It seems there is an almost unlimited assortment of art print media options available for Interior Decorators and connoisseurs of Fine Art Nature photography wall art to select from BEFORE they invest in a motif. Each media style has a unique finish, a level of archival quality & expected lifespan. The most modern photographic print technologies push the limits of resolution and realism. If you are procuring your first print, or searching for a new fine art photography motif, this can be an intimidating proceeding and can lead to fluster for the unversed. So I decided to write an article based on my many years of fine art nature photography experiences with media styles, and elaborate on the most recent print technology advances that have helped make nature photography a "must have" art form.
A 30x45" Acrylic Glass face-Mount gallery float
Fine Art Nature photography is a wonderful genre of art to invest in. Photography as a genre has evolved so much since its inception and it's become a prominent and acceptable artform especially with younger and new collectors. It has fully transitioned into a highly respected medium, escaping the shadows of it's past as being inferior of other "fine arts" or merely capturing a moment of time.
As a genre of art, we still cope with what I call Elitism, even though it expands beyond photography to other contemporary art forms. Those commercial art galleries focused strictly on vintage rare & early photographs by predominantly deceased photographers, infatuated over small editions of just a few prints that can set you back over $6500.00. While I am NOT critiquing the early works of the photographers, I question the self-appointed authority of those responsible for what seems to be a perpetual myth.
The elitist would love to tell you contemporary art - is not art. The early photographs are valued by a small group of investors, much the same as very old high priced antiques. Those that collect are free to do so at their own discretion and I understand the allure of doing so.
A LOVE AND APPRECIATION FOR BEAUTIFUL ART
Navigating back to "real life" to those that LOVE and treasure their art, speaking to emerging collectors and art connoisseur alike searching for artworks at affordable price points. Nature photography is a perfect place to begin if you love exciting, jaw-dropping and beautiful ART. Motifs that both compliment and really jazz up your wall space, crafted in museum-grade luxurious print media styles that are designed to capture the attention of anyone that cast a gaze upon the works. If collecting "antique" photographic art for investment purposes is not your niche,
Online Websites To Avoid Purchasing Photography
Before I get into the intimate details of the finest archival quality print media styles, I'll teach what places found online you should probably avoid investing in "Fine Art Photography" whenever possible. I'll also point you in the right direction, where you are able to acquire high-end gallery style photographic artworks you'll cherish for a lifetime. First, let's begin with the online art sites to be wary of.
Avoid online POD megastores (print on demand websites) which are nothing more than "reallycheapart.com" online art malls. These sites use a variety of "off site" vendors to cheaply manufacture kitschy products (mugs, pillow cases & shower curtains) as well as low-end consumer grade prints for the masses.
The "art-for-the-masses" POD online art stores try to appeal to anyone dreaming of making a few bucks on the side as an artist, regardless of skill level or experience. They pitch to wannabe artist "come join our site and sell your art". Unfortunately, they tend to attract uninitiated naïve artists & upstart photographers. The initial investment to "join" an art mall site is virtually nil - and they provide the "illusion" of a web presence, basically a website that is not really their own. It's a completely unvetted process, in other words, anything goes - including smart phone pics. Some of the most well known online art malls are Fine Art America, Zazzle, Etsy, and RedBubble. (They spend huge money on Google ads to get page 1 rankings)
Museum-grade fine art print media such as this Acrylic Glass (side profile) face mounted floaters are not available through online art malls. Instead they offer imitation knockoffs.
ABOUT FINE ART AMERICA
I actually have personal experience with Fine Art America dating back well over a decade. I was one of the first artist to post a public blog revealing my findings, and several artists have followed up with similarly themed articles since. At that time, I was seeking a third party to handle the "framing & matting" for me. (Granted, framed & matted prints are long in the tooth)
The first turnoff I experienced immediately was that the artwork (print media) was being produced without any input or oversite by myself! I also had no ability to "turn off" print media styles that did not pair well with the imagery. I discovered I had NO access to my clientele list at all, so there was no way of communicating with a single soul that loved my work. In addition, I found they were putting MY art in their own packaging - with their own company logo - without any mention of me, the artist - anywhere!
However, when buyer's experienced quality control issues with FAA, you can bet they contacted ME directly through my FAA marketplace contact link. Quality is a HUGE problem with any megastore online art mall. They are strictly about themselves, and they use unsuspecting creatives to provide the artworks to make their profits off. They continue to exploit the artists members to this day, at the expense of the artist themselves.
