How to Price Your Fine Art Photography

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One of many questions I get most frequently is, how do I value my artwork photography. On this article, I’ll share some recommendation and tips about issues you must have in mind when figuring out what you’ll cost in your fantastic artwork photography prints.

Rely the Price

First off, there are not any laborious and quick guidelines relating to pricing your work. Besides, save one – it’s essential cowl your prices. Sounds easy however there aren’t simply the prices of paper, ink, matting, framing, chemistry (that’s in case you’re a darkroom individual), and picture paper. If this can be a enterprise for you and never only a passion then there are just a few different prices it’s a must to contemplate.

Even in case you’re not renting studio area, you may have the month-to-month prices of working out of your own home or condominium. You do should travel to places to create your work, decide up provides, and convey your work to the courier or submit workplace for transport, so there are these bills like fuel, repairs, and oil modifications. I’m positive you may have insurance coverage in your tools in addition to your own home and automotive and also you’ll have to cowl these. Don’t overlook all these software program upgrades so you possibly can preserve doing what you do. These are just some of the prices it’s essential take into consideration.

calculating costs

There are much more prices to creating your artwork than simply these bodily issues that go into making that print. Some of the necessary prices that many artists overlook is their time. How a lot time did it take you to drive to get that nice shot of the nightfall sky after which sit there till the sunshine was good? How a lot time did you spend within the darkroom getting the print good? How lengthy did it take you to chop the mat and body the picture? How lengthy did you spend on the pc tweaking the picture till it regarded good?

After studying that you just could be pondering that you just’ll should give you an hourly cost in your time. I’m not a fan of breaking down our time into hours and placing a value on it as a result of relying in the marketplace you might be in, it’s possible you’ll not have the ability to command that wage. However it’s a great spot to begin.

A greater means is to interrupt down all these bills into per-unit prices. It’s best to understand how a lot every print, framed or unframed prices you to provide. How a lot to mark up that print is the following step. In the event you’re simply beginning and also you should not have a historical past of constant gross sales then how a lot you possibly can safe will likely be very completely different from a photographer who has a secure of collectors asking for his or her work and sells steadily. So relating to pricing the bodily print itself (not matted or framed), I took a lesson from painters to find out a place to begin for pricing. $1 per sq. inch. So, an 11”x14” would retail for $154. A 24”x30” print would promote for $720 and so forth. Subsequent, it’s a must to add on the value of matting and framing the print. That’s the straightforward half.

One other good place to begin for that is to double the price of the framing. Hypothetically, if the price of the body and matting is $150 (not an precise value) and also you double that for mark up; then you definitely add it to the print value. Utilizing my estimated numbers the 11×14 picture matted and framed to 16”x20” could be priced at $670.

Now that you already know your value per unit, I like to make use of the next technique to help in pricing. Since I do know what all my prices are, each month I do know what my gross sales figures must be to make my month-to-month “nut” as I’ve heard it referred to. You’ll should be life like with your self to find out in case you can successfully promote sufficient artwork to cowl these bills. In the event you calculate that you would be able to’t promote that many, you might need to extend your pricing barely.

I do know many photographers and artists who do the vast majority of their promoting at artwork exhibits and gala’s. To assist cowl their bills for these occasions, they are going to have art work at varied value factors making one thing obtainable for anybody. Contemplate having greeting playing cards, postcards, and framed or matted 5x7s obtainable.

Construct Up Your Identify and Pictures

The subsequent factor that can decide how a lot you possibly can promote is how lengthy you’ve been producing and promoting your artwork. Somebody with a constant historical past of promoting and whose work is desired by artwork collectors will command the next value simply as a result of their work may be very fascinating. A photographer who has gallery illustration may also safe the next value. A part of the elevated value of promoting in a gallery is that their fee might be as excessive as fifty % or extra so the artist has to think about that when pricing their artwork.

Earlier than you consider pricing, take a cautious take a look at your photographs. Being that photography has now been democratized taking away the barrier to entry into the career, anybody should buy a digital camera and begin taking images. Ask your self some questions when taking a look at your work. Have I seen this picture earlier than? What makes it distinctive from any of the opposite photography on the market on the market? Why would a collector purchase your work over one other photographer? Have you ever developed a method that’s solely yours? The type and look of the picture that makes it stand out from every other {photograph} present a perceived worth making it extra fascinating.

Pictures are all over the place. We’re inundated with photographs each day making them appear commonplace. You might want to have a picture that nobody can get anyplace else, that they’ll’t take themselves, and that can make them covet that picture.

photographers on top of a mountain
Intention to create pictures that stand out.

Provide Restricted Version Prints

To make your pictures extra exceptional, you possibly can provide restricted version prints of a picture. The subsequent query is what number of to place within the version. There are a few colleges of thought on the variety of prints that you must make obtainable. I’ve seen examples the place it’s solely 5 prints and others the place it’s ten or extra. When you consider the pricing of the version, you possibly can enhance the quantity within the print run and cost rather less than a really quick run. Now you’ve made it reasonably priced to a broader viewers and also you’ll promote extra.

