Fine Art America:
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Blog, Opine | 140 Comments

 One of the greatest things about social networking is the ability for anyone with a message to be able to share it with the world. To that end I wanted to take this time to share a story with my fellow artists as I feel the information is valuable to those who may be considering Fine Art America.com as a potential outlet to sell their artwork.

I am not writing this to simply bash them or hurt their reputation but to tell the truth about my experience and shed light on an issue I feel is very important to all artists. Protection of their work online.

Years ago, I was in a place that many artists find themselves. Looking for an easy and convenient way to sell their work. A friend turned me on to the web site Fine Art America.com where I have offered my paintings ever since… well at least until now.

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of my experience with them.

The Good:

• Exposure: Fine Art America or “FAA” for short has a built in customer base and seemed to rank high on the various internet search engines. I thought this would be great exposure for me.

• Options: FAA was able to offer a much wider variety of options to my customers. Prints on photo paper, canvas & metal, custom framing and more. No way I could offer all of this on my own.

• Quality: Both their quality and customer guarantee of satisfaction is very good. I have only heard positive reviews from those who purchased my art through them.

• Simplicity: FAA basically handled everything for me. The printing, the shipping, everything. All I had to do was upload my work.

• Commissions: They do offer the artist a small commission on the materials their customers choose. So if someone chooses a frame and mat, you get a small commission on the total cost of these materials.

The Bad:

• Little room for profit: With the costs and markup FAA puts on everything, it is really hard to make much without pricing yourself out of the market. Sure you could lower your prices and look at it from the perspective of volume but in the end you are basically giving your work away while FAA makes the bulk of the revenue from your work.

• Odd Sizes: The way FAA works is that you upload a single image and then every other image they offer is calculated off that size. So, what you wind up with beyond that initial image is a collection of other completely oddball fractions of sizes.

Personally, I like to offer my customers prints in standard sizes to make it easier for them to buy a ready made frame if they cannot afford the high cost of custom framing. I know I always prefer it that way.

• Rigid price structure: Once again, FAA has a very “once size fits all” approach. You can put whatever print price you want on each size range but you cannot change it per item. For instance. a customer may be willing to pay more for a higher quality item like a canvas or metal than a standard print. Unfortunately you can only charge so much for a standard print. Once you price that basic print down to a reasonable level, the price of your canvases and higher end items wind up being too low. Likewise, if you price those higher end items accordingly, then the price of your lower end prints are too expensive which turns people off as well since that is the first price customers see.

• Unprotected Images: This leads to my motivation about writingthis in the first place but it needs to be listed here first because although this issue is certainly “bad”, it’s their response and refusal to do anything about it  which is the “ugly” part. I’ll get to that.

My biggest complaint with FAA is the size of the images they display on their page. This became a noticeable problem for me when a customer wrote me and said “why should I buy your images when I can just download them from your store (my Fine Art America store) and print them myself?”

This was when it dawned on me that the watermarks they offer and actually deter you from even using are useless as they are positioned down in the bottom right corner of the image. These cannot even be seen on my sports images whose backgrounds are predominantly white.

I wrote FAA to bring this to their attention and they basically said they felt they were doing enough and refused to address it.

Here is the problem. Sure they have built the site so you cannot right click to save the image. Fine. How hard is a screen capture? Taking a screen capture using my computer, I am able to make a very clear 11″ x 11″copy of one of my KISS portraits [see above]. As mentioned, the watermark is in the lower right corner in a field of black so it is very easily removed. At screen resolution, this may not be a “high” resolution image but as I was told by this same person, it is “good enough” to print on a color printer. What is worse is in the case of my KISS collection, if you were to combine this with say the other four original members into one image, you now have a very nice 22″ x 22″ size image to print. Why buy?

This problem got worse for me when I discovered someone in Argentina who had downloaded my images from their site and was producing KISS neck ties featuring my images [see below]. I sent the person a cease and desist and in that letter I asked him where he got the images. Guess where?

The Ugly:

This is where things got “ugly” for me. Here I had a great example as to how people were using their site to rip off the artists they rely on. I thought if they knew about it they would take some kind of action. I wrote them and politely shared the info and images with them. Their response? Much the same as before. Here are a few quotes from my correspondence with Abbie at FAA:

1. “…unfortunately no site can protect work from thieves who are adamant on having an image that is on their page.” This is not so. Sites like Zazzle do a great job protecting their images from theft or use. Their main images are too small to use for much and their enlargements have the Zazzle logo all over it. [see below]

2. They told me on more than one occasion that having the image watermarked “does put buyers off.”. In my experience this is not so. In the month and a half I have been offering my KISS images on Ebay I have sold 10 times as many as I have on FAA. People seem understand it is there for protection and is not on the printed piece.

Clearly, FAA do not want it there for some selfish reason and in addition to discouraging artists from using it to protect their images, they make it as small as possible so it is no deterrent at all. Maybe they just don’t like the way it looks on their site.

3. “The low resolution thumbnails and preview images are as safe as we can make them” Complete and utter B.S.

I could go on but you get the picture. All they offered was a bunch of excuses.

Summary:

I was very clear to them that overall I was happy with their service as it made life much easier for me. I also indicated that I did not want to cancel my account with them. The solution I suggested was very simple which was to give the artist the option of where to place the watermark and maybe offer a couple size options. If they truly believe that this “puts buyers off” shouldn’t the artist be the one to make that decision? He / she is only hurting their own sales no?

The final response I received back from the owner of FAA Sean Broihier was a defiant “We don’t have any plans to allow our artists to resize or reposition the watermarks on their images.  That’s the final decision.”Again, I am puzzled as to why they would care so little about their site being used to steal images.

Here is the ironic and hypocritical part. Sean, the very same person who refuses to acknowledge how his site is being used to steal images writes an open letter in March of 2012 complaining about Pinterest allowing users to illegally steal images using their site: http://fineartamerica.com/pinterest-enables-copyright-theft-on-a-global-scale.html

What was comforting is when I read some of the comments below,  I found that I was not the only one who has this same problem with FAA and had offered the same simple solution. A user named Laurel writes: “We should have a choice as to what size and position to place the watermark on our pictures. On one hand, FAA says it might discourage visitors from buying – and on the other hand they are saying that our work can be copied easily on other sites, such as Pinterest. I am not adverse to having a watermark right smack in the middle of my photo at all times. If we are trying to protect our images, we should do the same thing that other sites do with prominently placed watermarks.”

In the end, it is clear to me from their refusal to address the problem much less even acknowledge their is a problem that they do not care enough about the artists they rely on for their business. If they did why wouldn’t they do everything they can to either protect their images or at least offer the tools for the artist to decide how best to protect their own images? Why be so ignorant to the situation?

The Solution:

My solution is very simple. I reluctantly decided to shut down my store of Fine Art America. When I informed them I would do their attitude was basically who cares?

All I can do beyond that in an effort to protect my images is try to inform other artists to maybe think twice about using FAA. There are other sources out there who hopefully care more about their artists that FAA does and do not put their own interests over their artist’s whose work they are selling.

If FAA eventually decided to do more to protect the images on their site, I would be happy to reconsider using them. Until then, I would recommend that everyone shop around.

Until I establish a new online store, please contact me directly at wilkinsongalleryllc@comcast.net for print inquiries and special orders. I am also currently offering some of my works through ebay.

Thanks for reading.

8-11-14 Update:
To my point. Just saw this image posted on Facebook. While I was initially flattered that he would include my work in his photo. That feeling quickly changed to disappointment and dismay when I saw that he basically stole and printed the image he got from where? As indicated on his image which he did not remove, Fine Art America. Gotta love being ripped off. Thank you Fine Art America!

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140 Comments

  1. David
    June 8, 2014

    I appreciate your admitting you are wrong and while I also appreciate your sharing it, the link does not even really have merit in this situation. I have not “copied” anyone. My work is original and “derivative” from whatever photo reference or combination of images I put together to create the reference. I am not hiding in some legal loop hole and have not not been sued because it is too difficult. I have not been sued because there are many legal precedents that fall in the artists’ favor under the first amendment.

    You have caused me no pain because (this is not meant as an insult BTW) you only speak out of ignorance of not knowing the facts. I hold no ill will.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    Reply
    • Anonymous
      June 8, 2014

      I didn’t mean “copy” in the literal sense, though not knowing what licensed KISS material or hockey material (for that matter) exists makes one ill equipped to know the difference, doesn’t it?

      Anyway I’m sure you realize I’ve made general observations and they apparently did not apply. While I have been aware of the ability of artists to legally use portions of artworks to make derivative works, I’ve also read where some credit is due sometimes – it is not always so cut and dry. Again, it is a battle that artists often don’t win and chasing such things gets them no where fast even when they are rich and famous.

      Thank you for your generous forgiveness for I surely do plead ignorance, especially since there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to art that are discussed on blogs to this day!

      Cheers.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous
    June 8, 2014

    I’m still reading this. This is an education! Thanks.

    Reply
    • David
      June 8, 2014

      BTW, Thanks to you I got 0 done on my new Gene Simmons image tonight. ; P

      Reply
  3. Anonymous
    June 8, 2014

    Conclusively, I’ve learned a lot and I thank you for bearing with me and my antics. 🙂

    So, now you have, should you choose to keep it here, an instance where you helped an artist to grow!

    BTW, that is very nice that you made just the right artwork perfect for the guy’s tattoo.

    While I’m not aware of the KISS artworks (licensed and approved by KISS), your KISS work looks like the official stuff and is top quality. It is appropriately successful and beautiful work.

    Congratulations on all your work and thank you for the education.

    Reply
    • David
      June 8, 2014

      No problem. You are welcome.

      Take care.
      Dave

      Reply
  4. Anonymous
    June 8, 2014

    Just wanted to let you know I read this after making you lose time on your latest Gene Simmons 😛

    I read your May 24 post. I understand you and your artistry better for it.

    Thanks. Take care.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous 2
    June 23, 2014

    Hi David,

    I just wanted to address a point that you mentioned, being that thieves will take your work (screenshot it) from the previews FAA offers and use it however they would like.

    I can’t completely agree with you here, but I am coming at you with a photographer’s point of view. It would be near impossible to make a print with a screenshot of the images on your website..we are talking maybe a 4×6 IF they are lucky, and even so it would be horrendous quality and most labs will not even attempt to make a print with an image of such poor quality.

    As for Watermarks.. you are aware that there is software out there that can actually remove watermarks, so if thieves REALLY wanted that particular image, they would have it, watermarks or not. It is up to you as an artist to find these law breakers and these images, and up to you to take legal action if it pleases you. I don’t think this is a fair case to hang over FAA, or any other company’s head.

    Just my $0.02. Otherwise, thanks for this post.

    Reply
    • David
      June 23, 2014

      Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your point of view. I understand what you are saying but in response I offer this. When I had the images up on FAA, I was able to take an 11″ x 11″ screen grab of one of my KISS images. Sure that is only 72 dpi but if you were to reduce that to say 7″ x 7″, as size which I have had people buy from me. At that size the resolution starts to come together close to 150dpi and if printed on a home printer or at Staples it is sufficient and not too bad. Also, if a person was to combine say the four original members, they would have up up to a 22″ x 22″ sized image to print of the group. Again, not the quality I offer but for some it is good enough which is exactly what someone wrote me and told me.

