Frank A. Mills

Fine Art Photography


1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Sedan in front of feed store

"1931 Ford Deluxe Sedan"

Torchon Watercolor Paper
(full size with border=18 x 20)

Prints are available for most images, although "Limited Editions" may no longer be available. If you are interested in a print, please contact me.

Although the cost of prints vary depending upon size and print media, the advantage of securing a print directly from me is that you will not be paying gallery prices. Plus, a third of each purchase goes to an appropriate non-profit. For example, the portion from a print of a water scene might go to an organization providing water to those without, or perhaps an environmental non-profit.

Generally speaking, unless on metal or glass, prints come with a white border. For example, a 10 x 15 print will be printed on a 12 x 18 sheet. This makes framing, and matting (if you wish) easier. A limited edition print this size on heavy Torchon Water Color paper (the best media for one of my watercolor style images)is generally priced $85.00 to $100.00. (The cost of the same print in a gallery will be at a minimum $150.)

I know that a lot goes into selecting a print. If there is an image you are interested in, please contact me with a rough idea of the size that you thinking about. I will be more than happy to work with, even send you a small proof on the chosen print media. There is a $5.00 post-paid fee for the proof, refunded if you purchase the full size print. The print is marked "proof."

Thank you!

Things You Should Know

daisy, iconic black series

"Daisy" (Iconic Black Series)
Flora Gallery

Before You Purchase A Fine Art Print

Purchasing a fine art image print it can be quite an expense. And with the print choices— well, it can be daunting. I want you to be happy with your purchase. To cherish it. The information here will help you make the right choice.

What is Fine Art Photography? | The Process of Creating Fine Art Photography | Pricing of Fine Art PhotographyThe Difference Between Editions | Fine Art Photography as Décor | Collecting Fine Art Photography

Fine Art Photography

coffe shop with shadows and light, Burton, Ohio

"Coffee Corner" (Burton, Ohio)
Majestic Ohio Gallery

What Exactly Is Fine Art Photography?

These days everyone is taking pictures and posting them everywhere on social media, and of course everyone is saying how beautiful they are and telling the photographer that they ought to sell them. So, given the prevalence of photos, how does one distinguish fine art photography from other types of photography?

Simply put, fine art photography is art created in accordance with the perceptions and emotions of the artist as photographer.

Fine art photography stands in contrast to representational photography, which is about digitally recording a subject. Fine art photography does not produce purist images that record the scene exactly as it appears at a precise moment in time, nor is fine art photography about post-processing effects.

Fine art photography is about capturing what the artist-photographer sees, not what the camera sees, nor what digital pre-sets produce. In fine art photography the camera merely is a tool akin to the painter’s brush.

Ansel Adams, perhaps said it best, “Art implies control of reality, for reality itself possesses no sense of the aesthetic. Photography becomes art when certain controls are applied.”

Fine art photography goes beyond the literal representation of the subject. It expresses the feelings and vision of the photographer, and most importantly, reveals an image that is the creation of the artist that flows from the artist’s vision.

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The Process

barn near Granger Texas

"Gray Barn" (Granger, Texas)
Ineffable Texas Gallery

The Process of Creating Fine Art Photography

It is important to me that my fine art prints stand out form the ordinary. I seek accomplish this in several way, beginning with the digital developing process. Each original is "eye-developed." I use no processing pre-sets, templates, or photo-actions. Each image is individually developed for emotional impact. I want each of my images to evoke memories. As you undoubtedly have noticed much of my work is what I have termed as "watercolor photography." As my goal is to replicate a watercolor print, I see each tweak of the image as a brush stroke.

Both ink and print media (especially the texture of the media) effect the emotional image of the image. I spend considerable time selecting both the ink and the print media that best conveys the emotion of the image. Realizing a single image has many emotions embedded, I often choose more than one media or ink for printing. That's why you will often see more than one print type for an individual fine art photo print.

Although I may choose different mediums for printing, if I am printing on fine art paper, I will almost always select a Hahnemühle paper. My fine art paper of choice is Torchon Fine Art Watercolor Paper. Torchon (meaning "heavy texture" in French) is a heavily textured paper that handles ink colors well and reproduces black extremely well. It is an excellent paper for images that are rich in detail. At 0.50 mm thick, with a weight of 285 gms, it is an archival paper that will hold up for years and years. Torchon is Hahnemühle's premier fine art paper. Unless an image is being printing something other than fine art paper only Epson archival quality inks are used.