FINE ART AMERICA'S REPUTATION IS STAINED
Need further proof why you should stay clear? Here's what I found about them on the Better Business Bureau website. See for yourself! First off, they are not BBB accredited. The scored just 1.06 out of 5 stars and received an F rating. In March of 2022 a customer named Maggie D wrote in her review "this company deserves NO stars". Sean K. wrote in his review "unfortunately, I must give them one star, if there was an option for zero stars I would have done so."
I found reviews on Quora that match the dismal marks on the BBB as well. Brian F. writes on 3/21: Just received my order on 3/19/2021. Two framed prints for my twins birthday presents. One print arrived scuffed and damaged under the frame, likely when they were framing it. Customer service is non-existent. Customer has to pay for return shipping on a damaged product the company sends. First, and now last time being a customer with this company. Definitely do not recommend.
Lastly, over on PissedConsumer I found that FAA had just a 1.9 star rating. The website stated that "consumers are mostly dissatisfied". The reviews posted are primarily from verified reviewers. I have to say speaking for myself, with reviews like that would you feel confident investing in a motif for your own home or office space?
So....... Is It Really Fine Art?
By definition, absolutely not. It bears repeating, FAA is about profit and quantity. They continue to thrive by deceiving artists that are naïve, willing, unknowing partners. But if we look closely at the print media they sell on their website, you'll find they are selling cheap "knockoff" versions of popular styles. As an example, their Acrylic prints are not the same museum grade face-mounted floaters I provide for my clients! Instead, what they do is print directly ON the back side of the acrylic itself! To add insult to injury, they glue cheap wood floater blocks to the reverse side. You get a traditional car-salesman 30-day taillight satisfaction guarantee!
FAA has, at my last count almost 20 high-volume print labs around the globe. These are nothing more than consumer grade mass production labs at best, comparable to what you'll find at a local Costco print center. For the typical soccer mom, sure you may find that quality and price point acceptable. But back to the question, is it really Fine art? Oh, hell no!
So Where SHOULD You Be Looking To Procure High-End Fine Art Photography?
You'll always be best served by dealing directly with an independent artist - most of whom have their own established online art galleries where you can procure Limited Editions from the comfort of home. One thing in common with all photographers that are successful artist is they worked hard to become accomplished on their own, without being "represented" by commercial art galleries. Commercial galleries frown upon artists that market themselves beyond the local scope of the gallery, thus a photographer without a web presence relies fully on the gallery investing & marketing on their behalf.
You can easily find high-end photographers online through their customized website galleries, such as my own here at Schoeller-FineArt.com. You'll enjoy instant savings without paying the tacked on hidden overhead of 40% or higher commissions, or the monthly cost of a brick & mortar gallery. You also can contact artist like myself directly through their websites to ask questions at any time, and even develop a relationship with them by following on their Social Media. I provide personalized customer service without a middle-man and provide a VIP Loyalty Rewards Program for repeat clients. In addition, most independent photographers usually offer Free domestic delivery.
You'll also have the ability to "keep in touch" with independent fine art photographers through personalized Newsletters. Independent artists don't have time to bombard you with "spammy" newsletter emails like the online art malls do. Instead, we'll construct occasional newsletters keep you up to date for any upcoming "art shows" we exhibit and sell our works at, or announce brand new artworks recently added to the online galleries. If you seek value, high-end gallery quality, sensational imagery, and world-class customer service you have no reason to look any further than Thomas Schoeller Photography.
Contemporary Fine Art Photography
Photography has been unfairly stigmatized as an accepted form of art historically, and to some extent it still is today. Fortunately, the forefathers of modern nature & landscape photography like Ansel Adams (grand landscapes) and Eliot Porter (intimate landscapes) brought the environmental movement to life. Through their imagery, they have touched countless people and signified the importance of preserving the last remaining wilderness and pristine ecosystems on Earth. They opened the doors for modern contemporary nature photographers, like myself, that passionately care about mother nature and our planets fragile ecosystem, and express our reverence for nature through our works.
Not All Print Media Is Created Equal
As a modern contemporary artist, I am blessed to have access to the most amazing high-end gallery quality print media styles in which to offer and display my imagery. One thing to keep in mind at all times is "not all print media is created equal". In fact, the internet is flooded with pop-up quickie print labs that market towards anyone that has a camera or smart phone to gain their business. Professional Fine Art photographers like myself stay clear of all those "discount labs" as I mentioned above while discussing Fine Art America. They use substandard material and they do NOT provide professional quality prints. I have invested an enormous amount of time and capitol to locate the finest high-end professional print masters continuously over the past 20 years plus. I am proud to have added a short list of innovative and world-class print masters to my team, providing the finest crafted gallery quality media styles for my clients.
