print warranty

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by hec, May 9, 2011.

  1. hec

    hec Member

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    hello everyone,

    last month I had my first solo show and have since started to sell photographs.

    Does anyone here offer a "print warranty"?

    If memory serves me well, a few years ago I read an article in PhotoTechniques by Howard Bond about a warranty and recommendation sheet he includes with the photographs he sells. I seem to have lost that issue so I can't be more specific.

    Do you know of photographers who offer such a warranty?

    I'm currently writing a warranty of my own taking into account the recommendations on Kodak's F-35 technical paper.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I do not warranty my prints,but I do include a "do and dont" sheet for displaying. You can't tell if someone has displayed in direct sunlight or high humidity, and then want their money refunded. Best to just recommend display locations.
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    That is a new one on me!

    Jeff
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I kinda/maybe/sorta/just barely see the point of a do/don't sheet when you sell direct to the consumer.

    I truly don't see the point of a warrantee on the print though unless you are going to charge more to provide that service, even then not really.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Are you printing to archival standards? If so, you can just indicate that. If not, a warranty is in all likely hood going to cost you money.
     
  6. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    No warranty here... but if someone calls me in a couple years to say a print is blotch or turning blue or brown I'd take a look as see what is wrong. I had some commercially printed black and white do this, and I made good on it.... and made the lab make good on it.
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I also don't warranty. I do process with archival technique and recommend a local framer who is a serious collector and properly frames photographs. I have stopped dry-mounting and now prefer archival corners unless dry-mounting is absolutely necessary. In our climate if improperly stored even 100% rag board can develop climate stains.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  8. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Same here.
     
  9. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Reminds me of the time several years ago when my (now) teenager and a friend made shadowgrams in my darkroom. When I dropped the print off I said "that should be good for 100 years" and she came back with "I thought you said 200 years".
     
  10. hec

    hec Member

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    Thank you all for your comments.
    I do process to archival standards, but the idea has appealed to me and it's something I'd appreciate if I were the buyer.

    Regards
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Ok, these are a couple blunt question designed to see if a warrantee makes sense from a business point of view,

    I might appreciate a warrantee too but warrantees are really only typical on "generic" items that compete with similar items.

    So, first question;

    Is the product you are offering generic and competing with other "off the shelf" items?

    If not you don't need a warrantee.

    Another version of this question is

    Are you selling the paper or the picture?

    This is mostly a question about volume, in the generic market 1000s are printed, the value of 1 of these prints is really small, it is easily warranteed.

    If you plan only to be making 5 prints of that one shot in your lifetime, the rarity and how it ages is part of the value. If you print more you actually lower the value of the original 5.

    Second question;

    Second; Will you make more money because you offer a warrantee?

    If not, from a business point of view the warrantee is a problem.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    When selling at the local arts & crafts fair, I usually post an offer to buy back or exchange any of my photographs in saleable condition for any reason. So far no one has chosen to to this. Also, on the back of framed prints is a lable that says something like:

    Printed on an Epson 3800 with Ultrachrome
    K3 ink on Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper.
    Print life displayed under glass is estimated
    by www.wilhelm-research.com to be 90 years
    before noticeable fading occurs.

    In a small market where most people know me, this kind of customer service seems reasonable.
     
  13. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Also be aware that large businesses that have warranty issues, like Ford Motors or Electrolux, factor expected warranty costs into the cost of the goods and then rat hole funds into an account for this. (Yes, I know that the account is just a line a a ledger so it's isn't like a separate savings account in the bank. It's the same way Social Security is kept in Washington so it must be safe, right.)

    If you're going to open this door, then you'd better not only sequester funds for it, because some fool is going to come back asking for it. But you'd better make sure you have the details about consequential damages disclaimed in a way that's accurate for your jurisdiction. Otherwise I'll go claim that your pictured turned brown on my wall, and I missed an important job promotion because my boss thought it looked bad, so you owe me lost wages. Just sayin'.
     
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  15. PeterAM

    PeterAM Member

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    My occasional sales are are matted and framed. I always put a sticker on the back that says something about being printed and mounted with archival quality materials and also states that it should not be hung in direct sunlight and the UV acrylic should not be cleaned with anything abrasive.

    Offering a warranty just invites a purchase by some wise ass lawyer.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I guess you don't want to sell a print to me :smile:.