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About the Price

Haw Creek Chapel, Round Top

"Haw Creek Chapel" (Round Top, Texas)
Divine Edifices Gallery

What Determines the Price of Fine Art Photography?

I often hear, why are your Fine Art Photography so expensive? Please keep in mind when you think about price, that you are buying an archival quality print that will last and last. The inks and papers used are rated for 100 years plus. You are buying an heirloom to past on to the next generation. Here's the nitty-gritty of price:

  • I am a professional fine art photographer committed to producing works of art that are beyond the ordinary.
  • I put a considerable amount of time into creating each print original. I refuse to use no short cuts.
  • How a Fine art photography print is offered: Limited Edition, Open Edition, or Artist's Proof. In Limited Edition the number of prints made effect the price. An Artist's Proof is almost always more expensive, as these proofs are one of a kind.
  • Print media (photo papers, canvas, metal, etc.) each have their pricing structure based on factors peculiar to the media.
  • Where I sell my prints: Prints sold in galleries are always more expensive. NOTE though, once a print is sold in gallery, the price will always be the gallery price even if sold online.
  • Lastly, the cost of being a professional photographer is not inexpensive.
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"Fading Dreams"
Upstart Modern Gallery

The Difference Between "Editions" in Fine Art Photography

Limited Editions, Open Editions, Artist Proofs

Limited Editions are exactly what a name implies, a limited number of fine art photography prints of archival quality from the original file as developed. The number of prints stated includes every print made from the original file, no matter the size or print media. After the first print each subsequent print may vary ever so slightly from the original depending upon the print process used. Each Limited Edition Fine Art Photography print comes with a certificate of authenticity showing print number number along with total prints. I hand-sign my Limited Editions on the reverse. Limited Edition prints are not available for stock and licensing.

First Edition, Limited Edition Fine Art Photography Prints are the most valuable and mostly likely to increase in value. I am limiting most of "Limited Editions" to one print only.

The original RAW file may be subsequently redeveloped in a different way. In this case the letter of authenticity will contain the edition number, as well as the individual print and total print number.

Open Editions have no limit on the number of prints made. Even though a print is Open Edition, it is still considered fine art photography. As such it is less expensive way to build up a nice fine art photography collection. Generally, Open Editions have my signature digitally applied in the image itself or the border. Upon request, I can hand-sign.

Artist's Proofs are one of kind prints made to proof color and to determine the effects of different print media. They are standard procedure for Limited Editions and because they are one of a kind, they usually are sold a higher price. There are Fine Art Photography collectors who have built their entire collection with Artist's Proofs

All of my Fine Art Photography Prints come with a bill of sale, either from me or the selling gallery. A bill of sale is useful for insurance purposes and to authenticate value.

All my images printed on fine art paper are archival quality, as are the inks. All mounting is done using archival quality materials, including adhesives. This is not always true for print and framing shops.

NOTE: The image watermarks shown on website images do not appear on prints. The watermarks are to protect my copyright while images are displayed online.

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Fine Art Photography as Décor

decor, framed image

How will you display the fine art image?

What makes fine art photography as décor so unique is that it is an art form that captures a particular moment, emotion or sentiment through a photo of something "real." Much of art is subjective and often abstract, and certainly fine art photography can be that, more often though fine art photography prints are “true to life” images that depict beauty and emotion in everyday life, according to the artist-photographer's vision.

Utilizing fine art photography as a decorative statement in your home or office is a great way to show off your personal style and to make a statement with your décor. Adding a few fine pieces of fine art photography throughout your home or office will make a world of difference when decorating. For example, a large, blank wall will become incredibly chic if the right piece is displayed. Remember you want each piece to make a statement without clashing with your décor. For example, if your décor is subtle, bold is okay if it doesn’t stand out too much from the rest of your home décor.

Another great idea is to have an entire wall full of strategically place fine art photos, perhaps as a collage or triptych, that guests can enjoy browsing while they visit. Remember too, that there are a wide-range fine art photography print options besides fine art photo paper. There’s watercolor and textured papers, canvas, acrylic, wood, metal, to name just a few. Sometimes rather than a simple fine art print. a special photo printed on, say, corrugated metal makes a special statement.