Additionally, it’s essential contemplate what measurement of prints you’ll provide. Don’t provide too many sizes. I believe three is probably the most you’d need to put out. In the event you’re simply beginning out in promoting editions, take a look at photographers who’re doing related work to yours and at a similar degree. Attend gallery exhibits and auctions to see how they’re pricing their work.

Don’t fall into the entice of huge editions. Not like different artists, I wouldn’t advocate editions of 100 or extra, particularly if you’re doing darkroom prints. In that case, you’ll need to preserve your editions to 5 or ten. With digital prints you’ll need to provide them on the best high quality paper you possibly can and have it printed at a facility that makes a speciality of version printing. They need to find a way that will help you choose the paper you need your picture printed on, have the ability to scan from the adverse or print and work from a digital file and their work ought to be archival.

There are some photographers who don’t version their work. These are referred to as open editions. The purchaser doesn’t know what number of photographs are on the market, whether or not they’re the entire identical high quality, and what number of completely different sizes can be found. Having an open version can critically convey down the value of your prints and most galleries will need a restricted version print in the event that they plan on promoting your work. So, if you’re planning to promote in a gallery, then it’s a must to critically contemplate restricted version printing.

photos in an art gallery

Embrace Artist Proofs

Apart from the variety of prints within the version, you also needs to embrace a minimum of one or two artists’ proofs. An artist proof is a print that the artist makes use of to examine the standard and colour of the print. They’re printed in the identical method, on the identical paper and high quality as the opposite prints.

Photographers will usually embrace one or two within the version print run. They’re numbered on this fashion, 1/2 AP if there are two artist proofs. If there is just one then it is going to be simply marked AP. An artist’s proof is usually thought of extra useful since there are so few of them, so that they usually fetch the next value.

Do Market Analysis

Earlier than you begin providing your images as limited-edition prints, I recommend you do in depth analysis on what the artwork world is presently paying for photography. Additionally, analysis what style of photography is promoting in immediately’s artwork market. I had a take a look at a well-known New York gallery that offers in prints within the rock star and film star genres and the editions they supplied had, at most, three sizes, and 11×14 prints began at $600 unframed.

These had been from a few of the biggest photographers in that enterprise however it nonetheless comprises quite a lot of info that will likely be useful to you. Take a look at the fantastic print of the itemizing for the picture. It’ll usually maintain a treasure trove of data like whether or not it’s a restricted version print, if it was printed from the unique adverse, if it’s signed, and if it has a certificates of authenticity. Discover as many galleries as you possibly can which have their artist’s work on the market on their web site and also you’ll study a lot by studying the small print on every picture.

The place to Signal Your Prints

The opposite query that comes up quite a bit when speaking about print editions is the place ought to the photographer signal the print. There are just a few colleges of thought on this however the one which I comply with is rarely signal immediately on the print. It’s completely different for painters as a result of they’re usually signing in the identical paint they did the portray in. Signing with an everyday pen or marker will ultimately discolor over time ruining the print.

Most of my photographs are printed full-frame so once I print, I’ll heart it on the paper leaving a white border across the picture. Generally I place the picture barely larger on the paper leaving a bigger backside border. I signal within the backside proper nook on the border with a mushy lead pencil. If it’s a picture and not using a border, I signal the again, backside proper nook with my title, the date the picture was taken, and the title together with its version quantity with my mushy lead pencil.

Embrace a Certificates of Authenticity

The opposite factor I see that many photographers are providing with the sale of their prints is a Certificates of Authenticity. Generally the gallery will present them or create one at the side of the photographer.

There are many templates on-line that you would be able to work from and construct one which fits your wants. It ought to have the title of the work, the 12 months, print measurement, paper sort, sort of ink (or it could possibly be a silver gelatin print), and the signature of the artist. It’ll even have the photographer’s contact info throughout the highest. Many may also inform that the print has been made to the best requirements of high quality, that it’s archival, together with a copyright discover and presumably some directions like that the picture shouldn’t be displayed in direct daylight and excessive humidity.

In Abstract

Simply to recap a few of the stuff you want to remember when pricing your fantastic artwork photography.

  • When pricing, contemplate all of your prices; not simply the price of creating the print and framing. You not solely have to be sure to’re getting cash on the print sale however it’s essential promote sufficient to cowl your small business’s working bills.
  • Be certain you may have a unprecedented picture. It ought to be one thing that can make folks cease and look in the event that they see it.
  • Resolve what number of prints you should have within the version and what restricted sizes you’ll provide. Be mindful most galleries may have very restricted runs and can solely provide two or three sizes.
  • Discover a printer that makes a speciality of particular version printing. Take a look at who their purchasers are and what providers they are going to provide that will help you obtain your objective.
  • Don’t overlook to incorporate one or two artists’ proofs within the version run.
  • Analysis, analysis, analysis! Examine what different photographers of your caliber and subject material are promoting and for the way a lot. Examine to see what number of sizes and the variety of prints can be found.
  • Don’t overlook to signal your print and your Certificates of Authenticity.

I hope you discovered this useful. I do know throughout my time in photography I realized probably the most once I made errors. I’ve tried to share a few of what I realized after these errors. Good luck in your endeavors and preserve capturing!


Picture credit: Images from 123RF

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