As you continue to scroll, I'll explain the benefits of the print media styles I have found to be the crème-de-la crème of modern photographic print technology in great detail. Although there is no "Perfect Print Medium" that works the same for everyone, what's most important is identifying and selecting what is the right print medium for YOUR interior wall décor needs and targeted price point.
Fuji Crystal Archive Maxima Photopaper - Mounted on 2mm styrene backing
Photo prints on professional print papers are the most affordable print media choice for acquiring fine art photography, and are a long-standing tradition. Considered the entry-level format to collecting, high-end photo print quality has gained tremendously from ultra-modern laser technology and photochemical development. The vast majority of my imagery benefits from reproducing the fine details, and a wider range of color space and dynamic range. This is a most important factor for me, and therefore, I use select premium photo print papers that deliver extreme sharpness and resolution.
One of my favorite photo papers for nature photography prints is Fuji Crystal Archive Maxima. Those who strive for realism in photography will truly appreciate these UltraHD Photo Prints. Modern high-end digital cameras deliver better resolution and significantly less digital noise, so this is the perfect professional photo paper that I use for the imagery in my featured Limited Edition and Curated Open Edition galleries.
Photo prints also benefit from the fastest turn-around times, from the moment you place your order with us to the time your new print arrives at your door. The photo print option allows you to bring your new prints to a local frame shop to have them matted and framed exactly as you like. Picking out a frame and mat style is always best done in person.
The smallest photo prints I offer for my Limited Editions & Curated Collections start with 24". I limit maximum sizes on photo prints to 36" at the longest edge. The reason for this is larger sized photo prints, when not properly mounted, tend to warp or buckle shortly after the framing installation.
* If you order prints from my Open Edition - Photo Archives Collections, I have a wider selection of affordable print options and sizes to select from. Please contact me for details, sizes and pricing *
Wood Float Plaqs
Are one of my most popular selling "mounted print" display options, and they come at a very attractive price point for most collectors. This print media style, by comparison to traditional Gallery Canvas Wraps, are FAR superior to the Canvas prints in every conceivable way. The print papers utilized for Wood Floats is either a satin finish or metallic/pearl.
When a client places their order, I decide which paper is best suited for the artwork since I know my artworks intimately and how each artwork responds to paper finishes and lighting. The print (artwork) is then top-mounted on a sturdy eco-friendly HDF smooth wood surface substrate. A special crystal clear protective laminate is placed over the photo print surface - protecting the artwork from UV light, dust, smudges and fingerprints.
A close side profile inspection of a Wood Plaq's beveled edge in a Walnut finish
The plaq's are finished off with a gorgeous visible beveled edge treatment! This saves you from needing to invest money for custom external frames and mats. I am able to provide this media in (4) stunning edge treatments. Standard Black, Walnut, Rocky Mountain Pine, and a Rustic Barnwood (weathered light gray).
I ship these beauties to you ready to HANG and enjoy the moment you unpack them! Each Wood Float Plaq comes with a recessed 3/4" thickness French cleat style floater frame on the reverse side that allows the piece to appear as though it's floating off the wall after it's been installed.
Angled close inspection under bright light to show the protective satin UV resistant laminate and Black edge treatment
A special crystal clear protective laminate is placed over the photo print surface - protecting the artwork from UV light, dust, smudges and fingerprints. The close-up image above I took at a sharp angle to a bright light source to purposely try to show you how the reduced glare satin finish appears. When viewed normally under good quality lighting, the laminate goes completely unnoticed. This is a unique print media style that is easily cared for and cleanable with a soft, slightly dampened cloth. The feedback I've received from my clients that have ordered my Wood Float Plaq's has been outstanding. I make this print media available to purchase any artworks from my Limited Editions & Curated Collections and also my Open Edition - Photo Archives Collections.
Wood Float Plaq's provide great value and are priced quite economically over the unmounted Photo Print option. Cost comparison, if you decided to purchase a 36" photo print from my site, and brought it to be professionally mounted, matted & framed (+ the glass covering) at your local framing gallery, it would far exceed the investment of a 36" wood floater!