      Again, I have had people using those images to create both T-Shirts and neck ties so apparently they are “good enough”.

      I would have to see how good a job those sites really do with the watermark. I put mine in manually in Photoshop so I cannot imagine that there is some magic formula that does not remove it without distorting the image. In the end though, not everyone knows how to do that so having it there is at least a deterrent for some.

      Dave

      Reply
    • Helga
      July 28, 2015

      I agree with you. Just out of curiosity I tried to capture a screenshot of an image on FAA, on a 15″ screen, and it came out 864×597. Considering prints are 300dpi, what can anyone do with a 2.9×2 inches image?!

      Reply
      • David
        July 28, 2015

        I could be wrong but I believe the size and resolution of the monitor plays a factor in the size of the screen grab you get is. Hard for me to speak to your images but as mentioned in my post, I was able to get an 11×11″ 72dpi image of my KISS portraits from FAA. I also believe the proportions of the image determine how big they get on the screen. For instance my square KISS images were bigger on screen then my portrait configuration sports images.

        Prints are not necessarily 300dpi. 300dpi is ideal if you are doing high end off set printing but as far as digital printing goes you can really get away with a 200dpi image. Maybe even a 150dpi image and still get a pretty decent quality output. So, if you took my 11×11″ and reduced it to a 5.5×5.5 you are going to get a decent reproduction. Not as good as if it were from an original file but “good enough” for many. The 11×11 at 72dpi output from a color printer might be “good enough” for many.

        You ask what can anyone do with an image like that? In your case not much. In my case I have had people using them to make ties, canvases, Bootleg CDs, T-Shirts, Shorts and more so far. The resolution requirements for apparel is even lower which makes it even easier to use them for those kind of things.

        Dave

        Reply
  6. Mary Miraglia
    January 19, 2015

    Thanks for the information. I have been looking at FAA with an eye to selling my photos, but I have many questions and it doesn’t appear to be easy to get answers.

    I see where you are doing some selling on e-bay. Are you currently selling art anywhere else, and if so where? if you’d be so kind as to share that information.

    Reply
  7. Steve Hickey
    February 9, 2015

    I too looked at FAA this morning and tried to find out their payment /pricing policies but couldn’t find any relevant information about how much the artist might get from a sale. So finding your post was very helpful. People will happily steal stuff to print for themselves – take a screen grab and print it, but those kind of people don’t care about quality and probably wouldn’t pay for a print anyway. Stealing for commercial reasons is different, obviously. As a photographer I was concerned about how large the images on the site were, I just tried a grab of a photographic image as a test – it would easily print to 9″x6″, not great quality but good enough for some. The most disturbing part was that I couldn’t see the watermark at all! I don’t think that I will put any images up, not yet anyway.

    Reply
    • David
      February 10, 2015

      Steve, Thank you for commenting. I am glad you found my post helpful. Best of luck to you.

      DW

      Reply
  8. Dale
    February 14, 2015

    Thanks for the review of FAA. It is appreciated. Have you tried any other sites to sell your images.

    Reply
    • David
      February 14, 2015

      Dale,
      Thanks for the comment. Glad you found it helpful. To answer your question, not really. After pulling my work from FAA I just started selling though my site, Ebay and Amazon. Not using any other site like FAA currently.

      DW

      Reply
  9. James
    March 19, 2015

    I just registered with FAA – interesting reading – thanks David. (and thosw who replied)

    James

    Reply
  10. Anonymous2
    March 26, 2015

    Dave,

    Try Etsy. I’m setting up there; you can add your own watermarks, and the community is huge. I do nature photography, so I think that shrinking mine to 900X600 will be sufficient. It would lose too much definition to be worth printing. You may have to go smaller with yours, maybe.

    Reply
    • David
      April 2, 2015

      Thank you for the comment and advice! I know of Esty of course but have never really looked into it seriously.

      Reply
  11. Teresa
    March 31, 2015

    Thank you for your feedback. I considered marketing on FAA’s website and decided not to when it was an issue to upload pictures to their site. My next issue was not being able to speak to someone via phone. No business can run a legitimate company and have zero interaction with the artist.
    Many red flags and the watermark image is huge for artist protection.

    Thanks Again,
    T

    Reply
  12. Dave
    April 16, 2015

    Hi there
    myself I found this review very good and informative, would you like to discuss this with me?
    I am not employed by faa nor do I have a need be, iam a member yes and I was seriously wondering if I should make the move to become a full member but started to do some research on this and came across this which makes me feel better and better informed and now doubting them period.
    Would it be possible to have a chat with you over my concetns? I can assure you that this will be held in the strictest privacy.
    I have been a free member coming 2 years almost and want to know mre before I do or nt do on this faa site.
    to date I being from Canada have not sold 1 of anything since being there I do manage a group on there.
    anyway if we could chat re this faa please let me know and I assure you that iam for real and want more before I go about my work and if it is g going to be just stolen forget this .
    iam sorry for the loss y yo had but w need to stick together to make a difference especially when it comes to the passions we share in this artwork field.
    thanks very much for taking the time to read this sir
    Dave
    Canada

    Reply
  13. Michel
    April 19, 2015

    Thank you for your post. I will not market my work through FAA in the future.

    Reply
  14. Adam
    April 24, 2015

    Greetings,

    Thanks for the information. y wife was considering selling via FAA but this post made her change her mind.

    Thanks again,

    Adam

    Reply
  15. Clare Smith
    April 30, 2015

    Thank you for taking the time to write this, great information and an unbiased views. Please ignore the horrible comments people have left…. Some people have nothing better to do. I appreciate this post and it has helped me make a decision about which way to sell my art, very informative, thank you!

    Reply
  16. Leslie Berg
    May 6, 2015

    Thank you for writing this. I was a member of Fine Art America for one year. I left due to the risk of image theft. I found my images had been used by two artists in Europe, claiming them as their own. I wondered if Fine Art America had changed their policy about protecting images, but apparently they haven’t yet. Thank you again for posting this.

    Reply
    • David
      May 6, 2015

      Your very welcome. Glad you found it helpful.

      Dave

      Reply
  17. Arsh
    May 13, 2015

    Thanks for this write-up! Very useful – what other alternate options you suggest for order placement and fulfillment?

    Reply
    • David
      May 13, 2015

      Arsh,
      Thanks for the comment. Been doing most of it myself really via my site, ebay and Amazon. There are a number of online print sources you could go through. Vivyx.com has very good quality and prices and while I am sure they do not have the audience FAA has, they do offer an online store / retail option for their customers. I have used them for printing from time to time and have been very happy.

      Dave

      Reply
      • Don Shetterly
        January 6, 2017

        I was just looking into this service and found your review. It is very helpful. I looked at Vivyx.com and all it shows is a search/ad placement service. No site or I’m at the wrong place.

        Reply
  18. JM
    May 17, 2015

    A platform called WEO is about to come out of private beta… highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for a print on demand platform unlike anything I have personally seen so far… it also has built in marketing tools and a bunch of third party integrations that make it a really impressive piece of software for artists and photographers.

    weo.co

    Reply
  19. Arnold
    May 20, 2015

    Fine Art America really is a strange site. I feel that it tries to make you believe that you should be grateful for allowing them to make a profit off your own art, and for you to be happy with a small amount of commission. Then, you need to promote and market yourself (to promote sales on their website), and even then they have the cheek to offer the option pay an annual fee. Hah, it’s insane.

    If you were really serious about selling your art to make money and promoting yourself, you’d at least have your own website and be finding your own ways to print, frame and deliver, which is cheaper, more personal and more satisfying. You’d be doing your own marketing too, but that’s what you have to do even if you’re a member of FAA anyway, so no difference there.

    But even if you’re not looking to make money, promoting/marketing yourself and learning how to get your art printed, framed and delivered really are good experiences in themselves.

    Reply
  20. Di Xue Shan
    May 21, 2015

    Fine Art America could be a better site if the management and owner were more professional but they seem to care little for their artist or what happens on the site. I also worked very hard on a blog, My first and two years of behind the scenes at Fine Art America and posted it and within hours Fine Art America used software to remove all traces of myself and the blog offline. Here it is. My only hope is you get to read it and the truth before it is gone here. Thank you for letting me post here.

    fineartamerica-questioned.blogspot.com

    Reply
  21. Terry
    June 6, 2015

    Thanks for the information. I was just going to join. I was praying for right answer and thanks to God I got if from you. Artist already have a hard time doing their craft. I have to admit that the concept was good. but like all thing good corruption get in then we lose again. Don’t know why we have to be dead to make a living. Thanks David.

    Reply
    • David
      June 7, 2015

      Terry,
      Glad you found it useful. Again, I feel like their service is good. Yes, perhaps they do not leave much room for the artist to make more money but that is a decision the artist needs to make. It is good exposure so depending on the artist they might be willing to make that sacrifice. My problem was and remains with their failure to protect the images effectively. Kills me as I still see images of my work which were taken from their site being shared and used on bootleg KISS products. Worst mistake I ever made was not taking them down immediately.

      Reply
  22. ella
    June 13, 2015

    All these posts are so discouraging, but I must also say a huge “thank you” to all who have posted. I am just starting to look at possibly selling thru one of these online art marketplaces and wandered onto FAA. Something just didn’t feel right so I did a Google search for FAA reviews and was lucky to find your postings. Think I’ll pass on them. Checked out Saatchi Art and feel better about them so they are still in the running.
    Anyway, thanks to all. You’ve been a great help!

    Reply
  23. Comparing artist profit: Fine Art America vs. Printful | Blog - Printful
    June 18, 2015

    […] quick perusal of what FAA sellers are saying online, they seem to all be in agreement that purchases are few and far between, but the chances to add a hefty profit exists. The general consensus is to not sell your art at […]

    Reply
  24. Former FAArtist
    June 21, 2015

    Its so nice to read a real discussion about how others really feel about Fine Art America. I canceled my membership while letting them keep the last 6 months. I just needed out of a place like that fast.

    If you do use that site, you will find that in order be found in there search, you will have to work as there employee in general to make money at your own art. They expect you to market them full time on your own. That still wont help you in there search. You then are expected to sell prints of your art for them from your own customers. Then, and only then will they maybe move you up in the search a little.

    The regulars will tell you that everyone has to market like this in order to be in business on the internet. This is very true, but what they won’t admit to, is that they are not doing it for themselves, they are working for free for someone else. Its laughable. If fine art america ever went under or decided to close, all those artists would be finished.

    Reply
  25. Alison M. Gunn
    July 4, 2015

    It’s ironic that people who think you’re somehow a copyist who essentially draws someone else’s image and is therefore stealing from the “original” would, by extension, argue that Andy Warhol’s images of Marilyn Monroe could not have been art; that in fact he was “stealing” her image, rather that taking an image, reworking it, transforming it, and turning it into something brand new that it wasn’t before. There are countless examples of what could be considered ‘fan art’ that begin with drawing or painting a representation of someone one admires, only to have the drawing transform into a unique piece of art. In my opinion, a better argument in response to someone who accuses you of ‘stealing’ an image is to point to the thousands upon thousands of images that have been ‘stolen’ through the ages. By the way, I am on FAA, have been for almost two years, have made precisely ONE sale, but being on the site has helped me gain confidence in my photography. I don’t intend to use it much longer, because I’m building my own photography website, partially by learning where to go to get my pictures printed. The arguments you’ve made against FAA’s apparent lack of concern about watermarks and protection of rights don’t surprise me, though. It’s my belief that FAA exists for individuals to buy their own artwork. Everyone I’ve spoken to who uses FAA says they sell next to nothing, and generally sell their artwork at art fairs and such. Thanks for this blog post, because I’ve been looking for further good reasons not to renew with FAA.

