Fine Art America: What It Is and What It Isn’t

February 24, 2023  |  United States

What Is Fine Art America?

Fine Art America (FAA) is an online store that bills itself as an art marketplace. Representing hundreds of thousands of solo artists and iconic brands, FAA sells millions of on-demand prints on wall art, home decor pieces, and other gimmicky products. On its surface, the business model might seem appealing for artists who want to put their work out there without having to fulfill orders personally. Upon digging a little deeper, however, it quickly becomes clear why both artists and consumers deserve better. From yoga mats to shower curtains, not only are the products themselves cheap, but the resulting artwork is also low-quality because the materials do not provide an ideal printing surface.

a photograph of Colorado’s Capitol Peak in the fall
A spectacular Colorado fall color scene featuring 14er Capitol Peak.

What Kinds of Products Can You Purchase from Fine Art America?

Fine Art America boasts millions of unique products, from standard decor like canvas prints and posters to kitschy items like bath towels and tote bags. While there’s nothing wrong with displaying your favorite piece of art in an unconventional way–or even making it part of your daily routine by printing it on a coffee mug or phone case–there is an issue with the quality of FAA’s finished products. At the end of the day, their products are the opposite of “fine art,” which requires the artist’s direct involvement in the creation of the print.

Does Fine Art America Guarantee Authenticity or Quality Assurance?

FAA has called itself the “fastest-growing art and photography community in the world.” With just a few clicks, an artist can create an account, upload their work, select the products they want to sell, and then enter the marketplace. Unfortunately, there’s nothing stopping nonartists from doing the same and merely passing off the images they upload as their own. This makes it challenging to confirm the authenticity of the “art” being sold on FAA.

What’s more, even when the art is authentic, the quality assurance simply isn’t there. As long as FAA is serving as a middleman, buyers don’t have the opportunity to work directly with the artists whose work they’re purchasing. And when it comes to “fine art,” the artist should have a hand in every step of its creation, from choosing the materials on which the work will be displayed to overseeing the actual printing process. This allows the artist to ensure the final result–the one that will be on display for decades to come–meets both their specifications and the buyer’s demands.

Is the Wall Decor from Fine Art America Good?

Maybe you have no desire for more gimmicky items but you still want to decorate your home with a vast collection of prints. Should you purchase them from FAA? I know a lot of photographers who use Fine Art America as their fulfillment vendor to sell prints, and many of them have had great success doing so. Their customers were always satisfied with the pieces they received, and everyone benefitted.

I’ve taken a different approach, however, as I prefer to work directly with my print lab on every single order. This is primarily because I do not want to relinquish quality control over my fine art prints to such a large operation (FAA has 16 global production facilities spread across five different countries and runs them 24 hours per day). Over the course of my career as a professional photographer, I’ve found the best way to ensure total customer satisfaction is by confirming every print meets both my standards and the buyer’s design needs before sending it out. As an added benefit, my print lab is a small American business, which means my customers are supporting a domestic enterprise, rather than a factory overseas.

landscape image of sand dunes at 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 have no doubt that there are people who are satisfied with the products they received from Fine Art America. A quick scan of their reviews on Trustpilot, however, reveals a common complaint: The quality of their products rarely meet the buyer’s expectations. More than 1 out of 10 reviewers gave their experience with FAA just one star. Some of the most common complaints involved poor quality control, poor customer service, cheap materials, and distorted images.

Here is just one example of a poor review they received:

"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 non reflective glass as an option..."

As a fine art photographer who takes pride in my work, I aim to educate customers about the various photo art mediums I offer and ensure they know the pros and cons of each before making their selection. As the reviewer above unfortunately learned the hard way, framed photo prints reflect a great deal of light. In order to combat this, my best print offering uses a special acrylic material, which blocks 99% of UV radiation, reduces glare significantly, and resists scratches. While using such high-quality material hurts my profit margin, it’s worth it because it yields an exceptional result that the buyer can display proudly and appreciate for years to come. You can see what past customers have to say about the products I provide by checking out these testimonials.

a mountain range in Colorado dotted with yellow aspen trees during a fall storm
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.

About Matt Payne Photography

I grew up in Colorado Springs, where it was easy for my parents to impress upon me a healthy appreciation for the outdoors. We weren’t all that well off, which I later realized was a blessing in disguise because it was why our family vacations were no more luxurious than going camping in the mountains. We would go almost every weekend in the summer. In the 1980s, my father, who was an avid climber, also took me along on his pursuit to climb Colorado’s 100 highest mountains. Along the way, my parents taught me how to tread lightly and leave no trace, so we could preserve the fragile tundra and ecosystem.

a close-up of a brightly colored aspen leaf resting on a piece of bark 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.

After my parents helped me climb my first 14,000-foot mountain at the age 6, I was hooked. I fell in love with the sport and the environment, and I wanted to share the beauty with the world. It wasn’t long before I was lugging photography gear on every trek. Upon realizing I could actually make a living selling fine art nature and landscape photography, including breathtaking mountain wall art, I gave it everything I had.

