Commercial vs. Home-made Prints...

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by davetravis, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Assuming that both come from the same slide/negative,
    and that the "average" patron would not see a difference,
    would anyone price the commercial version of a Fuji Archive, or Ilfochrome, any less than the home-made?
    If so, why?
     
  2. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    I don't really care for term 'home made'...

    However, I believe that an artist made print has inherent value that surpasses that of commercial labs print.

    Corey
     
  3. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day Dave,
    seems to me there are lots of variables, and i'm not sure what you want to know

    is it a hand made/worked on neg?

    is it a 'copy' of the neg?

    is it a brilliantly captured image that doesn't need any manipulation in printing?

    what can your market bare (bear?)?

    checked your website, not finished yet?

    is that 06/01/06 or 01/06/06?
     
  4. donbga

    donbga Member

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    All other things being equal I would price them the same. Haowever a hand made print may cost you more than a commercial print.

    If you are a dead photographer and your work is collectible, then most likely a vintage print made by the hand of the artist would fetch a higher price.

    My 2 cents,

    Don Bryant
     
  5. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Hi Ray,
    My home-made Ilfochromes are similar in quality to those of Christopher Burkett, and Michael Fatali.
    Made directly from the slides.
    I'm a little worried about how much longer the paper/chems will be produced, and may eventually have to incorporate some commercial repros.
    I just don't know if it would be ethical to charge the customer the same price.
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Another description of a "home-made" print would be a "Custom Lab" print - even more. Depending on the photographer making the print, there will be a far greater amount of care incorporated in its making. A "commercial" print - that can vary from "K-mart specials" to "Museum Quality" - will necessarily have less of the photographers "imprint".
    I can select contrast, crop, dodge/burn, choose color balance ... a great deal of other characteristics in *MY* darkroom, and the BEST offshore lab, at "Museum Quality" cannot be expected to make the same choices.

    Do I consider the "photographer-made" prints to be more "valuable"? Yes, infinitely so. They come much closer to *what the photographer wants them to be* than any commercially made print could.
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I'm not sure where the "ethics" comes in.

    Lots of famous and not so famous photographers have people employed by them, and also labs that they use, print their work for them.

    If the work is up to the standard of the photographer, then it can be argued that it is his work. If it's not, then perhaps there is an ethical issue. But in that case he should send it back and redone until it meets his standards.

    Michael
     
  8. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Blanksy,
    See, I totally disagree about the "direct supervison" print being "made" by the photographer. When David Muench sells "his" prints, they aren't his at all. The ethical question for me is since I won't be personally making the commercial print, I shouldn't call it "mine", and maybe should charge a lower cost?
    Understand?
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Dave, we had a thread about this a while back and I also argued that I "preferred" that the photographer should make his own prints. It had more value to me personally than one made by labs and assistants.

    But I think the "ethical" part of the debate is ambigious. Do most people who buy photographs think that they are "handmade" by the photographer? I don't know.

    I know, that coming from a portrait background that almost no commercial portrait studio does their own printing and hasn't for years. I'm pretty sure the public realizes that.

    So for you to feel you are "cheating" your customers by not actually doing the printing, is in the end, your call. It could or should definately be argued that if you oversee the product, then it is still "yours".

    I do see your point, although as I stated, I'm not sure the public knows or cares one way or the other.

    If it bothers you, then perhaps you should include a disclaimer of some sort on the back. As for charging less, I would never do that.

    In real life, I think we find that most artistic endeavors are collaborative. Did Spielberg do every little thing in his movies. Does a building designed by the flavor of the month architect and "signed" by him, have only his hand on it. Does glass artwork by glassblower/artist like Dale Chihuly have only his participation in the project.

    The answer to all these is no.


    Michael
     
  10. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    I agree with Dave, that you should not say that you make a print, when you did not make the print....

    However, I believe it is perfectly ethical to sell your photographs when printed by a lab, there is no expectation that photographers make each and every print they sell, especially color prints.

    I will add, that I believe it is possible to get your prints looking just as you like them too... and it might be possible, with the right lab, to realize results you never thought were possible.

    Just my naive thoughts.

    Corey
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The phrase "printed under the direction of the photographer" is both honest, and informative.

    There are printers who are true artists in their own right, even if their own images aren't as high quality as the prints they do for others.

    If a print is truly a custom print, i.e. the printing decisions made are directed and evaluated by the photographer, then the credit for the print should go to the photographer (although acknowledgment of the collaborator would also be appropriate).

    My $0.02 worth.

    (Can you tell that I have worked as a printer- although not in respect of fine art prints?)
     
  12. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    What if you work in a colour lab and print your own photographs?
     
  13. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    What a great group!
    I guess in the end, it's up to me, since no one will be "looking over my shoulder," or is "keeping notes."
    I just have this conviction that I shouldn't call anything mine, that wasn't done 100% by me. I would even make my own film and chemistry, if I could get the same results! I never knock others for how they do their art, or livelihood, I guess I just set too high a standard for myself....go figure...a redneck from Alabama. :smile:
     
  14. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I think one thing we need to be aware of in this field of photography, and one thing I see that keeps some people from actually selling successfully, it the act of micro-managing ourselves so much that the worry put in our minds does not allow us to be successful in the marketing portion of the business, there are several steps in becoming a successful photographer, start focusing to strongly and micro-managing that aspect of the business then other areas start to suffer.

    I have to agree with Blansky, a good majority of the public don't care if a print is done by the "Artist" but they look for the quality product they wish to collect or display, I have run into quite a few collectors, that are happy to purchase a print done from a Ansel negative, and not worried at all that it was not printed by Ansel, myself personally have most of my color work printed at the local lab that I used to work with, as I have the ability to input through out the entire process and they know exactly what I want out of my prints...often times I have them process my negatives also, which based on your question, would mean they are not mine, but in fact they are.

    The best answer to your question, resides with you, it is what ever you feel is right..

    Dave
     
  15. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Dave,
    I own 3 of those Adams "special editions," made by Alan Ross from AA's negatives. I've seen AA's original's, but could never afford one!
    You make a good point, which I think is also mine.
    If Alan's prints are like the commercial labs prints, and AA's prints were by his own hand, then the free market has determined that AA's with his signature
    are more valuable than Alan's; even though most people can't tell the difference. Guess I'll have to noodle some more on it...and hope Ilfochrome doesn't fold!