    Reply
  26. Judy
    July 11, 2015

    David. I was considering joining FAA until I read your comments. Thank you for caring for your fellow photographers/artists. I will go another route.

    Reply
  27. Mary Lew Renninger
    July 13, 2015

    So grateful for this info….I have beeneondeting why I pay monthly and nothing happens. So where is the best place for a novice who is a senior to try and sell. MMany, many thanks. MLR

    Reply
  28. Katherine Greene
    July 31, 2015

    I just read your article about your experience with FAA and was very discouraged since I just signed up. Thank you for all your information and research. I checked out the WEO site that was mentioned in another reply. It is a print on demand business and so far it seems classier and with better customer service than FAA. I may consider going with them after I do more research. If you get a chance to look at the WEO site let me know what you think.

    Reply
  29. Shannon
    August 1, 2015

    I put a few photos on FAA for free and had just removed them when I came across your article. I am so glad that I deleted my photos and closed my account. I am now going to sell directly from my website and am scrambling to get it set up.

    A fellow photographer just sold a photo on FAA and she will receive a whopping $7. Had she sold the photo directly, she would have made about $150. FAA makes a lot of money for themselves while “suggesting” a markup that pays the artist a mere pittance. I hate it that my fellow artists are willing to take so little for their work. I don’t believe that the words “starving” and “artist” need to go together, but folks who are willing to settle for such shamefully low pay lower the bar for the rest of us and that’s a shame.

    Thanks for your article.

    Reply
  30. Kathryn Goode
    August 9, 2015

    Have you found a better site to upload and sell through? Or are you selling through your own site still? Do you offer frames and such? Or do you just print the images they order and ship them to frame it themselves? I was considering FAA as well but decided to read into it before I uploaded my images. I hate that the site doesn’t even tell you how much profit the artist/photographer etc would even make off their own work. I haven’t set up my own site yet, but I am looking for a quick easy opportunity to get my name out there and start making money! Let me know if you have any suggestions! Thank you!

    Reply
    • David
      August 10, 2015

      Haven’t really looked. I have just been selling though my site, Amazon and Ebay. I do not offer framing. I sell the prints only as well as stretched canvases. I sell them and have printer who prints and ships them.

      As I recall you do know how much profit you make on FAA as the markup is yours. The only unknown is how much you make off of the add ons like frames, matts, etc. Problem is as I described in my post. By the time they are done pricing everything there is very little room to make it up before it is too expensive. So they make like 90% and you make 10%. I am sure they would say it is your choice and they enable you to make it up as much as you want but is that really so? There is a ceiling in regards to how much people are willing to pay.

      Best way to get your name out there is social media. While FAA is good as well I honestly think places like Amazon and Ebay are even better. After all Amazon is like the largest retailer in the world. There are an awful lot of people shopping there. You just need to have something they are looking for and something that stands out.

      Reply
      • Melissa
        September 28, 2015

        I almost joined FAA but glad I saw this blog first. I would like to know however that since I’m interested in selling my art for things like cell phone covers, posters, etc., are there any legit and safe websites that I could join? I myself don’t have the means of producing these things. I paint a picture then sell it but would like to do more with a single painting. I saw very negative reviews about zazzle too. How do you like to sell on Amazon? Do you paint a picture and sell the original? Any help is greatly appreciated.

        Reply
        • David
          September 30, 2015

          Problem I had with Zazzle aside from the fact that like FAA, there is only so much you can charge for a coffee mug (or other product) that you wind up making so little it is not even worth the trouble. At least in my opinion. Other problem is unless you are marketing and pushing your products yourself they get completely lost is a sea of garbage on their site. WAY too many people grab a picture from the internet or elsewhere, upload it and then use their auto create feature to instantly make hundreds of products that no one is ever going to buy. I have said for a long time they need to not only do away with that but also have some kind of filtering / approval process to keep the quality of the designs / items high so people will continue to look. Right now most of it is crap and I doubt anyone has the patience to look through countless pages of un-creative and uninspired garbage. Just my opinion.

          No, I sell high quality Giclee’s (fancy name for a reproduction) of my work. So, if I get an order though Amazon, e-bay or my site, I place the print order with my printer who then prints it and ships it for me.

          Hope that helps.
          Dave

          Reply
  31. Jo
    August 20, 2015

    Hi David! You basically saved my life with this post. 🙂 I was going to open a store on FAA and decided not to. What an awful customer service! That they don’t lift a finger to protect artists’ images is bad enough, but their replies are plain rude. I refuse to put my art on such a site. I guess I’m going to try other alternatives. It’s good to know that social media works (with a lot of work, for sure) and that you’re doing well with your own shopping cart, Amazon and Ebay. I’ll probably try them. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • David
      August 21, 2015

      Not sure I “saved your life” but glad I could help. ; P

      Reply
  32. Karen Joslin
    August 21, 2015

    David, I’ve been an FAA member for awhile and also meaning to leave, as I feel that having an easy POD solution is useless if no one knows you exist in the first place. The website widget is also terrible from an SEO standpoint. I could mention a number of other issues I have with FAA (some of which others have already brought up), but I’ll leave it at that.

    One thing I did like about FAA was that a test print I did of one of my black and white photos on the Cool Tone Picture Rag was one of the most beautiful prints I’ve ever seen of my work. For anyone else who likes the quality of their prints, I’m pretty sure they actually outsource the printing and framing to PictureFrames.com. They have a program for artists and photographers, which I’m seriously looking into. Here’s a link to their artist/photographer page: http://www.pictureframes.com/Photographer-Printing-Framing

    How are your sales on Amazon? Are you selling through the marketplace or FBA?

    Reply
    • David
      August 24, 2015

      Sales on Amazon were better but have been sort of hit or miss since. Might just be the time of year. It is good exposure so I sell enough to pay the monthly fee I look at it as a win. Of the three that one costs the most although ebay is getting there now that they started charging for non-auction listings every month. It used to be you paint to put them up and I could post say 10 of a single item and leave it till they sold. Now, unless they are an auction item they charge me every month for all of them. It adds up when you have multiple items in a variety of sizes and papers. Each one counts as an “item”. Again, it is good exposure though. Cant tell you how many off-ebay sales I have made from people who have found my work there and then wrote me about it. Definitely worth it in the long run.

      Reply
  33. Bruce
    August 24, 2015

    Thanks so much for your review and warnings. As with all the others, I too was planning on uploading to FAA, but now will choose another site. I’d appreciate more suggestions from folks who have had better experiences elsewhere.

    Reply
  34. Ken
    September 11, 2015

    Thanks for this info…I thought FAA might be an option for my images and then realized there is a sister/mirror site pixels.com…go figure…I recently met an artist that has his own framing business that basically props his passion of HIS fine art photography…just a message to the masses <his approach to this theft issue that David brings to light is to eliminate any involvement with the web that would reveal his art…you have to shop in his one of his stores and you have to deal him or his employees…this I know is an exceptional and ambitious approach however he is doing very well in terms of lifestyle…seeing is believing so if anyone is interested I may be able to put you in contact with him…the bottom line is you would be dealing with him but I am fairly certain he is receptive to referrals…I know he already treats artists fairly when it involves framing, matting, etc. Thanks again Dave for the info…K

    Reply
  35. Arthur
    September 12, 2015

    Hi David. I’d like to try selling some large ink jet prints of my works on canvas through Ebay. I’ve been with FAA for awhile but now after reading your very informative blog I’ll be shutting that down. How was Richard Prince able to take a bunch of screen shots from Instagram and blow them up to such an incredible size as he did with his ink jet prints on canvas at the Gagosian?

    Reply
    • David
      September 12, 2015

      Arthur, It is hard to say definitively what his process was. I can say a couple of things. The size / resolution of the monitor which is capturing the screen grab of the images does play a role in the quality and size of the images you can get. Second thing and question is how good do they really look in person? You can enlarge anything to print on an ink jet printer and it may look fine in a photograph from a distance but that does not mean the image looks great up close. Printing on something like canvas which has a texture also can help to hide flaws. Finally there a number of tricks you can do in Photoshop to not only enhance an image but resize it effectively. Again, this does not mean that it will make your image look like a high resolution photo but it does help to make them look presentable… unfortunately.

      Reply
      • Arthur
        September 14, 2015

        Hi David. What would be the steps to take in order to inkjet print on canvas an image that I want to enlarge to approximately 42″ x 60?” The canvas itself would be 54″ x 70.” For example, what would be the best (or minimum) size and quality images to use? What would be the best (or minimum) size monitor to use? Can this be done without using Photoshop? Can I use Gimp.org or Microsoft Paint instead? Thanks

        Reply
        • David
          September 15, 2015

          That is really large. Most of the standard large format inkjet printers I have dealt with can only print up to 40″ wide. Assuming it is rolled, the height is only limited by how much is on the roll. I assume there are larger printers out there but I have never dealt with one. I imagine a print that size would be rather costly.

          With inkjet printers you generally want at least a 150 dpi image. That does not mean you can just take an image that is 10″ at 150 dpi and enlarge it to 20″. It will no longer be 150dpi which is why it looks like crap when you do. You would have doubled its size which reduces the resolution by 50% to 75 dpi and so on as you keep going up. Technically it needs to be 150dpi at the 1:1 size to start. I am really not sure what to suggest as far as monitors go. Really hard to say. I am not an expert. The bigger as far as size and resolution goes the better is a good rule of thumb.

          Whose work are you looking to enlarge? If you are looking for the best way to print something from a video grab then I have to imagine you do not have access to an actual file no? As someone who is protective of my own work I certainly would not condone or aid in your reproducing someone else’s.

          To answer your question about doing it without Photoshop. I have never used Gimp.org or MS Paint so I am not sure if they would work or not. I only use Photoshop.

          Reply
  36. Carole Kennedy
    September 14, 2015

    As someone that was/is trying to get the items that I purchased from this website, my recommendation to anyone that is thinking about either listing with or purchasing from this company is — DONT!!!!!

    Two months ago I thought that it would be cool to order 2 tee shirts that had the image of a piece of art that is hanging on my walls (I own the original) …. the first printing of the order was shipped to the WRONG COUNTRY. Contacted the company and told them that I had not received my order and pointed out where their shipping tracking showed the items were delivered. The representative was apologetic and promised that the order would be reprinted immediately and shipped out. The package arrived a couple weeks later — unfortunately, it only contained 1/2 the order …. I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to get someone to tell me when I am going to get the second tee … In response to my latest call (today), I received an e-mail telling me that they are cancelling my order and refunding my money and that if I want the 2nd tee shirt that I will have to place a new order (i.e., start from scratch). Hell will freeze over before I ever do business with this company …. I dont care how much I like the the item

    Reply
  37. Jackson Shuri
    September 28, 2015

    Thank you for this…
    I have listed one work on the site for a little over a year and have had no hits and the pricing methods used is rather crazy. I will close account.

