was awful. I can’t put the lights on in my room without it reflecting in the glass or when the sun comes through my window, it’s all reflected in the glass. Even at Michael’s or Aarons Bros. framing they offer you nonreflective glass as an option..."

As a fine art photographer who takes pride in the end results of my work, the finished print, as well as my reputation with you, my customer, I am very transparent about the different photo art mediums I offer to you, laying out the pros and cons of each. A common problem with framed photo prints is that they reflect a great deal of light, as the above reviewer found out after wasting a lot of their hard-earned money. This is why my best print offering uses a high quality acrylic material known as TruLife, which blocks 99% of UV radiation, offers scratch resistance, and reduces glare significantly. While choosing to use this cuts deeply into my profits, I find it to be worth it for you, the buyer of my fine art prints. Testimonials from my fine art buyers offers proof that when the artist stays directly involved in the print process, the results will be exceptional.

A Colorado mountain fall color panoramic scene.
An epic Colorado autumn mountain scene showcases yellow aspen trees, fourteen-thousand foot peaks, and a dramatic fall storm. Order a fine art print of this unique and breathtaking Colorado landscape photograph, which is part of Matt Payne's Colorado collection, today.

Are Prints from Fine Art America Good?

Look, I have many photographer friends who use Fine Art America as their fulfillment vendor to sell prints - many of whom have great success in doing so. I highly respect those photographers and I am sure that at least a few of their buyers are happy with the end product they received; however, I am personally not able to give up quality control over my fine art prints, which is why I work directly with my print lab on every single order to ensure that the highest quality standards are met - to my specifications - for customer satisfaction. When I make a mistake with one of my prints, my lab helps me fix it so that the highest quality results are achieved. Additionally, I'm supporting another small local American business in the process as opposed to one of the many overseas factories that Fine Art America uses to create their products. Lastly, I happily work directly with you, my buyer, to ensure that the work you purchase meets your design needs.

A single vibrant aspen leaf on a wet wood log in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in fall.

A single fallen aspen leaf on textured wood makes for an excellent fine art addition to your home. Buy a print of this masterpiece nature photo for your home today - or another incredible Colorado fall color print from Matt Payne.

Where Can I Buy High Quality Fine Art Prints?

It is my opinion that you should buy landscape and nature photography art prints directly from artists' websites. Artists that sell through their websites directly have the most attention to detail, a focus on customer satisfaction, and have put in the work and meticulous research to ensure that you, the buyer, get a high quality hand-made product that is made to last. Additionally, you'll want to pay close attention to the level of experience the photographer has in making prints and see if they have any genuine reviews of their artwork on their website. While I think you should purchase fine art prints from one of the best Colorado Nature and Landscape photographers, I believe that a high tide raises all boats, so I'm not afraid to offer you some vetted alternatives if you don't particularly care for my artwork (that's totally OK). I can highly recommend the following photographers to you as also being known to sell high-end fine art prints:


Jack Brauer
, Kane Engelbert, Jennifer Renwick, TJ Thorne, Aaron Reed, Scott Smorra,
and Max Foster.

I would much rather you bought a print from one of these excellent photographers than from Fine Art America.

Colorado autumn fall color foliage including aspen trees and dramatic clouds from the San Juan Mountains.

This unique and colorful fine art print featuring Colorado fall color, aspen trees, vibrant sunrise clouds, and beautiful Colorado mountains is one of many incredible pieces of art you can buy from Matt Payne's Fall Color collection.

Should Photographers Sell Prints on Fine Art America?

As I said, many photographers I am friends with sell their artwork on Fine Art American; however, I am not aware of a single one of them that makes a living doing it and most of them have been lukewarm about the arrangement. Typically the response I get when I ask them how they like working with FAA is, "it's OK." I don't think you will find selling your photography art on Fine Art America satisfying if you value ensuring that the final product meets your high quality standards or if you want to make a living selling your fine art prints as a photographer. While the convenience of just uploading your artwork to Fine Art America and letting them do all the hard work may sound appealing, a little research will prove that they charge higher than they should for very cheap products while forcing the photographer to set their prices above and beyond the already high price to make any profit. Lastly, since FAA represents hundreds of thousands of photographers and sells millions of products, it seems unlikely that your work will be seen or noticed by your target customer base. How we create our art is what differentiates us in an already crowded marketplace for fine art landscape photography prints - so why not take full control of that process?

Red Mountain near Red Mountain Pass, reflected in a high mountain lake near Silverton, Colorado at sunrise in the San Juan Mountains.
Bring calming and relaxing views of Colorado's high mountains into your home and experience the scientifically-proven benefits to your health and well-being by owning and displaying a fine art print from Matt Payne.