Since 2017, I have hosted a weekly podcast dedicated to nature photography called "F-Stop Collaborate and Listen." I am also the co-founder of Nature First Photography, an organization that aims to increase ethical awareness in nature photography. Finally, I created the Natural Landscape Photography Awards, which is an international competition that recognizes nature photographers.

Over the years, I’ve amassed a sizable collection of work, and it’s all available right here on my site. I sell fine art prints using only the highest quality printing and mounting processes, including Fine Art Acrylic Prints, Fine Art Paper Prints, and ChromaLuxe Metal Prints.

Browse Matt Payne Photography

You can follow my landscape and nature photography on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re ready to shop, I encourage you to start by browsing my best selling nature photography prints. Please note: All transactions that occur on my site are handled securely and safely using PayPal or Stripe.

You can also browse my work by subject. On this page, it’s organized into more than a dozen galleries. And if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for? Feel free to reach out! I’d love to help you find the perfect piece to display in your home or office.

a pink sunset over a Colorado mountain range with yellow aspen trees in the foreground

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.

Benefits of Purchasing Matt Payne Photography Fine Art Photography

I certainly can’t compete with Fine Art America when it comes to the sheer volume of products they offer; however, I’d like to think the advantages of ordering from my site–or from any artist’s site for that matter–outweigh the drawback of having a smaller selection to choose from.

As I see it, there are four major benefits of purchasing my work over ordering something from FAA. Check them out below:

  • Unique and Original Pieces: When you purchase work directly from an artist, you know you’re getting unique and original pieces. When you buy products from Fine Art America, on the other hand, you’re getting mass-produced pieces that you can find in thousands of other people’s homes.
  • Investment in a Growing Art Form: When an artist sells their work, it creates a kind of positive feedback loop that makes the world more beautiful. Take photographers, for example. I use my camera to capture natural beauty, which is the input, and then I create more beauty, which is the output, by printing the images. In buying directly from artists, you’re investing in this feedback loop.
  • High-Quality Decor That’s Made to Last: Professional artists know the best–and arguably only–way to foster appreciation for their work is by displaying it on the highest quality materials. Otherwise, it’s going to miss the mark. This is why I only work with leading local printing companies, and I scrutinize every single piece they produce for me before it’s sent out.
  • Secure Purchasing Process: All of the transactions on my site are completed via PayPal or Stripe, both of which are secure and offer consumer protection. I also strive for 100% customer satisfaction, so you can place an order with confidence. If you’re unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, I will do everything in my power to make it right.
  • Replacement Guarantee: If you severely damage your print and need a replacement, I am happy to provide one at any time for only the cost of production. Learn more about my replacement guarantee.
a crystal-clear lake reflecting the blue sky and red rock geological formations
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.

Features of Matt Payne Fine Art Photography

Regardless of your vision, I have a feeling there’s a piece in my collection that will help you bring it to life. Whether you want to evoke a sense of calm in your bedroom or an exhilarating thrill in your office, I guarantee you’ll be able to find an image that you absolutely adore. Then, we can customize it to meet your exact specifications. Learn more about my vast selection of images and the material options that go with them below.

A Wide Range of Themes and Styles

In my gallery, you’ll find prints to enhance every design scheme. Here are some of the most popular subjects I’ve photographed over the years. Consider which ones might elevate the space you’re decorating:

yellow paintbrush wildflowers at sunset with a mountain range in the background
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!

My work is available in horizontal, vertical, panorama, and square formats, as well as in color and black-and-white.

Framing Options

While I don’t offer custom framing, there are a few selections you can make during the buying process to ensure my art meets your needs. I have found the best way to display my work and deliver the highest-resolution viewing experience is by printing it on museum-quality paper and then face-mounting it with high-end ⅛” anti-glare acrylic glass. With this mounting process, the final result is both contemporary and beautiful and creates a kind of three-dimensional surface that’s sure to enhance any room.

Why I Don’t Offer Limited Edition Prints

The practice of producing “limited edition” prints evolved from the world of fine art printmaking. The original design was carved into a block of wood, stone, or metal, which was then used as a kind of stamp to yield the images that would be sold. Every time the ink was applied, stamped, wiped clean, and then reapplied, minor imperfections were left behind. Consequently, the final result degraded over time, as more prints were produced. To maintain the integrity of their work, artists would impose limitations on the number of prints they produced from any one carving.

Since photography doesn’t pose the same issues–i.e., the images don’t degrade no matter how many times they’re printed–there’s really no logistical reason to produce “limited edition” prints. Any such limit would be arbitrary. Moreover, there is technically nothing stopping the artist from producing more of the alleged “limited edition” prints down the road.