    Reply
  38. Drew Franklin
    October 10, 2015

    It seems like FAA, and similar sites, require the artists to spend a lot of time marketing to have any shot at real success. I certainly understand that some initial effort is required, but after that, most time should be dedicated to creating art.

    Out of curiosity, what do others feel would be a fair share to be paid per sale?

    Reply
  39. Nancy Teague
    October 26, 2015

    David, thank you for this blog post about concerns with FAA. I also appreciated some others’ input of concern.

    I have been with FAA for about 7 years. In the early years with them they were responsive and even would hear from Sean with my questions. Now I wonder if they have gotten too big.

    1) they no longer take emails through their service@faa email. Now you have to check their Q and A page, write an email with notice you will be responded to shortly. ‘Shortly’ is not happening!

    2) I used to get the “Weekly Update” of images viewed, how many viewers for each painting, and images of those paintings. For 5 months I have no longer gotten the Updates. I did go through their ‘Contact Uus’ system. Then got one ‘Weekly Update’ after my inquiry. Since then no more updates!

    3) Last Thursday (Oct. 22) I received 5 separate comments from other artists congratulating me on a Sale of a print of my painting “Bug In The Grass”. BUT I received no notification from FAA of this Sale nor have I received any as of today (Oct 26th)! In the past I have been notified right away of a sale (prints or cards), then ‘Congratulation’ comments would usually follow. I would also receive payment 30 days later, after the 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.

    To address this concern, I once again had to use their ‘Contact Us’ format to find out about this Sale, but as I mentioned above still no reply.

    Looking into other options mentioned in the Comments is next on my ‘to do’ list. But, I do wonder if closing my account will indeed eliminate my high resolution images from FAA use? Any thoughts on that?

    Reply
    • David
      October 27, 2015

      Glad you found my post useful. It has been amazing to hear from so many people who have had similar issues with them. I still really regret the day I ever posted any of my work on there.

      To answer your last question about closing your account. They really should retain no rights to use, post or reproduce your images once you close your account. That said, I did have to fight with them a little bit to remove the images of mine which they had posted on Amazon. They moaned about it needing to take time and I would not hear it and told them to remove them immediately which ultimately they did.

      Dave

      Reply
      • Nancy Teague
        October 28, 2015

        Dave, that is one of my concerns about closing my account. A couple years ago I discovered my work was for sale as prints on Amazon.com! Took me a while to find out why and how that happened. Thanks for the heads up to them to remove my work on Amazon via their FAA setup.

        Question though – since they no longer have a personal email (at least I am not aware of one now) I assume I have to use their “Contact Us” form? That gives me concern for getting a response, let alone action on eliminating my images on Amazon.com Any expeditious suggestions?

        Reply
        • David
          October 28, 2015

          Here was the email I was using to communicate with them: support-tickets@fineartamerica.com. This was back in Jan of 2014 but it may still work. The one person I spoke with was named Abbie Shores who was part of their “Technical Support” team according to her e-mail. Again, it has been a while so who knows if she is still there. I believe the owner’s (or one of) name is Sean. Don’t think I ever got a last name but at one point he wrote back to me in a somewhat rude fashion to basically say we don’t care what you think, we have made our decision, take it or leave it. Paraphrasing but that was the just of it.

          Dave

          Reply
          • GHarkness
            September 18, 2017

            Abby is still there as of today, and just as rude as ever.

  40. Nancy Teague
    October 28, 2015

    Thanks Dave for the email. It worked and I got an immediate reply in regards to cancelling/closing my account. Before I sent an email with detailed points about what I wanted FAA to do in regards to cancelling my account and removing all my images from any sources they used – I personally deleted each image on my site. It was interesting that when I did it also deleted the image on the FAA ‘artistwebsite.com’ that I had set up years ago. Then I did the “Close My Account” steps on my FAA site before I sent the email to support-tickets@fineartamerica.com.

    Now on a quest to see if there is another more efficient and profitable way to provide prints of some of my artwork! Plan to check into some of the ideas mentioned in a few comments above. It’s so helpful to be able to glean from fellow artists!

    Thanks again for your help and thanks to the others that had alternative suggestions.

    Reply
  41. Ellen
    October 31, 2015

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you so much for your post. I put my art work on FFA a few years back and only sold a greeting card. I was disappointed that I didn’t have more views or sales. I sell most of my work on facebook. I am looking into selling my photography so I revisited the FFA site. I then checked for reviews and came across yours which was very helpful!

    I too have had my work used and have had to file complaints on copyright infringement. I almost always put a huge watermark on my work. Here is a site that helped me with this issue and it cost me nothing, so I will share it if someone steals your work: https://automattic.com/dmca-notice/

    Now onto Ebay and Amazon. I have never tried to sell my work through these sites. Now you have to print your own work> I assume those services that are offered through FFA are not offered through Ebay and Amazon, correct? I’m so tired of putting the work into the printing, framing, shipping and to come out with a lot of work and very little profit. I think this is why FFA sounds so appealing because it cuts down all that additional work and we can utilize our time to create.

    Anyone use any other sites similar to FFA with success?

    Thanks again Dave for the information!

    Ellen

    Reply
  42. Doris-Maria Heilmann
    November 1, 2015

    Hello David,

    thanks for posting your experiences.

    Maybe these tips by a photographer can help you and fellow artists:

    http://www.jeremynicholl.com/blog/2011/06/13/the-10-rules-of-us-copyright-infringement/

    http://www.savvybookwriters.com/did-you-know-copyright-and-illegal-downloads/

    Cheers, Doris

    Reply
  43. Dennis
    November 5, 2015

    Recently explored FAA as potential for my artist wife. In process of conducting “due diligence”, came across your posting. While their concept is good, you have brought to light significant deficiencies that are echoed by others in your comments section. Clearly the business model resonates with artists who would rather spend their time creating than in mundane nuances of order fulfillment. Unfortunately, until such a provider emerges, looks like drop/ship printing from a high quality provider (without the matting/framing) is the best option.

    Appreciated your balance, well written assessment as well as the numerous comments from others.

    Kind regards

    Reply
  44. David
    November 21, 2015

    Thanks for the article. You mentioned selling you images on Amazon a number of times. Is this through the “Fine Art Sales” setup they launched a couple years back? I did some searching but came up with nothing specifically related to selling photography/print/art there other than older post about the Fine Art Sales launch. When that first came out I emailed them (during beta testing I believe) and they were not interested in photography.

    Reply
    • David
      November 23, 2015

      No. I forget why that did not work for me. I actually had to set up a brand with them. Problem arose when I tried to add products it required some kind of UPC number or something like that. Obviously I do not have that so by registering a “brand” with them I believe the number was automatically added by them or something. I apologize for not being very specific or detailed. The process was an unbelievable headache. Adding or revising products still is a headache because they want me to do it though a completely convoluted MS Excel file. Ebay is SOOOO much simpler a process and it is all done online though their site. It has dumbfounded me how Amazon who is one of the world’s largest retailers has such a archaic system of adding products for their customers.

      Besides the process it has been worth it for the most part. It costs like $40 a month but more often than not the sales I have generated have at least covered that. Given that they are one of the largest retailers it is good exposure so I suppose it is worth the headache.

      Dave

      Reply
  45. Christine Klunder
    December 2, 2015

    I’d actually signed up for a free account on FAA due to a referral from a fellow local artist who apparently does some good business there and is happy with their print services, after getting screwed out of a big commission by CafePress. I started noticing things that were iffy (like people uploading classical art as their own to sell as prints, and the ‘we must compete’ whine email that basically told artists to limit their profits to 10% or lower) but I was lazy and figured I’d eventually make a sale if I just left my stuff up there. Nope. Occasional interest, no sales. Except to myself, of course, when I wanted to enter local art shows. But even there…I had a stretched canvas print arrive damaged and it took two weeks and multiple photos to convince them it was damaged by the way it was packaged. To their credit the second one arrived fine…tho whatever machine they use in their packaging procedure *also* cut the heavy plastic protecting it in the same place as it had damaged the first.

    I signed up on Zazzle at the same time (couldn’t resist putting my stuff on all kinds of things!), and have actually made a handful of sales there and on deviantArt and RedBubble (yeah, I know they have a reputation, too, but they don’t give me guff about my pop art), so once I read your article here it was no problem to gank my FAA account. Thanks for the info! 🙂

    Reply
  46. Claudia
    December 18, 2015

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever considered perhaps using Instagram as a tool for marketing and sale of your artwork?

    Reply
    • David
      December 21, 2015

      I created an account months back and I have hardly used it. I hate that it all has to be done on my phone or iPad. Do you think it is an effective marketing tool?

      Dave

      Reply
      • Claudia
        December 22, 2015

        In all honesty I haven’t really dabbled with it much. But I did read an interesting article in Vogue magazine about artists using instagram as a platform from which to launch their careers. Here’s the link. http://www.vogue.com/872448/buying-and-selling-art-on-instagram/

        Reply
        • David
          December 29, 2015

          Thank you for the link. I will definitely read it.

          Happy New Year!

          Reply
  47. Keith
    January 4, 2016

    Hello and Happy New Year David,
    So glad I am a stickler for doing research as I was considering the use of FAA, until I came across this blog article just in the nick of time (drama inflection deliberate). I am researching many options for getting word out of my work, and now this is one I can cross off my list. Ultimately it comes down to, if you want to be successful and taken seriously as a professional artist, it takes work. Hard but necessary work. There are no easy outs. Thanks for the article, Dave
    Keith

    Reply
    • Liz
      January 23, 2016

      Thanks Dave, You saved me in the nick of time. I joined last night and uploaded two of my favorite photos.
      I call FAA today to ask a few questions. I wanted to know how much they marked up the products and just
      could not get an answer. The woman on the phone, (after making me wait for 2 minutes to get an answer)
      simply said over & over again, “you set your own price”. What kind of an answer is that??? I got a bad feeling
      after that. We all deserve to be treated with respect, no matter who we’re talking to. So, after reading what you
      wrote, and reading what others wrote, I am canceling my account tomorrow and hope to get my 2 photos out
      of their hands. Maybe Etsy is a good way to go, and the more I think about it, I am going to finally create my
      own web-site through go-daddy.
      Thanks for helping us all.

      Reply
      • Paul
        February 4, 2016

        Liz, the woman you spoke to was correct, you do set your own prices.
        For each print size or item you decide on your mark up, the FAA has its base charges, it will then add your mark up to determine the cost to the purchaser. You can change the mark up at any time either for individual or for future uploads

        Reply
        • David
          February 4, 2016

          The problem remains how much they charge. Sure you can mark it up as much as you want but they charge so much for it there is no more “meat on the bone” as the guys from American Pickers would say. People are only going to pay so much. Their business model sounds great but in reality they are the only ones making any money and they are doing it on the backs of the artists and photographers.

          While they might not have the customer base I have found the pricing on sites like http://www.vivyx.com are MUCH more fair and reasonable allowing the artist to actually make some money.