    A warranty is simply a promise. If a seller wants to promise anything about their print, they can. It's best though to make sure that if you make such a promise, that you can fulfil it, if necessary.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    If you adopt a para-legal stance on warranty, that is to say if you give a warranty and a client/purchaser accepts it, if something goes wrong, you will be answerable for repatriation.

    In traditional photographic prints, you must be absolutely certain from the start you can guarantee the quality and perpetual wellbeing of the print. This is very difficult to do if you sell just raw prints, rather than matted and/or framed. The latter two options discourage the possibility of the print coming to harm in unskilled hands e.g. the purchaser likes you work but no doubt may have little idea what constitutes proper handling until it is framed.

    To my knowledge over the years, only Ilfochrome prints have been warranted by photographers (here in Australia) because the process is proven in terms of quality and stability, and selling of raw prints is generally not the norm (for the reasons outlined above), more commonly framed ready to hang.

    I am not convinced that B&W traditional darkroom prints can be warranted on whatever premise, nor for that matter can archivally stable (over whatever time) giclée prints. Both products are subject to adverse reaction in unfavourable storage and handling.

    You might wish to give very serious and deep thought to any warranty offered and your capacity to redress any difficulties that arise. It can potentially put you in the legal hot-seat.
     
  18. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Jeff,
    These climate stains you mentioned, are they originating from the dry mount adhesive, the rag board, or the envirnoment? I dry mount my prints because the adhesive was supposed to provide a protective barrier, but your experience has me getting second thoughts. I haven't had a problem, but I'm not that experienced and my prints haven't been around very long.
     
  19. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I'm proud of what I do and I want happy customers. For those reasons, and because I expect the same from others, I warrant my prints and will replace what is obviously bad craftsmanship on my part. So far, I never had such a case.
     
  20. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    To be both practical and a little mercenary in the matter, as one gets older this question becomes increasingly less of an issue.
    Any prints I sell now should easily last twenty years and much beyond that the customer would probably have to complain to me via a seance or via my care home manager!
    Steve :smile:
     
  21. hec

    hec Member

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    Thank you all for your comments.

    I've read a few good arguments against issuing a warranty in this thread and I can see your point, but I will go ahead with it.

    The main reasons for me to do it is:
    1) Provide the buyer with a do/don't recommendation list and
    2) (as Mr. Lambrecht clearly stated) "replace what is obviously bad craftsmanship on my part".

    By this I mean that I'm pretty sure I am doing the best I can regarding archival longevity, but if not I need to know in order to improve my process and have my photographs live as long as possible.


    Best regards,
     
  22. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Yeah, this isn't brake pads or a toaster oven. And I have never personally even heard of a print warranty before now. Seems like an unnecessary contrivance to me, an overhanded selling technique that should not be used on anyone at all in the leastways familiar with photography.
     
  23. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I think your conclusions, based on the responses are quite rational.

    I include a printed version of this (sans photograph and pricing list) including process, editioning, sizes, provenance and care, with every print. It is "understood" that as both "artist" and forthright person, any "failed" piece given the conditions under which and for it was constituted, or due to material defect or maker's negligence, would be replaced or repaired within some limited period of time. But I have never found it necessary to even include this last statement on the info sheet as my methods are beyond archival standard. I have never, ever been approached regarding warranty as it is equally understood that my work is that of an artistic endeavor, and not subject to warranty.

    But really – a warranty with every print – what other "artist" would be expected to offer such a thing? Do the sofa-sized art sellers offer warranties? Bad precedent in my opinion, but perhaps this is what "archival" machine-made digital posters (oh!, sorry – prints) have wrought.
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Good choice Hector.

    If you're trying to do the best for your customers, just think like a customer. That works every time.
     
  25. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Anything you buy at best buy, radio shack, any appliance, computer, printer, cellphone, & tv you buy, they will try to sell you a warranty at your local big box establishment. It must be work, as everyone is offering it for consumer commodity items.

    Photos are indeed different from consumer commodities. However, if you are confident in your craftsmanship and write the warranty to exclude the customer's accidents, and limit the warranty to a replacement print and re-assembly of frame, then it should cost you very little to offer a warranty or extended warranty service and it would be mostly profit. Word of mouth is an important part of marketing and you need to stand behind what you provide. The notion that you did this using archival processes is apt to be considered b.s. by the consumer in the same way "green" or ecological or "organic" is generously interpreted by marketing-speak.
     
  26. ROL

    ROL Member

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    As is the notion that an artist, if you consider yourself one, would offer a warranty on their work.