Alternatives to Online Art Malls Like Fine Art America | Collectors Guide to High-End Print Media


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 downside to this is there are a wide assortment of low-end print on demand "art mall" websites that simply don't deliver the quality or customer service collectors demand.

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. In addition, I wish to elaborate on the most recent print technology advances that have helped make nature photography a "must have" art form, and why procuring your new photographic art prints directly from the artist is so important by seeking out alternatives from the huge mega-stores like Fine Art America.

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. Some 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 in any way, I question the self-appointed authority of those responsible for the condescending tone towards modern fine art nature photography.

The elitist would love to tell you contemporary art - particularly photographic 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.


Navigating back to "real life" for those of you 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 compliment your interior design and 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, I urge you to check out any of the superbly talented fine art nature photographers out there (including myself) for your next addition.

Stunning view through a natural arch overlooking the Bryce Canyon amphitheater at sunset | Limited Edition Utah National Park fine art photography prints


A rare glimpse through a natural "window" peering over the Bryce amphitheater from the Peek-A-Boo loop trail. Bryce Canyon National Park contains some of the world's most unique hoodoos and spires on the planet.

Online Websites To Avoid Purchasing Photography

Before I get into the intimate details of the finest archival quality print media styles, I'll explain what type of 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.

If your in the market for true value and luxury artwork, Avoid online POD megastores (print on demand websites) which are nothing more than "" online art malls. These sites use a variety of third party off site vendors and consumer grade labs 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 those dreaming of making a few bucks on the side as an artist, regardless of skill level or experience. They say to the hopeful artist "come join our site and sell your art". Unfortunately, they tend to attract either uninitiated naïve artists or upstart photographers. The initial investment to "join" an art mall site is virtually nil - and they provide the artist with a pseudo experience of having genuine web presence. In other words, a website that is not really their own to create pages, choose their own payment options, and build their own brand.

It's usually a completely unvetted process. Anything goes - including phone pics. Some of the most well known POD's and online art malls are Fine Art America, Zazzle, Etsy, RedBubble and list goes on, and on, and on. Certainly, they offer a convenience to someone that doesn't plan to exert much effort for their own behalf, but little else.

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.


I actually have personal experience with Fine Art America dating back nearly 15 years. At that time, I was seeking to partner with frame shops in my area to handle the "framing & matting" for my print sales. Oh, how I loathed cutting custom mats and mounting the prints! What I found was local frame shops were unwilling to provide me with an artists discount, despite the fact my business was a significant boost to their own. My online searches for frames & mats led me to FAA. For the time being, I was happy to have someplace that could provide that service for my growing business.

The more my photography business continued to grow, I increasingly became unsettled with the entire process of FAA and not having control or being part of the customer service with my buyers. I had numerous opportunities to inspect the FAA version of Acrylic & Metal prints created by consumer grade labs up close and in person. They did NOT meet my expectations one bit. The acrylic pieces they produce are not even face-mounted high-end fine art prints. Instead they print directly on the back side of the acrylic which is the lowest quality acrylic available.

With FAA, the artist has no ability to "turn off" those low-end print media styles. I also found that access to the artist clientele list - the folks that purchased my imagery through FAA, is declined. I was completely isolated from communicating with buyers that loved my work, unless they reached me through a discreet contact button. In addition, they place artworks in their own packaging - with their own company logo - without a mention of the actual artist anywhere.

I lost interest in using the POD site quickly, and began reducing my footprint to keep only some older Open Edition images I uploaded years ago that seem to resonate with the FAA buyers demographics. My primary focus found me navigating away from the now dated framed & matted artworks, and directly towards high-end museum grade acrylic glass gallery floats.


Make no mistake, the huge online art malls are all about quantity over quality. The allure of selling a high quantity of artworks cheaply is a huge turnoff for me. Compromising gallery quality for mass produced artworks is NOT something I'd be proud of. I enjoy the complete experience of communicating directly with a prospective client before a purchase. Then following up during the process of creating the piece, and finally to delivering the Certificate of Authenticity. When I receive an email arrive saying "Its so beautiful", that is an adrenaline rush you'll never experience with any POD, and makes the entire process worth while.

Awe-inspiring sunrise framed by Mesa Arch which overlooks the stunning Utah landscape of Buck Canyon in Canyonlands National Park

Limited Edition of 100

A brilliant desert panoramic sunrise as viewed from behind the iconic Mesa Arch overlooking Buck Canyon. This awe-inspiring natural feature is located in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

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 ever 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. Thus, this leaves the photographer in a situation of feeling trapped, and at the mercy of the gallery.

You can easily find high-end photographers online through their customized website galleries, such as my own here at You'll enjoy instant savings without paying any hidden overhead like the 40% or higher commissions, or the monthly cost of operating your own 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 will 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. Speaking for myself, I'll construct occasional newsletters keep you up to date for any upcoming "art shows" where I'll exhibit and sell my works at, or announce brand new artworks recently added to my 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.

Blue Lupine and Scarlet Indian Paintbrush bloom in the high meadows of Mt Rainier National Park | Limited Edition fine art prints by Thomas Schoeller


Rainier is clearly one of my all-time favorite locations I've ever had the opportunity to photograph. The area on the volcano's south slope is called Paradise, and that really sums it up in one word! The wildflower blooms that begin to peak throughout the National Park during August (based on elevation) are one of our planet's most impressive displays.

Casting a warm glow over the ridgeline and on the summit of Rainier, I shot this image just moments before the sun would set.

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 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. Experienced professional Fine Art photographers stay clear of the "discount labs" out there because 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

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 *

Chromaluxe Metal Prints

Not all metal prints are created equally! There are huge differences in quality and aesthetics when comparing this popular media style side by side from different labs. I only employ high-end labs that are pioneers in the industry that use specially coated ChromaLuxe panels which are the industry leader for professional photographers. There is no other alternative! One of the best benefits you get to enjoy is this high quality print media is very cost-effective and has excellent archival qualities.

These Metal prints are created using a special dye-infused heat transfer method and specially coated aluminum sheets that are CNC cut for precision. The end result is a lightweight piece that is waterproof, and has a durable scratch-resistant surface. They can be installed in an en suite bathroom, a linea, any room that may have high humidity or splashes of water. There is no mistaking a high-quality metal print due to the magical luminescence and exceptionally vivid colors.

My Chromaluxe prints are frameless, and ship to you ready to hang with an aluminum rail hanging system on the reverse side. If you prefer to frame them, you can by simply bringing your new print to your local framing gallery.

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


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.

Artwork titled "Infinity" one of my best selling Limited Editions displayed as an acrylic gallery float. You'll enjoy my artworks for a lifetime when you chose the correct fixtures for illumination

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.


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.