          Reply
  48. ana
    January 27, 2016

    Actually I had a discussion about this with people on FAA ( I am also a member). Some seem to be very satisfied with what they get for their money. I think FAA makes big money on their artist’s backs. And also, I think that they’re marketing certain types of art, thus “educating” the art public in certain directions. So, FAA is more a site for commercial sellable art. Just my opinion.

    Reply
  49. DRL
    February 6, 2016

    Almost hit the go premium today and after trying to find any telephone number/s?? didn’t happen all FAA Has is a question and answer thing?? (what) a so called hugeeeee business and being the top worldwide place to be and you cannot contact them by telephone but only have questions answered (not good).

    Dave i had posted here along time back saying to contact me if you wanted to anyway further to this (yes iam still a member there,get this iam not bragging whatsoever but i have been told by many yyyyyyy,that my photography is amazing but to date February 05/2016 not 1 sale ???? and counting .
    now after doing so much research on FAA this needs to be answered for many iam sure if you go to their home page (and i personally) challenge anybody out there to go to contact us and check out their corporate address or should i say they have two but say one?? using google earth copy the corp address into google earth and see where it brings you, to it might surprise anybody it did for myself.

    here are the exact addressed in the contact us
    feel free to use both or even try fine art america and see what you get it will surprise anybody (trust me)
    here is the information.
    enter into their database of q and a i did this
    where can i call
    my answer was this >> There are no matches in our FAQ database for your search term.
    (headquarters)>>>Q: where can i call headquarters
    A:1:Where is Fine Art America located? I CLICKED YES
    A: 1:Where is Fine Art America located?
    A: YES THE REPLY IS THIS>> Fine Art America has production facilities in North Carolina (US), Georgia (US), California (US), and Glasgow (UK). Our corporate headquarters are in Santa Monica, California.
    Now head to the bottom of their page (same one) and see where they say corp is and this is what is says also?

    Corporate Headquarters Fine Art America 2415 N. Geneva Terrace Chicago, IL 60614 <<<<< NOW) copy and paste all of this into google earth and see where it brings you to and notice the building (wow) for such a huge company what a huge office right? (WRONG) Don't take my word for it google earth it.
    now take a special notice at the places around it and you will find (MANY) Local art galleries around this area now is this just well maybe its because its a art city?? who knows or does FAA use some of the talented artists work and sell the work to these folks as well??? the answer remains.
    Just saying just maybe the F.B.I. Needs to get in on this FAA
    do your homework folks and you will see in both addresses (art galleries all around both and nothing on g earth for just fine art america except a fine art gallery or art school can't remember that last one?.
    anyway run from this place its a scam and the ones that stick up for it are the ones who get on side with abby trust me she works wonders with her favorite peeps… been there seen it and no thanks.
    all that worries me now is just how many (if any) have been sold under the table if any of course this i do not know but just have a good look at flicker and what they have done and i speak from experience alot of my images are gone from there, and never seen again that i had up there and this 1tb of space they can keep another way for y to make huge dollars..
    whew!!1 glad to get this off my chest and will not waste a dime on this site.
    just me…
    i have also seen way to many people who just drop by and say oh its great i guess you get the best sales in there by a certain person/s right? I know this for sure eeeeeeeeee…. i dont hate FAA but something is not right with this and one day iam sure we will all hear about it in the news.
    mark these words if it makes this forum…

    Thanks and to all artists all the very best.
    DRL

    Reply
  50. CJS Hayward
    February 18, 2016

    At the risk of provoking a response of, “But that was the topic this post was addressing!”, it would be nice besides the critique of FAA to suggest what else instead, maybe a listing of 5-6 best picks of “If you fit profile X, you should consider provider Y”. And add a prominent link at the top.

    Reply
    • David
      February 19, 2016

      That would be really hard for me to say. I am an artist and can only look at it from a personal perspective. The post was really about my personal experiences with FAA both positive and negative. beyond that I leave it at that and allow the reader to do their own research and decide what is best for them. At the time I posted it I did not even have any other source lined up. I just need to get my work off of their site ASAP.

      When people ask what alternative means I have found I am happy to tell them what I am doing in the time since but again, I am not a researcher and I am not sure I would be doing anyone any favors buy suggesting alternative means without having used them personally myself. If I did I would then be putting my name and reputation behind someone I myself have never used. Would you do that if they never actually earned your trust and endorsement? I trust readers to do their own research which is exactly how so many people found this post.

      Appreciate your comment.

      Dave

      Reply
  51. Ronald or mrtacpans
    February 20, 2016

    here is my idea..show off as many pictures as you like..put your own markings over every picture..Next on your websight let them get the same pictures to fineart and design it and pass it thru your web sight this way you know everybody and no pictures can be stolen when they go to fine art to print you redo the picture just for each individual… it wont be a water mark itll be part of your marking with the original only on your web

    Reply
    • David
      February 25, 2016

      Not sure I am following your suggestion but if I am I do not think that would work. The images that FAA displays are the print images you upload when you create the product. So, if you upload an image which you pre-watermark, it will print with that watermark which your customer certainly does not want. That it the problem with FAA. They do not like the way it looks on their site. They feel it makes both you and them look bad and they feel it discourages customers from buying. So while they discourage you from even protecting your images they reluctantly give you the option of putting it on there but do so in a way that is very insignificant and really does not protect anything depending on the design of the image. It is more about them and how they feel it looks than protecting the artist’s or photographer’s work.

      Dave

      Reply
  52. aura
    February 26, 2016

    i recently opened a faa free account , im not really an artist but i love to dabble with digital workings, i loaded several pics up and got visitors , after reading this item i decided to look into these visitors, it was the same 3 ip address every time , found it rather strange that within 2 mins of loading a pic the same ip address looked at my work , used the google image search and yes one of my images was being used elsewhere , like i say im not a genuine artist as such but found it quite hurtful our easy it was to copy off FAA, my heart goes out to the genuine artists who spend hours on there work only for someone to come along and copy it ,

    Reply
  53. Adam
    March 2, 2016

    Hi Dave,

    I searched today for review on FAA. I re-opened account with them, but something whispered to my ear to do more due diligence and found your website. There are so many websites out there who wants to “help” artists (themselves(?)) to make money. Going solo is the best but it`s hard too. The good thing is that there is no one between and all you earn belongs to you.
    I upload my art to Online Galleries, but it`s the same, one must do due diligence because there are many of them who make profit on you and payments are delayed. The thing is those are Galleries with art and pictures worth hundreds or thousands, not a few greens. I don`t like volume and to be cheap, but as a beginner in the Galleries I put my work for lower price. Instead of $1000 or $2500, I price $300 or $500 for very similar work from more established artist.
    Anyway, my question for you is: How do you make money on eBay or Amazon? Can everyone be on Amazon? I`ve heard they are very, very strict when comes to art. You must be known and good. As for eBay, that one is very discouraging. See from china:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CANVAS-PRINT-Home-Decor-Wall-Pictures-Animal-Lion-Abstract-Modern-Art-Cheap-/252065274058?var=&hash=item3ab042d8ca:m:mptTKlh9O4e1d7oAqYfF5Cw

    How one can compete with them?

    I look forward to receiving your reply. Thanks

    Reply
    • David
      March 3, 2016

      Adam,
      Thanks for the comment. I am certainly no expert and can only share my own opinions and experience.

      As far as what others charge on their sites or in galleries, it really all depends on the art and the artist. Once you have established yourself and your name then you can begin to charge more for your work. Till then it is a struggle. I honestly get depressed sometimes when I go into small galleries along the NJ Boardwalk and they are selling these beautifully painted and framed seascapes for like $75 or $100. All original oil paintings mind you. When you think of the time and talent it takes to create that it is sad that is all someone is willing to pay.

      Second. In regards to what you said about being “cheap”. While I understand where you are coming from here are a couple of things to think about:

      • From a money making standpoint. You have a much better chance of actually making some money off your work if you create your original and then sell less expensive (didn’t use the word “cheap”) giclee’ copies of your work. You can continue to generate money off of the same image and initial investment of time.

      • By getting more copies of your work out there there is more chance someone will see it and ask “who did that?” or “where did you get that?”. That helps gain you name recognition. Likewise the more copies of a particular image that are out there the work and style gains a familiarity.

      • Also to that end while you are not asking a lot for your work by comparison, there are a lot of people who either do not want to pay $500 for a painting or simply can’t afford it. That is a missed opportunity to have your work displayed where someone can see it. I have tried to price copies of my work where I can make some money but they are also affordable. Perhaps this is “selling out” or going against the principles of other artists out there but I am in the business to make money and support my family with the tools I have. Technology has made it VERY easy for an artist to make copies of his work as well as merchandise it like never before with little to no up front investment other than time. Take advantage of it.

      • Finally on this point about being “cheap”. While I sell giclee’ prints of my work I refuse to sell anything on “cheap” stock. I only offer mine on high quality substrates. I offer nothing that I would not be happy with myself while trying to give my customers a wide variety of affordable options from stretched canvases on the high end to 235 gram photo paper on the low. I have yet to have someone be disappointed… or at least tell me as such.

      How do I make money on ebay and Amazon? While my goal of putting my work on those sites is certainly to make money that is also only part of it. The other part is exposure. There are a LOT of people shopping for stuff on those places and given the type of work I have been doing is more KISS, entertainment and sports. That is a good place to set up shop. I can’t tell you how many sales I have made on my web site or direct to customers who have found my work there and then contacted me. So in those cases I made money from them but not a sale directly though them at that point which is good because it allows me to keep more in my pocket.

      Yes, I believe anyone can be on Amazon but they make you jump through some hoops and their process of posting products is maddening and archaic IMO. That is another story. It has been a while since I have done it and do not recall the process but because I was posting products without UPC or ISBN (think that is what it is) numbers I had to set up a “brand” with them which numbers are then automatically assigned. It was a headache but can be done. I do not think it has anything to do with being known. I am not what you would call “Known” and I did it.

      That link is discouraging but again, what they are selling is giclee’ prints. They can sell copies and a lower cost and higher volume. They are also offering options which range in price. The higher your price the more you limit your potential audience and less volume and less rate of volume you will sell. Sure you might make more per piece but it will take you how much longer to sell it?

      How do you compete? That is a tough question but I would simply answer it with quality, originality and subject. Your quality has to be good to justify people paying for it. Your work has to be original to stand out from the rest and get attention. Your subject has to be something people want to see and pay for. More importantly you subject has to be something people are looking for.

      All that said you still need to plug your work. Build a web site. Start a blog (that is how you have seen my work isn’t it? ; )). build a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.)

      Hope that helps.
      Dave

      Reply
      • Sharon
        May 29, 2016

        Dave, too late for me, I just upgraded to a FAA website for $30 a year. My issue along with everything you have mentioned, is that I cannot find anywhere online etc that will print those products for me and ship to me for me to sell….like a middle man/wholesale printing company. They are all “drop ship” made to order now and only want me to link their site to my website. How/where do I go to build an inventory of products printed with my images to sell myself?
        Thank you for your time in educating us what your experience was with FAA.
        Sharon

        Reply
        • David
          May 31, 2016

          I have used http://www.vivyxprinting.com and have been very happy with their quality, prices and customer service. They do offer an online store similar to FAA where an artist or photographer can upload images and then see them in the various framing / printing options they offer. I do not think they have the installed customer base or the variety of options FAA has but is certainly more than enough. If you do not want to use their store front you do not have to. You can just keep all your work private and use them as your printer. They will print your orders and blind ship them to your customers for you. Best of all they guarantee the work so if there is a problem in shipping or an issue with the print itself they will print another and replace it at no cost to you. While as I said their prices are very good which leaves a lot more “meat on the bone” so to speak for the artist to actually make some money on their work, they do also offer deeper discounts for prints purchased in bulk as it sounds like you are looking for.