And while you are thinking about how to use fine art photo prints as décor, don't over look how print media and texture will fit into the look you are hoping to achieve. We can help you find the right images and formats for your home or office.

I have found that those fine art prints printed on Torchon Fine Art Watercolor Paper look their best when mounted on canvas board (canvas stretched over board with 1" floating frame ) that has a coat of gesso applied to accent a color in the image (much in the same way you might match a mat border to a image). Premium canvas boards use archival quality canvas stretched over birch, which is what I recommend. I suggest that when you order the print you order it already mounted on canvas board as this will give you the best quality. WE van discuss the color when you order the print.

Lastly, although the bulk of my images are printed on Torchon Watercolor Fine Art Paper, I also print frequently on metal, glass and acrylic, even wood, for different effects. With metal, the image ink is "burned into" the metal. The print can be used outdoors in a space that does not get heavy sun shining on it. Although I usually suggest a media, If you see something you like, please ask me about printing options.

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Collecting Fine Art Photography

dam & water fall

"Sherod Beach" (Vermilion, Ohio)
Water: The Staff of Life Gallery

Thoughts On Collecting Fine Art Photography

There is no higher praise to an artist than being included in a fine art collection that is being collected for aesthetic value. And while I am a fine art photographer, I am also a collector of fine art photography. For my collection there a few simple guidelines that I follow:

I spend time learning about fine art photography and individual photographers. If the photographer has a Facebook or other social media page or profile I try to follow them to keep up with their work. I visit galleries and attend opening for the same reason. Most importantly, I collect what I like, what speaks to me, rather than what is the latest trend or style, or even whatever photographer is popular at the moment. Popularity does not quarantine that the work of a photographer, or any artist, will go up in value over the years.

Educating myself about up and coming photographers helps me purchase outstanding works while I can afford them, before their work becomes artificially inflated. While there is nothing wrong with purchasing expensive fine art photography from an already established artist, if you can afford it, it is not the only way to build up an exceptional collection, nor is it the most profitable way in the long-run. Remember that often the more popular an artist becomes, the more saturated the market becomes with the artist’s work, which ultimately drives down value.

I buy what I love.This cannot be stressed enough. The artwork I purchase will be with me for a long time. I don’t want to become bored with a piece that I’ve collected. I want it to add quality to my life every time I look at, for years to come. I also want to make sure the piece enhances both my lifestyle and my décor.

Early on, I learned that there is no “right” way to collect art. I needed to find the style of collecting that best suited my needs. I personally buy irregularly and what I can afford, when I can afford it. Everyone has their own style of collecting. Don’t let someone dictate to you what’s “right” and what’s “wrong.” There is nothing wrong with buying a select piece or two every few years, just as there’s nothing wrong with buying several pieces at one time, or commissioning a favourite photographer to create an individual piece that has personal meaning. (Psst… I do commissions!)

I ask questions, lots of questions. I talk with the artist when I can. Knowing the back-story to an image enhances the personal value of the piece to me. When I go into a gallery, I ask questions. A reputable artist, art dealer, or gallery should never hesitate to answer whatever questions you may have about a piece. Provenance, condition, print editions, artist information and history are important aspects of the piece that are important to your enjoyment of the piece and its value. Knowing about limited edition size and general run is especially important with fine art photography prints.

While there are many talented photographers out there producing high quality fine art photography, I hope that you might find one or more of my fine art photographs worthy of being in your collection.

[You can download instructions (pdf) that will explain how best to preserve your Fine Art Photo Prints Here]

Corporate Collecting


"Row Houses" (Baltimore)
Urban Soul Gallery

Corporate Collecting of Fine Art Photography

Every fine art photographer, myself included, hopes that his work will become part of a corporate collection. There are times that you see the work of a particular photographer and you know immediately that it is a fit with your company’s overall image. Still there are some guidelines that should be kept in mind.

Identify a style of artwork that expresses your company’s overall image and/or purpose, while also complimenting the office aesthetic. The style can be thematic, e.g., "Texas,” or it can be focused on one type art media, e.g., photography, oil, canvas, etc. When identifying a style think about what that style says about your company, as well as the space it utilizes. Don’t rush into a purchase. Take the time to think about what best fits your corporate image.

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To inquire about purchasing a fine art image please contact me. Don't forget to tell me which image you are interested in.