Photographers can certainly get bored of certain images and decide to stop printing them, but I’ve never wanted to limit prints for the sake of simulated scarcity just so I could charge a higher price.

a fine art photograph of green maple leaves that are back-lit in the Redwoods National Park

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.

Cost Comparisons

Framed Prints

Framing photography prints can be incredibly costly. It can also take weeks–or even months–from start to finish, depending on how custom the configuration is. The total expense can vary greatly, depending on the materials, but it typically starts at a few hundred dollars for a small 12” x 18” print.

Metal & Acrylic Prints

I prefer to sell metal and acrylic prints over images that need framing for a few reasons. First, they’re ready to display upon arrival. You can hang them the same day you receive them. Second, the final result is always jaw-dropping. The colors are crisp and vivid without the potential for glare. Third, they’re far more affordable than framed prints. As a strong believer that everyone deserves to decorate their home with beautiful artwork, I strive to make my work as accessible as possible.

For reference, here’s a rough comparison of the cost of framed prints versus metal and acrylic prints*:

Cost Comparisons between framed prints, metal prints, and acrylic prints.

*Costs are approximate and based on the assumption that the framed print uses non-glare acrylic with custom matting.

Browse Matt Payne Photography

Ready to enhance your home or office with breathtaking photography prints? Start browsing here!

a fine art landscape photograph of yellow aspen trees in the foreground and white-capped Colorado mountains in the background
American Fine Art includes beautiful landscape and nature photographs such as this one from our Colorado Fall & Autumn print collection.

Where Else Can I Buy High-Quality Fine Art Prints?

Don’t see anything you like in my collection but don’t want to order from Fine Art America? Thankfully, there’s no shortage of alternatives. I’d recommend starting your search on individual artists’ websites. Artists who sell through their websites directly are highly motivated to ensure customer satisfaction. As such, they promise the most attention to detail, and you can be sure they have done meticulous research to ensure their customers get the highest quality products possible.

As with any major purchase, though, you should confirm that the artist you’re purchasing from has experience producing prints. See if they have any reviews on their website, and consider whether the majority of their customers were pleased with their purchases. I’m happy to refer you to some of my favorite photographers who sell high-end fine art prints, including Jack Brauer, Kane Engelbert, Jennifer Renwick, TJ Thorne, Aaron Reed, Scott Smorra, and Max Foster. If my work isn’t quite what you’re looking for, I would much rather you buy a print from one of these amazing and talented artists than from Fine Art America.

landscape photo of red rock formations in the American southwest at sunset

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


Is Fine Art America Legitimate?

Yes, Fine Art America is legitimate in the sense that it’s a real online marketplace where you can buy prints and printed products that will be shipped directly to your door. While many customers are satisfied with their purchases, however, many others have complaints about the quality of the products they receive.

Do Artists Make Money from Fine Art America?

Fine Art America sets a base price for every product, of which they take 100%. Artists then add a markup to the base price, which is how much they receive on each sale. If the base price for a 24” by 36” canvas is $50, for example, and the artist adds a markup of $25, the customer would pay $75, $50 of which would go to FAA and $25 of which would go to the artist.

Are the Products from Fine Art America a Good Investment?

While buying one-of-a-kind items directly from artists or reputable galleries can definitely yield a return, purchasing printed items from marketplaces like FAA is generally not considered an investment of any sorts. Instead, it’s much like purchasing mass-produced decor from any other national retailer that sells home goods.

What Constitutes Fine Art?

Despite its name, Fine Art America is not the ultimate source for fine art. While it’s hard to define precisely what fine art is, it’s easy to say what it isn’t (e.g., coffee mugs, yoga towels, and canvas totes). If you are looking to purchase “fine art,” though, you’re probably hoping for a more precise definition, so let’s break it down.

Generally speaking, fine art encompasses creative works that were solely made to be appreciated for their imaginative, intellectual, or aesthetic content. It’s widely accepted that paintings and sculptures fall under fine art, though many also make the argument for dance, music, and theater. Some also consider architecture a form of fine visual art; however, buildings don’t fall under the standard definition because they ultimately serve a functional purpose.​​

As for whether photographs constitute fine art, there is considerable debate on the subject. While I always strive to produce beautiful images that will enhance the space where they hang, many argue nature photography isn’t “fine art” because it may seem to lack imaginative or intellectual content. Fortunately, this could not be further from the truth - through the use of metaphor and equivalence, nature photography can serve both imaginative and intellectual purposes for both the photographer and the viewer. If you consider them aesthetically pleasing, though, surely you can consider them art from that perspective too. And at the end of the day, if you like the image and it provokes something in you, does it matter what the rest of the world thinks?

How Much Should Photography Prints Cost?

Pricing work is an incredibly personal process for every artist; however, my belief is that art should be made available to everyone, not just people who 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; however, 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 system alone cost over $10,000), our website, insurance for our business and gear, our vehicles, travel expenses, and, most importantly, our knowledge and expertise 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.

A photograph of shades of blue and white that looks like an abstract painting

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.