          Dave

          Reply
  54. Carla M Zwahlen
    March 4, 2016

    Hello, Dave,

    While researching online for companies to reproduce prints of my pastel paintings, I looked at FAA. Then I thought, perhaps a good would also be a good tool to sell prints of my work. When I found the information and instructions confusing, and I could not find the payment artists received for their work, I thought maybe it’s just me missing something.
    In my opinion, research is always beneficial. Voila – your article, FAA, the good- the bad- and the ugly. To date, all sales of my original paintings resulted from Exhibitions.
    Good title choice, I clicked and read. Glad I did. Thank you for the Information. Now I understand my something missing about payments and possible theft of artwork images is a valid concern. I Think I must rethink joining FAA. Again thank you for your inciteful article.
    Carla

    Reply
  55. Gary J
    March 13, 2016

    I had not heard of FAA until I read about a local artist in today’s paper. This has been a great discussion as I’ve scrolled through to the end… however, what is the percentage anyway? Lots of the posts on this thread talk about the “big” amount that FAA takes, making many pieces unaffordable, but no one actually shared their percentage. I’m just curious to I can compare with Etsy and others as I will not be opening an FAA site. Thanks for the insightful information.

    Reply
    • David
      March 14, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Gary. Glad you found it helpful.

      Tp answer your question, FAA’s “percentage” is not really a percentage per se’. They have a set cost for each product / size you choose. You then add your own percentage markup to it which determines the retail cost to your customer. They say you can add up to like a 100% markup or something like that and that is all yours. That sounds like a really great and lucrative deal but again, they charge SO much for the up front cost, once you add any sort of a decent markup for yourself on top of that it then becomes much too expensive for the average customer. So you are forced to make less / very little just to remain competitive while FAA makes most of the profit from your work. Yes they are providing the site, materials, labor and fulfillment but come on. They have nothing without the artists and photographers they rely on. No one is going to buy a blank canvas.

      Dave

      Reply
  56. Stan Bowman
    April 4, 2016

    David, there is some misunderstanding going on here. There are many sites like FAA where artists can post their images, and once posted anyone can do a screen grab of an image to use to print on T-Shirts or mugs or postcards or just to sell as prints. It is quite possible to get a screen grabbed reasonable 8×10 with fairly good detail. Placing a watermark may discourage some people from appropriating your images but anyone with skill in Photoshop can get rid of it. The only real protection against appropriation of your images is to not post at all, anywhere, not have a website.

    Reply
    • David
      April 4, 2016

      Stan,
      Appreciate the comment but I am not sure there is any “misunderstanding”. I think most people today do realize that anyone with some knowledge of Photoshop with the time and effort can go into an image and remove the watermark. Keep in mind however this is done with very mixed results depending on the watermark and the image. For instance if it is a small watermark down in the bottom right corner in an area of mostly color like my images that were on FAA it can be done very easily and effectively. If the watermark was bigger and more centralized, perhaps a series of logos or names over the image well then good luck with that.

      To your point however the question is what kind of effort should the site / business make to protect the images of the artists and photographers they rely on? Shouldn’t they give the artist the opportunity to protect their own images if they want? Your suggestion is no different than if these places were brick and mortar art galleries where the owners just leave the doors open, lights on and art unattended because after all, even if you put locks on the doors and put in an alarm system someone with a little knowledge and effort could still rob the place. So why bother right?

      Point is while many would happily go in and rob an unattended and un protected store, they certainly would think twice if it was locked and alarmed. Robbing it then would take some effort. Same goes with Watermarks. While you accurately stated, they are not infallible they certainly are a deterrent. Most people do not possess the knowledge of Photoshop to effectively remove the watermark so they will either not bother or just use it with it on there. If they do it is up to the online printers who are producing these items to do the legal and ethical thing and not print copyrighted material the customer clearly does not own. Certainly no one wants to buy something with a watermark on there anyway.

      In this day and age it is unrealistic to expect artists not to post images of their their work online. It is an important key to building a following and a business. If it is on their own site then it is up to them to protect their images themselves. If it is on a site like FAA well they have an obligation IMO to do as much as they can to protect their images for them. Not doing it and not giving the artist the tools or choice because you do not like how it looks on your site when you know people are stealing them is unacceptable. Sure this is their right to do so but it is also the right of the artist to go elsewhere… and they should.

      Dave

      Reply
  57. Stan Bowman
    April 4, 2016

    David, over the last 5-6 years I have had this same discussion about watermarking images on several forums and I have not changed my opinion. I still feel a watermark is pretty much worthless. You may argue that some people will be deterred by a watermark but I think that those who really are out to steal and make money from your images are not going to be put off by a watermark that is relatively easy to edit out. They will have skilled people to do this. But what it may deter are people shopping for prints on FAA that are put off by a watermark that intrudes on the experience of the image. I think FAA’s concern is it discourages purchases, and I think that should also be the artists concern.

    FAA does offer watermarking so it is not like they are unconcerned with protecting the works of artists. But looking through FAA I found very few artists using their watermark option and I don’t use it myself. It seems like your disagreement is with where they put it, not with the lack of it. But then I really wonder if the placement of a watermark is a good reason to decide to use or not use FAA. But then you seem to have decided it is.

    More important to me is the sales potential through FAA. I must say I have I have not found FAA to be a good sales venue for my work so far, having only generated one sale in 7 years. Many have argued they have too many artists which dilutes sales. But then also I have not done much promotion yet to bring in visitors and potential buyers to my FAA site. A common misunderstanding about FAA by artists is that FAA is a promotional site but FAA is not about promotion. The artist has to drive in traffic. FAA is a fulfillment operation offering a wide variety of fulfillment possibilities, much more than individual artists can provide.

    Reply
    • David
      April 4, 2016

      I am not sure how you can say it is “worthless”. Think of it this way. You have 100 people. For the sake of argument we will split them down the middle. 50 of them are professional thieves who have the knowledge and ability to rip you off (that percentage would be VERY high IMO). 50 of them are opportunists. They are not professionals and do not have the knowledge, ability and frankly the time to deal with removing a watermark from an image but they would gladly take and use a nice quality image which is unprotected.

      By putting a watermark on there you instantly cut your chances of being ripped off in half. Sure, in the case of those who may not be deterred they will do it either way but why hand the keys to them and everyone else? At least make them work for it and while you do you also cut down the amount of other people who will freely use your work. That is far from “worthless” and I guarantee the percentage of people who are intentionally “out to steal” and have the knowledge and ability to remove the watermark is FARRRR less than those who do not and would be deterred. By not putting one you only increase your chances of being ripped off. That is not “worthless”.

      You are correct in that FAA worries that it discourages purchases and they also told me they do not like the way it looks on their site. Regardless, should this not be the choice of the artist? If he or she wants to run the risk of losing a sale because they chose to effectively protect their work then that should be their decision. I disagree that a potential customer does not have the ability to see right though that and realize it will not be on the print they purchase and receive.

      Yes, they do offer watermarking but it is ineffective and has been proven as such. It was brought to their attention and in so many words they said they do not care. So no, I disagree and do feel they are unconcerned with protecting the work of their artists myself included. They only care about their own sales and how it may make their site look. If the artist is getting ripped off, who cares?

      You are correct that my main issue with them was their lack of flexibility as well as the quality and size of the images they display. I used Zazzle as an example of effectively protecting their images. The un-watermarked image is big enough to see but not so big that you would be able to do anything with it. When you click to zoom in to see the detail, that larger image is watermarked with a big circle “Z” over the whole thing. Removing one that size would be nearly impossible given how large the contrasting areas are. It is certainly not worth the trouble.

      You question if the placement is a good reason to decide not to use FAA? When the placement is useless leaving 100% of the main image uncovered and basically unprotected giving the viewer an 11″ x 11″ image without any protection whatsoever then I say yes. It has been years since I have taken my work from there and I am STILL finding people using them and selling them on products. That’s not a good enough reason for you or would you have just allowed the source of these images to remain?

      Dave

      Reply
  58. Stan Bowman
    April 4, 2016

    Well, I guess my only other comment is to say if anyone feels that watermarking is important and gives them protection then they certainly should do it. As for me I don’t believe that so I shall continue to abstain from watermarking. As for FAA I find them to offer a good POD site with lots of features so I will continue with them at least for now to see if it can generate some sales. Time will tell.

    Reply
    • David
      April 4, 2016

      To each his or her own. I was merely trying to share my experience with others that might find it helpful.

      All I can say about FAA is I have been much more successful and have been able to maintain a much higher profit margin selling on my own though my site, ebay and Amazon. Marketing aside they simply do not leave enough “meat on the bone” so to speak for the artist or photographer to make any real money when they do make a sale.

      Best of luck to you. Thanks for the comments!

      Dave

      Reply
  59. Stan Bowman
    April 5, 2016

    Yes, I agree with you about FAA. I have not come across anyone who says they are or have done well there although I think some artists have. But I think that marketing online works best if one has multiple sites starting with your own well designed web site, Ebay, Amazon, Satchi, RedBubble, Absolute Arts, Jolaf, Zazzle, etc., etc. It is just that it takes a lot of time to keep these current. Regarding FAA I am still trying to “break the code” to figure out if there is a strategy for increasing hits and sales.

    Best of luck to you.

    Reply
  60. michele palazzo
    April 13, 2016

    I had an account with them opened couple of months ago, at my first selling they close my account and canceled the purchase of my customer with no explanation.
    I contacted them with their form, via phone, on facebook and twitter and never get any answer. Totally unreliable, worst customer care ever or a scam? I dare you to try them!

    Reply
  61. Ron Fleishman
    May 14, 2016

    I’ve been with Fine Art America for nearly two years. Here are my stats: Over 1.6 million views. Over 1500 followers. All told over 250,000 likes and favorites, which is basically the same thing as tweets on Twitter. I’ve also had about a dozen sales. So what’s the bottom line? Miserable!! I dare anybody to tell me they’ve been treated worse than I have. I’ve talked to many people about this and they think the main reason I’m getting dumped on, is Fine Art America doesn’t want their inner circle of photographers and artists to have to compete with me. Yes, FAA plays favorites BIG TIME!! The Google Search Engines have been kind to me. Last I looked I was the “World’s Most Underrated Photographer” and also if you Google in “World’s Most Colorful Artist” a Jimi Hendrix piece was one of the ones shown at the top of page 1 on Google.

    Getting back to Fine Art America, they’ve stiffed me out of my commission on my last two sales…I’m no where to be found on any of their search engines including “most colorful artist”…I’ve never even once have had a feature photo even though they hand them out like snacks to EVERYBODY else….they’ve turned virtually all the established members there against me. I rarely get a peep now from any of the regulars there. Most of my following are long time fans from other sites I posted on and almost all of them like going through my whole gallery. That was until FAA make my site very slow and bounced the pieces around to make it more difficult to click “next.” They also block followers now from giving me “likes” quite often.

