Fine Art America Pros and Cons

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Who is Fine Art America?

If you have searched online for photographic or other artwork, you have probably seen Fine Art America at the top of many of your searches, perhaps in a Google ad. According to their “About Us “ page, they offer works from over 500,000 artists around the world and over 10 million pieces of art. To their credit, they have created a massive, and I assume very profitable, “Print On Demand” service. The question is whether or not it is the best place to go to purchase Fine Art Photography Prints.

Is It The Best Place To Purchase Fine Art Photography?

The short answer is that I don’t think it is, but it is only fair to elaborate as to why, as an artist, I hold that opinion. Just because it’s in their name, doesn’t always mean its “Fine Art”.

My Definition Of Fine Art Photography

Every photographer and buyer has a different definition and that’s okay. I define Fine Art Photography as photographs taken with high-end, high megapixel camera equipment, meticulously processed with the best software, printed on the best surfaces with the best printing equipment and processes available. Does this always square with purchasing from Fine Art America?

My Own Experience With Fine Art America

I admit to having experimented with having a Fine Art America page with a selection of images some years ago in addition to my own website. I had not been selling too much on my website, so I thought why not see what this was all about. It couldn’t hurt.

They required that my prints be offered on every imaginable thing they sold, from coffee mugs to shower curtains. There was something about this that just didn’t sit right with me. I wanted to be known for beautiful, exquisite large prints and wall art. I felt this approach cheapened my brand and was not helpful to my reputation. There may very well be some good photographers that use this service, but the more research I did the more I realized the vast majority of the best fine art photographers did not use Fine Art America.

My photographic files that were uploaded to their site were limited to a compressed 25 megabyte jpg file size. This kind of compression and limitation is not going to allow the maximum detail of an image to be printed. By comparison, when I upload my files to my current printing service, they are uncompressed tiff files that are 400 megabytes or more. I cannot imagine that there will not be a difference with a 40 inch x 80 inch panoramic print. As an artist, I needed to feel I could stand behind my work.

I believe the buyer of “fine art photography” should be receiving photography that is printed using only the very best papers and processes in the industry. With Fine Art America, I had no idea who was printing my images. I was not able to communicate directly with the printer.

An Easy Solution For Photographers

Putting together a website to show your work is hard and takes countless hours. I have spent thousands of hours on mine. I wish it didn’t take so much time. Not only do I want to the photos to look their best in an attractive format, I need to be able to rise to the top of Google search results. This was not happening with Fine Art America.

Yes, it was easy to load my images into a variety of collections on their site. But then I learned that I had to compete with the other artists on the site to rise in the rankings there for searches within Fine Art America. There was a list of things that you had to do, internals posts and such. There was a game to be played. I could not directly control where I would come up in searches on their site. It was not going to be easy for my images to rank high within Fine Art America, much less to be found on Google. I did not feel my work was going to be seen by a enough people to result in sales.

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Leaving Fine Art America

It was obvious to me that to achieve what I wanted that I was going to have do the hard work of optimizing my own website to rank high in Google. I removed my images from Fine Art America. During the year or so I had an active account there, I sold one small image.

Doing The Hard Work

After leaving Fine Art America, I committed to making my own website work for me. I have spent over 2,000 hours working on my website layouts and Search Engine Optimization. It has paid off. I understand that this level of commitment and work is not for everyone. The work will be ongoing and never end with the addition of new galleries, images, articles and blog posts. I now sell more artwork, and with each purchase, I feel the joy that comes when someone appreciates your work. From the traveling and time in the field to the selecting and processing images, I enjoy every minute of it. I am grateful to all those that have purchased my work.

Other Similar Websites

There are other similar services like Etsy, ImageKind, Saatchi Art, ArtFinder, Society6 and others. They all have their own way of doing things. From the standpoint of the photographer, I believe that having your own website will always be the best way to go.

Reviews Of Fine Art America

There are many websites that have reviews of Fine Art America and the other big Print On Demand services. I would recommend anyone looking to purchase products from them to read those reviews. These reviews may provide you with insights and answers regarding any of these firms.

So How Can Buyers Find The Best Photographic Artwork?

If you search for a particular location on Google, say “Sedona Landscape Photography” or "Cypress Tree Fine Art Photography", where I presently rank high, there may also be a Fine Art America listing on the page, but it is for their site and shows all the various artists within their site that have something that matches your search. The buyer now has to wade through a vast number of images of various degrees of quality and maybe some not specifically relevant.

If you look at an individual artist’s website, you will see only the best of what that photographer has to offer. Those of us that do this, do not show an endless selection of images. It is counter productive making it hard for the buyer to find what they are looking for. If an artist is ranking high on Google, they are putting in some serious time in order to do so. There is a good chance they have also spent a great deal of time editing and working on their images.

Like mine, individual photographer websites will have detailed information on the types of print offered and the print process. There will be examples of photographs in a variety of rooms. I even offer a Room Preview service to show how a photo will look in your room.

The Artist And Buyer Relationship

I have had the pleasure of communicating and working with my clients both with emails and phone calls. I enjoy answering all of the questions. In the end, they know they are getting exactly what they, the highest level of personal service and that they will be receiving the very best product.

The Advantages Of My Relationships With Printers

With Fine Art America, the printing of the products was controlled completely by them. I did not know where the artwork was being printed or who was doing it. I now use printers that I work directly with and have visited their facilities and discussed printing issues with their staffs. I know the materials they use and the processes they used to print. I am able to provide large uncompressed files for the maximum detail in the print. This allows us all to be on the same page with the singular goal of producing the best product for my clients.

Pros And Cons To Buying Photography From Fine Art America

In the end, it is about what works best for any individual artist or buyer. Maybe a buyer’s demands for a particular project are not too stringent and the Fine Art America product is sufficient. For me, I simply wanted to operate at the highest level and offering my work from my own website was the only answer.

The Pros

  • Easy way for a photographer to put images on a website for sale.
  • Buyers can have images printed on a wide range of products.

The Cons

  • The vast majority of the best photographers are not going to offer their work there.
  • Photos uploaded are limited in file size which limits the quality of the artwork.
  • Buyers must search through hundreds or thousands of images of varying quality and relevancy.
  • The artist does not have any control over the items sold, printing process and printers used.
  • The artist will only be found on Fine Art America and not separately on Google.
  • The artist will have a difficult time getting their images found.

My Own Large Selection Is Available To You

I have one of the largest selections of landscape and wildlife fine art photography prints offered by a single artist. I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get to all the places I did. I have been very fortunate to have been able to do so. I hope that my large selection will allow you to find what you are looking for. If you have any questions, or need help finding something, please contact me.

Fine Art Landscape Photography Fine Art Wildlife Photography