Aluma-Mount Gallery Floats
This is a truly jaw-dropping fine art print media style for high-end photography. Aluma-mounts provide a breathtakingly straightforward "frameless & glassless" presentation. Aluma-Mount floats feature high-end fine art UltraHD print technology with a vibrant shimmering almost 3D effect. The prints are mounted directly to an aluminum DiBond 3mm thickness substrate black polyethylene core. A special crystal clear UV protective fine art grade laminate encapsulates the artwork, which provides an added level of security and allows you to properly remove dust and finger print smudges. You can choose from either Glossy or a reduced glare finish.
Side profile of an Aluma-Mount print.
They share a similarity with the Wood Float Plaq's and that is, the fine art print is meticulously "top-mounted" to the backing substrate (in this case aluminum) as well as having a UV protective laminate. They are available to procure as prints from either the Open Edition - Photo Archive Collections, or the Limited Edition & Curated premium collections. They are delivered to your destination ready to hang the moment you remove them from the packaging container.
A recessed float-mount hanging system is pre-installed on the reverse side of the artwork making this possible. Once the artwork is installed in place, it appears to magically "float" off the surface of the wall. I describe them to people as a virtual window where you feel as though you could walk right into the scene. This is especially true when selecting a frameless piece.
Older traditional fine art print displays popular years ago featured custom external frames and mats that often distract the viewers eyes from the artwork presentation. Contemporary frameless motifs such as Aluma-Mount prints save you from the additional expense of needing frames & mats, and no glass covering is required.
· Are easily cleaned using a soft, slightly dampened cloth · Lightweight and totally glass free · UV protective crystal clear laminate provides extended 75+ years of color brilliance · Available in every size I offer · DiBond aluminum and polyethylene core substrate provides robust gallery quality material that does not warp · Attractively priced below Acrylic Glass Gallery Floats since glass is not included · Choose from either High Gloss or Reduced Glare Finish
ACRYLIC GLASS - FACE MOUNT GALLERY FLOATS
The Acrylic Glass Gallery Floats are the crème-de-la-crème of Fine Art photographic image quality and modern print technology, and they represent the highest standard of excellence for the entire industry. When displayed with proper lighting, they are truly a sight to behold resulting in a motif with an almost backlit appearance. The acrylic glass used in this style of media showcase print clarity, vibrancy, extreme detail, and a dimension of depth that no other print media can achieve. Glass sheets used for traditional "framed prints" as a protective top layer do not come close to the unique light refraction properties that are native to acrylic glass. The light refracts within the acrylic creating tremendous vibrancy particularly when paired with metallic paper and appropriate overhead lighting.
Acrylic Glass Gallery Floats are by far my most popular selling print media. In fact, since @ 2016, Acrylic prints make up nearly 45% of all artworks procured directly from my website. These are not a do-it-yourself at home project. The acrylic face mounting is a difficult, exacting, and very deliberate process. Each print is created by a master printer, applying modern state-of-the-art technology and development to ensure flawless results.
This museum-grade process first involves printing my artwork to high-end professional grade photo paper, reverse mounting the print to the acrylic (so that you're looking through the acrylic at my artwork). The artwork is fully and permanently encapsulated from environmental and airborne elements. Then it is backed with Dibond aluminum composite to keep it rigid, and is finished by installing french-cleat hanging hardware on the reverse side. Depending on the size of the artwork, the recessed floater frame will either be aluminum rails or a sturdy composite material.
Not only is acrylic glass shatter proof, it is temperature resistant, and it provides an additional layer of UV protection for the art prints. These contemporary frameless style artworks are a virtual window to the great outdoors.
CHOOSE FROM 2 LEVELS OF ACRYLIC PRINT OPTIONS
I offer (2) levels of Acrylic Glass floats. The Museum Standard, and a Premier Edition - Gallery Ultra | Lumachrome + Tru Life® Acrylic print. Both the Museum Standard and Premier Edition Gallery Ultra are paired with shatterproof 2mm thickness glass and a sturdy aluminum Dibond backing substrate. For more information, I provide all of the intimate details that differentiate both of my acrylic print styles on the Overview print media page on my site.
The Acrylic glass museum float is also the only media style that I make available to purchase for ALL of my artwork and in ANY size (plus custom sizes) that I offer. For example, the Limited Edition of 150 image above is an 84 x 28" 3:1 aspect ratio wide format panorama and it's not available larger than 60" in any other media.
Acrylic provide the most value, the highest quality and most impressive visual impact available of any print media available. This is clearly a print media for the collectors and connoisseur that require the most luxurious, exquisite fine art experience available.