    Meanwhile a close friend of mine bought a few pieces of my work last year. She was charged $22 for shipping and when the work arrived one piece was somewhat smeared, another one was cropped out badly and a third one was rolled up in a ball. My friend was going to cancel, but FAA told her she would have to pay shipping charges again. All in all I would recommend that Art Collectors stay totally clear of FAA and artists to join ONLY if they have close friends or family
    high up the ladder at FAA!

    Reply
    • David
      May 16, 2016

      Ron,
      Sorry to have made you create a second, albeit a shorter post. Your first one was not lost. I just do not always get chance to approve them right away. I need to approve them to avoid SPAM or people posting inappropriate or generally rude things.

      I appreciate the comments I get including yours which is now up.

      Thanks,
      Dave

      Reply
  62. Tony Mallitti
    May 16, 2016

    I registered at Fine Art America for the sole purpose of being able to comment on the work of my friend Ron Fleishman.

    Everything he says is true. And lately we don’t download profile photos when visiting his site because FAA ruins them, I think intentionally. For example they chop off the heads of Ron’s woman followers or alter the photos to make them look lewd.

    And yes it’s true that Fine Art America plays favorites shamelessly. Last year one member of their inner circle sold a pencil sketch of a roll of toilet paper. lol

    And, Dave thanks for posting Ron’s review.

    Reply
  63. Ron Fleishman
    May 20, 2016

    Fine Art America has hit an all time low. I shouldn’t be surprised that they didn’t notify me of a sale I made. The piece is called “Dusk With Attitude.” The sale was probably made months ago. I found out because yesterday while doing a periodical check of the site, there were three different people who had congratulated me on this sale. When I brought this to the attention of FAA they said I can only communicate by email from the site with them…..as in…send emails to people who have always ignored me. They were using stalling tactics. Within several minutes of my phone call they deleted the posts where I was congratulated. Fortunately I have people who saw the remarks before they were deleted. One friend told me he photographed the people who congratulated me as well. So Fine Art America has been caught red-handed! Of course the scary thing about this; it’s likely they make a practice of this. How many other times have I not been notified. How many other people have had sales they weren’t told about??
    In my humble opinion I think Fine Art America is a MUST TO AVOID!

    Reply
  64. Ron Fleishman
    May 20, 2016

    I made a couple of mistakes and have to make some corrections. As much as I dislike Fine Art America I would never intentionally post lies. The name of the piece I believe Fine Art America didn’t notify me of, is called “Sunset on the Rocks.” No comments have been deleted. But FAA needs to tell me why I wasn’t notified of this sale.

    Reply
  65. James Clifton
    May 23, 2016

    I nearly made the mistake of becoming a member of Fine Art America not too long ago. They had hundreds of reviews with ALL of them a 5 star rating. At first I was like “WOW this must be a fabulous site.” But then I thought maybe this was too good to be true. Sure enough after doing some further checking, it turned out those reviews were all fake. The link below is just one of many against this the company who gave Fine Art America all these fake reviews….a company called Trust Pilot.
    http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jan/26/fake-reviews-plague-consumer-websites

    Suffice to say any company who has to rely on fake reviews to try to boost their reputation has to be a pretty rotten company. I’m glad I never joined Fine Art America.

    Reply
  66. Spencer
    June 7, 2016

    I’m a photographer and looking for a way to get the word out. I have tried Facebook, emailing and even had some shows. Very few sales as I live on the “retirement coast” in Florida where if it’s not free, no one is interested. I have a store on my WordPress site that I have set up through Woo Commerce. I can control the thumbnails and watermarks. I’m lucky enough to own a 44″ Epson printer so I can do my own production. Not looking to get into framing, however I have found clearbags.com where I get the show kits and that makes it easy for one to produce their own product with minimal effort. Would you have any suggestions on how to market in this manner? I read Alan Briot’s book “How to market fine art photography” and he suggests doing traveling art shows. Have you ever tried these? Thanks in advance…

    Reply
    • David
      June 9, 2016

      Thanks for the comment. To answer your question the only real “marketing” I do is through social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I have thought about doing some of those types of shows but have never gotten off my butt to try. Just such a daunting task and investment of money when you are really starting with 0 stock or anything else it takes. Bags, backer boards, tent, prints in various sizes and substrates, ability to accept credit cards, tables, means of displaying your work, etc. The thought just overwhelms me and I never get there.

      Dave

      Reply
  67. March Diamond
    July 9, 2016

    It’s common knowledge that Fine Art America plays favorites. But I didn’t realize until today, how far they took it. I’ll put it like this: When going through the work of one of their favorites, things move very fast. Otherwise their site is slower than molasses….much slower!

    Reply
  68. Janie
    July 11, 2016

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. And wouldn’t you know….I had JUST moved up to Premium and was working on my Pixels website…then realized I need to look into this more deeply…and found YOU! I am going to call my credit card company and ask them to block the charge.

    And I appreciate knowing about the vivyxprinting site. I will be studying the website to understand how it works for prints. It’s being responsible for that which I did NOT want to do. So this website recommendation helps.

    Now I’ll have to figure out

    1) how to create my own website for sales!! Big job.

    2) how to do the watermarks.

    I do regret customers not being able to put my designs on a tote, for example. But so be it.

    Reply
    • David
      July 26, 2016

      Sorry for my delayed response. I appreciate your comment. Glad the info helped.

      To the things you need to figure out.

      1. Look into WordPress. I am far from a web designer and know very little about HTML but did all of my sites including this one in WordPress. It is relatively easy. There are templates you can choose from which you then customize to your liking. You can keep it simple or dig a little deeper to add your own flair to it with some simple HTML snippets. If you go that route I would recommend getting a template that is WooCommerce compatible. That is a WordPress add on that is makes it very easy to add the e-commerce functionality to your site. That was one area I needed a little help with on my site because the template I chose was not WordPress compatible natively. Something I learned along the way.

      2. Watermarks are easy. Assuming you are making images for display and sharing on the internet. Open your image in Photoshop. Make sure you do a “save as” so not to copy over your original. Very important. I usually add something like [web] to the name. Then reduce both the resolution to like 72 dpi and the overall size to something smaller. What size is up to you but I would say no bigger than 10″. Next create a second top layer which is where you can put your text or logo. If it is a darker image use a lighter white color and vice versa. Then reduce the transparency of that layer to a level which you can see the watermark but also does not obstruct the image. I would then save that file as a layered PSD which will allow you to grab that top layer and copy it to other images. Keeps you from having to do the same thing over and over again. Then save your file as a flat jpeg. Once you select jpeg it will flatten it as it saves and new version with .jpg attached. I would also recommend using the “save for web” option when doing that. Reduces the files size by like a third over a jpeg and gives a potential thief even less info to work with.

      Hope that helps.

      DW

      Reply
  69. Brenda
    December 13, 2016

    Do you have a phone number for FFA? I removed some of my images from my FAA site and they still show up on Google Search! UGH! I sent an email with zero response.

    Reply
    • David
      December 13, 2016

      I’m sorry I do not. All of my correspondence with them was via e-mail as I recall.

      DW

      Reply
  70. Wellington Caldwel
    January 6, 2017

    Hello

    I am just starting out. What would be the best way I can market my artwork?

    Can you refer me to someone that can help me market my art from A to Z.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • David
      January 10, 2017

      I am honestly not sure if there is anyone who will market your art from A to Z really. At least none that I know of. There are artists reps who will work to sell your talents in an effort to sector you freelance work but I do not think there is anyone who is out there who will just do all of the work of selling your work and making a name for you. Most of these reps are also very particular as to who they take on. I am sure there are people who will be happy to sell your work once you do make a name for yourself but until then you really have to do it yourself. Artists today do have a distinct advantage with social media. Never has it been easier for an artist or photographer to reach the entire world with just a few clicks or a mouse or taps of a touch screen. You just need to make sure your work is good, unique and something people will want to talk about, share and hopefully buy. You need to do the work though if you want to succeed.

      Sites like FAA certainly will not do that kind of thing for you. To them you are just one potential source of income in a whole sea of artists and photographers who want to make some money off of their work through their site. unfortunately FAA takes most of it in the end.

      DW

      Reply
  71. Lynn Garwood
    January 6, 2017

    I had a terrible run in with Fine Art America. First off they cut my profits in half. I had to email them and their response basically was an oops, all fixed on our end. Secondly they took my signature, chopped it in half, mirrored that half on the side and bottom of the canvas. Which basically tells me that have very inexperienced people working in their layout department. I had many emails with them and they basically refuse to fix the problem. I have made it a campaign to spread the word about them. They are TERRIBLE!!!

    Reply
  72. Adrian
    January 28, 2017

    Just found your post and I’m wondering if this is still accurate here in 2017 now? I just signed up a couple weeks ago for the membership now after reading/finding your post kinda has me concerned? Would you suggest to add the fine art watermark? I usually don’t because faa said it may turn buyers away. I find that hard to believe from faa because I’ve seen a lot of people sell their work on the announcement page with the watermark.. I’m also thinking about going away from faa because I haven’t sold anything except one bag but that was from a family member. I feel faa isn’t a highly looked into website for customers to go to. I haven’t been able to find any website for that matter that has high traffic volume. I refuse to go to stock images. Any advice and any answers to my questions please I truly would appreciate it -Adrian

    Reply
    • David
      January 30, 2017

      Adrian,
      Thanks for the comment. To answer your question I have not used them since so I really do not have any first hand knowledge to share. From what people (along with yourself) have written here it seems to me that they haven’t changed. The fact that FAA is still saying that it may turn away buyers tells me that they haven’t and are still encouraging people not to use it to protect their work simply because they do not like the way it looks. As far as I am concerned that excuse is BS! People can see past that and understand that it is there to protect the artist’s work. It is not like it is uncommon. They simply do not care if people use their site to steal your work because they do not care. Why should they? They are still not only making the majority of money on the backs of the artists and photographers they rely on but are also still getting the web site hits from people do not buy and only use them as a source to find and steal images. If all the images were properly marked then people would probably stop going there for this reason. Less hits = less ad revenue for them.

      Personally I would always recommend the watermark but as stated what FAA offers is not nearly good enough. It is not like you can even add it yourself because if you did it would be printed as the preview image is generated from the print file you upload.

      I have never offered my work on stock sites. I hate the idea of giving up control of my working files and really not knowing how is using it and where it is being used. Even if they do buy the “enhanced license” you are still only getting a small fraction of that that image is worth if it is eventually used in some kind of national ad campaign. No way I would do that.

      Hope that helps.
      DW

      Reply
  73. Marie
    February 5, 2017

    Hey David,

    Thanks for this – very insightful and helped me decide against using FAA. Wishing you many sales and happiness.