What Alternatives are there to Fine Art America for Photographers?

If you want full control over how your fine art prints are sold, created, and shipped to your customer, there are a few options other than FAA that you can look into. While marketplaces like Saatchi Art, YellowKorner, and Lumas Photo Art are reputable alternatives to Fine Art America, I highly encourage photographers to put in the necessary hard work to create, maintain, and update a fine art print website. Countless options exist, but the most popular seem to be WideRange Galleries, Art Storefronts, Smugmug, Photoshelter, Zenfolio, or a do-it-yourself style using Wix or Squarespace. Out of all of these, if you are like me and want full control over the entire ordering process for your customers, there are only a few of these options that make any sense - with WideRange Galleries being at the top of the list, followed by Photoshelter and then a Wix / Squarespace site. Art Storefronts, Smugmug, and Zenfolio all take commissions from every sale and neither Art Storefronts nor Smugmug allow for self-fulfillment - this is very bad. It means you have no control over the end result of your fine art photography prints and your customer gets to find out in a surprise if its any good. Also, take it from me on this one but Zenfolio is just plain terrible - I used them for 7 years!

If you are a serious photographer that wants to sell fine art prints, your first stop should be to contact Jack Brauer from WideRange Galleries, and let him know that Matt Payne sent you. You can also take a look at my landscape photography website comparison table below for more information.

Photography website comparison table - WideRange Galleries, Art Storefronts, Smugmug, Photoshelter, and Zenfolio compared
Photography website comparisons for selling photography prints.

How Much Should Photography Prints Cost?

Obviously this is a personal question for every artist; however, my belief is that art should be made available to everyone, not just people that own luxury yachts and private jets! While I would love to sell my work and make it so that anyone on Earth can afford it, I can't bring myself to skimp on quality; but, I have found some ways to offer my fine art nature and landscape photography prints in a variety of mediums to provide options for almost every budget. When pricing landscape photography artwork, a number of factors should be considered, including the cost of our equipment (my camera alone cost over $4,000), our website, insurance for our business and gear, our vehicles, travel expenses, and most importantly our knowledge and expertise and other factors that differentiate us as artists. For me personally, I think the fact that my artwork was created while climbing the highest mountains in Colorado significantly differentiates my work and I should be compensated well for that. After this, the raw cost of materials should be factored in. If you have been doing your math up to this point you may begin to realize that high quality art should cost significantly more than the cheap prints made by Fine Art America. Lastly, it is hard to put a price on customer service and personalized dedication to ensuring that the end fine art print is made to a high standard.

Yellow paintbrush wildflowers found at 13,000 feet near Silverton, Colorado in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado at sunset.

A fine art landscape photography print of yellow paintbrush wildflowers at sunset, taken from 13,000 ft. in elevation by Matt Payne. Order a print of this magnificent Colorado mountain scene today!

In Conclusion - Fine Art America

While many art buyers may be perfectly content with the artwork they purchase from places like Amazon, Fine Art America, or another cheap print on demand marketplace, those looking for the highest quality fine art prints should seek it elsewhere. By working directly with an artist that values customer service, attention to detail, and uses only the highest quality print materials, you can rest assured that your fine art nature print will last a lifetime while serving as a statement piece for your home. Additionally, I would encourage medical offices and hospitals buying artwork to consider the same variables - would you rather work directly with an artist that cares or are you willing to gamble on quality while cutting costs? The choice is yours.

Backlit maple leaves in the Redwoods forest of California.

A fine art photography print of back-lit maple leaves found in the Redwoods National Park in California would make for an excellent addition to your home or office.

The white bark and yellow leaves of aspen trees at sunrise in a forest of Colorado near Ridgway in the San Juan Mountains.

Colorado aspen trees in autumn make for an excellent fine art photography print.

The first light of sunrise on Monument Valley as seen from Hunts Mesa in the American desert Southwest.

Fine art photography prints of the American Southwest are timeless expressions that generate lots of ooohs and ahhhs.

Red Mountain reflection in a high mountain tarn near Silverton, Colorado in the San Juan Mountains.

Abstract nature photography fine art prints blend the best things about art through creative expression and tasteful presentation.

Non-Affiliation Disclaimer

Matt Payne Photography, LLC is an independent business. Matt Payne is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any other company, agency or government agency. All product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. The use of any trade name or trademark is for identification and reference purposes only and does not imply any association with the trademark holder of their product brand(s). All photographs found on this website are owned and copyrighted by Matt Payne Photography, LLC.