    Marie

    Reply
  74. Adrian
    March 1, 2017

    thank you so much David and yes it has helped a lot! I feel the same way you do about stock websites just freaks me out. When i sent my first comment to you in January I only sold the one and now we are in to March and still haven’t sold anything. I don’t want to become discouraged in selling my work because I truly do enjoy photography. I’m just lost as to what to do and where to sell it? I’ve been told about 500px but again it just doesn’t seem busy enough. Or maybe the style of photography I do is over populated lol. I’ve considered buying a domain name and just setting up a web page online and try selling it that way, I’m worried though again nothing will sell. I sent you my website with FAA or pixels once you sign up with a membership it switches you over to a pixels thing that is still linked to FAA. Any feed back if my work is horrible or good or if it just FAA not getting me any sales I’d appreciate. I don’t want to give up or loose hope I’ve already put so much time and effort in it.
    I do appreciate you getting back to me and all the great advice you have given. Thank you.

    Reply
    • David
      March 1, 2017

      I would absolutely encourage you to set up your own site. It is far more personal and gives people a better place to learn about you and connect with you. The fact that we are talking is case in point. I unfortunately do not blog enough but it is very useful in creating searchable content. Having a web site with a blog is a great way for people to find you and your work. A web site along with other social media pages like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are almost essential these days. You just need to stay on them and promote yourself. I would not rely on or wait for FAA or anyone else to promote or sell your work for you. You have to do it yourself if you want to be successful.

      I also would not even do any of it with the belief that you are going to make a ton of money. Not a comment on your work or anything like that. It is just that it is very difficult but more importantly it should all be done for the love of it. The rest of it should just fall where it may. If you make some money that is wonderful but I just would not make that my sole focus. Your “hope” should not rise or fall on sales or the opinions of others. Do what you think is best to your own standards and satisfaction. I am staring at a plaque on my wall right now with a portion of Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address which speaks to the heart of what I am saying. I am sure you have heard it but it reads:

      “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

      Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

      Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

      And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

      Very wise words.

      DW

      Reply
      • Ben Purvis
        May 1, 2017

        Thank you so much for writing and replying to everyone so honestly and detailed. The last thing I saw that you were using as a print service was vivyx. Are you still using them and have you had any issues with them or their quality since you mentioned them back in 2015? Sorry if you have already talked about this since but I’ve simply run out of time to continue reading this whole thread. I use fine arts studio online for my website (I have for years and they are a great site) and have yet to check into wether they’re offering a POD service yet or not but I definitely need to get into the print game as my originals are just too costly for most in today’s economy. I was looking at faa but this has definitely steered me away from them. My next option would be fine art storefronts. But I’m still looking into their details. Wondering how hard it is for you to keep track of print orders you receive and how they’re received. Is there a program they order through that you have linked to your site that streamlines it all into one place or are you having to just check emails on the regular?
        Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
        Ben

        Reply
        • David
          May 1, 2017

          Ben,
          Hello there. Glad you found the post helpful. To answer your questions:

          • Yes I am still using Vivyx for my printing / fulfillment and am still extremely happy with them. Great service, great quality (which is guaranteed), great prices. Only real complaint is they do not ship international. I have to have those orders shipped to me first and then fill out the customs form myself and ship it.

          • As far as tracking orders it really is not all that hard. On my site I use WooCommerce. Generally I am alerted that there is an order when I receive the PayPal payment notification. For some reason my web site does not alert me till after I log in which is pretty useless at that point. I then use WooCommerce on the back end of my site to manage the order. If the order comes in through eBay I just log in and add a note when I place the print order and the print order number so I know when and if it has been done. Then when I receive the shipment notification from Vivyx, I log back in and add the tracking number which completes it. Basically the same process for Amazon. Only thing that sometimes gets tricky around the holiday season when I have more orders to juggle is when I receive the shipment notifications is figuring out where the sales came from. Not a big deal though. Just log in each and look for the name if I am not sure.

          Other than that yes, most of my immediate notifications no mater which source the sale comes from come though my e-mail. Given that most of us get our e-mails on our phones as well these days it is not a big deal to check them.

          DW

          Reply
          • Ben Purvis
            May 10, 2017

            Thanks so much for the reply. Lots of useful info and greatly appreciated. So I’m definitely leaning toward Vivyx especially because I see they do the pro artist sellers thing now. http://www.vivyxprinting.com/Pro-Artist-Seller-Program.asp
            Do you use this program with them? Seems a lot like what FAA does except the artist gets paid more. Obviously that’s the attractive part. One thing I’m confused about is the “blind shipping”. I’m assuming they mean it’s shipped to the customer without all vivyx’s info plastered to it. Is that correct? I’m also gathering from what I’ve read is that to qualify to use that program, I have to have made $100 worth of purchases through them before I can setup that program (which I’d have to pay for myself just to start up) and then hopefully make $100 in sales with them yearly to keep going. I definitely like that I can buy in bulk through them to have prints on hand at shows. All and all, it sounds like a good deal as long as I’m selling enough. thanks again for your time.

          • David
            May 11, 2017

            Keep an eye on Vivyx. I have heard they will be re-designing their web site and I have been speaking with them about how they may best serve artists and photographers in a mutually beneficial way. …Unlike FAA who are the only ones who seem to benefit from their business model. I think they want to be able to offer people a better alternative to FAA which is smart.

            I have directed the good folks at Vivyx to this tread to read all of your comments. I think it is a great resource for them as they grow knowing what people don’t like about FAA and what they would like. So, let them hear from you!

            Regarding the Pro Seller program, As you said once you sell over a certain amount you are automatically put into it and then whenever you sell something not only is it discounted but then I receive a credit as well. I don’t remember doing anything specific to enroll. It really is nice. I usually just let the credits build up and then if I need something for myself I apply it basically getting it for free.

            Yes, “blind shipping” basically means when your customer receives the print there is nothing on it or in it letting them know where it came from. Only thing the label says is “print center”. Not sure about everyone else but I prefer it this way. Occasionally when one is shipped to me I find one of their brochures inside but that is not the normal practice. I think they are usually inserted when things are being brought directly through their site but occasionally someone accidentally includes one in mine. Not a big deal. I have yet to use there site as an outlet. Probably should.

            On the sales tax, I only collect it if the sale comes from my state. Otherwise I don’t. My site, eBay and Amazon are all set up to collect it automatically in that instance. Not sure if the laws have changed I am now supposed to collect it no matter where the sale originates but that is the way I have been doing it. Hopefully that is still the legal and correct way.

            DW

          • Ben Purvis
            May 10, 2017

            Oh and one other thing I forgot to ask, how do you figure up sales tax? Is it based off your location or the buyer’s location? I’ve never been able to find a firm answer for that, even for originals sold online from a home studio.

  75. dipti mali
    April 25, 2017

    hi David,

    Yesterday I uploaded a image over there but was not happy with their watermark.
    I was trying to get more info on watermark when I came across our site.
    Thanks for sharing your experience…I immediately removed my image.
    Will check some other options.

    thanks,
    Dipti

    Reply
  76. Robert
    June 8, 2017

    Hi David, thanks for this article. This is such a tough one for me. Recently our local paper ran a story on this theft after seeing my FB posts with vendors stealing my work from FAA. I have enjoyed working with FAA for the reasons you mention but am considering finding another option. You make some great points here.

    http://www.cltampa.com/arts-entertainment/visual-art/article/20861015/steal-this-art-art-theft-hits-home-for-st-pete-artists

    Reply
  77. Peter
    July 17, 2017

    I recently joined as a premium member and while I’ve had some technical glitches, I’ve managed to get my gallery up and running. After reading some of the comments though, I’m worried about the trustworthiness of their sales reporting. Do you think they really conceal peoples sales?

    Reply
  78. Pal B
    August 6, 2017

    Hi David,
    Thanks so much for this useful and timely post.
    We were about to cosider FAA but will pass now.
    Thanks also to all the comments. They make for a wealth of information for a newbie like us.
    Can you also tell us what service do you use for your website hosting? Is it wordpress? Do you have any comments about using squarespace for opening an online art store? Best, Pal.

    Reply
    • David
      August 12, 2017

      My site is hosted with Godaddy. WordPress is not a hosting service but a means of designing and developing a web site via the use of customizable templates. There may be more to it than that but that is my complete understating of it and I did use WordPress to design / develop my site.

      As far as the store / e-commerce goes there is a WordPress plugin called WooCommerce which makes it very easy to integrate the e-commerce end of your site into it. You just have to make sure that the template you choose is WooCommerce compatible. Unfortunately mine was not and had to have someone help me make it so.

      I have no experience with Squarespace unfortunately so I cannot be much help as far as that goes.

      DW

      Reply
  79. Marianne
    September 24, 2017

    Thank you so much for providing this information. I was considering a subscription to FAA but my main concern was whether they had safeguards in place that would prevent my work from being copied. Your article was exactly what I needed to see.

    Reply
  80. Helena
    September 29, 2017

    I’m so glad that this was shared by in art friend in a group feed. This has just driven the entire Point home about how these group sites that rip us all off are just bad for artists as individuals. By the way I’ve heard of a story where an artist found out that fine art America was not even paying him and selling his artwork when a friend of his said look what I just bought from you from FAA and he realize they never even bothered to pay him and they never even bother to rectify it after he brought it to their attention. I’m glad I didn’t load up 100 images of my work on that site I’m going to pull it down get rid of everything and call it a day with them I’ve been there for 10 years and never had a sale to my knowledge but who the heck knows. It’s bad enough that my site got hacked by people overseas before I got wise enough to reduce my image sizes to 72 DPI but no sometimes that doesn’t stop them either it is so hard to get known nationally without losing your shirt. Can’t do outdoor shows because of bee allergies I almost bit the bullet the last time. So all I can do is hope that people really are honest when they purchase their art and understand it individual art websites are legitimate and these big hokey ones might not be as much.

    Reply
  81. Bernard Wilder
    October 7, 2017

    David,

    What I am gathering from you and others on your site should be very helpful. I once had a presence on FAA but dropped it after about two years. I, too, became concerned when I noticed that some of my more unusual paintings were getting a lot of clicks from the same obscure location in very small towns around the U.S. and world wide. I never got any acknowledgements from presumably the same person so I got a bit paranoid about it and pulled many of the entries. I also noticed that the numbers don’t work very well unless you sell an original. The rest didn’t seem worth the bother.

    I am looking to get back into the marketing of my art again so I will definitely check out Vivxy.

    I am grateful for the effort you put into your site.

    Bernie Wilder

    Reply
  82. Cindy
    October 14, 2017

    Thank you for all the wonderful information! Now instead of stock photography (suggested to me) and FAA (stumbled upon and researched this morning), I am going to look into selling for myself. New challenge for a longtime lover of photography with no sales experience! So refreshing to read the helpfulness and encouragement here!! Thank you again.

    Reply
  83. Kent Davis
    November 26, 2017

    Dear David,

    Many thanks to you for initiating and maintaining this valuable thread that’s about to celebrate it’s fourth birthday!

    I’m an independent publisher and will soon be responsible for selling graphic works by a couple of artists. At 6AM, I signed up for a free Pixels.com account because it seemed like the most comprehensive production solution. After spending a couple hours reading this entire thread I realized there’s no way I’ll be giving away their works there!

    Again, thank you for providing this educational info to your fellow artists. You and your other posters saved me a lot of time, aggravation and disappointment.

    Kent

    Reply
  84. Safira
    December 3, 2017

    How can I share this informatioj, my friend is currently using faa and I would like him to see this.

    Reply
    • David
      December 4, 2017

      You could always just share the link. : /

      Reply

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