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Thread: Pricing methods

  1. #1

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    Pricing methods

    Hi All,

    I found one thread on this, but I didn't get a real sense of what people consider when pricing their work.

    Let's say I have an 11x11" gelatin silver print, toned in selenium, well matted and framed in a 16x16" metal frame. If a gallery takes 40%, what would you charge? I realize that bigger names have earned their right to charge more, but for an unknown, even if the image is strong, what would be a reasonable price without devaluing the work?

    It might take, say, 2-5 pieces of paper to get the print just right. With the paper I use, that is $4-$10. The mat board and mounting board might cost $5-$10 after cut from larger boards. The frame costs around $24 and the glass $6. Add on say $10 for the use of chemicals and cost of film, etc. This brings the at cost total to around $55, and that is not taking into consideration the cost of artistic labor in taking the photo, developing, and then printing, toning, and preparing the photo for display. I'll give myself $100 for labor per photo (I just guessed 5 hours at $20/hr.) I am not a fast printer.

    So then (bear with me) I come to $155. Should I double that to $300? Somehow that seems a bit low compared to prices I see for some art. Are photographs naturally going to fetch less money?

    I am curious what others think about this, since no one should devalue their work but I don't want to charge too much either. Thoughts?

    As far as a well known name, I saw some Keith Carter prints for sale. Depending on how many were in the edition, they ranged from $1,200-$5,000. I'm obviously not going to even try for a price like that anytime soon.

  2. #2
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Each gallery's "market" seems to me to have certain price ranges that their clients buy at.

    I'd talk with the galleries you are considering about "their markets" for the type of product you are offering.

    In this type of market, print and framing costs don't seem to me to be connected to sales price.

    To put it bluntly, you aren't selling paper, wood, or labor.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #3
    lns
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    Excellent advice from Mark Barendt. Ask the galleries; they know their buyers.

    One thing to consider is that most galleries I know show photography matted and framed, but sell only the print. On the other hand, an 11x11 print is unusual, requiring the buyer to get a custom mat and frame, so maybe that argues for selling it framed.

    Speaking as a customer, I personally think $300 is a reasonable price for a matted and framed print that large. But it's a lot of money for many people to spend on art. Also, it's a big print. For either cost or wall space, some might prefer a smaller piece. Have you considered having more than one range? It seems that would appeal to more types of buyers. For example, instead of selling only one large size at $300, you could sell a smaller size at $150, for example, and the large size at $350.

    I wouldn't even consider Keith Carter as a comparison. I would look more to art fairs and to other photos being sold in galleries of this type.

    -Laura

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    Thanks both for your advice. I guess I am over thinking the materials, I just want to make sure I at least know what the material cost is so I can cover it.

    I never thought of asking the gallery. I might give that a try. If that fails, I am guessing the $300 range sounds fine. I sometimes print at 8x8, but I like the 11x11 size. I didn't think that was too odd.

    The Keith Carter comparison is somewhat in jest. He is obviously well recognized, respected, and a master printer. None of which compares to me (Though I am happy with my prints at least).

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    the question is what do you WANT for these images, that is WANT after the gallery gets their 40% ..
    im empty, good luck

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    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    the question is what do you WANT for these images, that is WANT after the gallery gets their 40% ..

    I'd add what are others in your position getting as well. You choose whether you go higher/lower or similar.

    Surprisingly too low a price can mean work doesn't sell. I've seen this first hand where a friend sold his work through his own Gallery

    Ian

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    In figuring your time inputs into the process, if you want to run this as a business don't just figure the amount of time spent in shooting and printing and other obvious time inputs. Think of all your time inputs. I won't try to make an exhaustive list, but it would include all your time inputs, such as meeting with the gallery, ordering your equipment and supplies, working on any marketing or publicity efforts, driving your work to the gallery, billing customers, balancing your business checking account, and all the other time that goes into running your business.

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    2F/2F's Avatar
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    I'd charge as much for prints as you can reliably get for them. No more and no less is ideal. Sometimes this makes your hourly wage very low, but any job is better than no job (i.e. selling nothing because nobody will pay what you are asking).
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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    Given that this photo just sold for 1 MILLION dollars (wait till you see it - it's a cliche AND poorly executed) I would suggest starting your prices at 10 Million dollars and just wait until someone rich enough and dumb enough comes along ... (apparently this photographer has sold 150 million dollars worth of prints) !!

    http://prophotocoalition.com/index.p..._for_1million/

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    Quote Originally Posted by lns View Post
    Speaking as a customer, I personally think $300 is a reasonable price for a matted and framed print that large. But it's a lot of money for many people to spend on art. Also, it's a big print. For either cost or wall space, some might prefer a smaller piece. Have you considered having more than one range? It seems that would appeal to more types of buyers. For example, instead of selling only one large size at $300, you could sell a smaller size at $150, for example, and the large size at $350.
    ...
    -Laura
    Laura is a great example of a client in one possible market.

    Some galleries work in that market, others make their markets in entirely different groups; that may be a higher or lower priced market.

    Quote Originally Posted by mistercody View Post
    I guess I am over thinking the materials, I just want to make sure I at least know what the material cost is so I can cover it.
    It is important to understand your costs but only so that you can decide whether or not it's worth doing business with a gallery. All I was saying is that your costs aren't directly linked to the selling price in the gallery market.

    Quote Originally Posted by mistercody View Post
    I never thought of asking the gallery. I might give that a try. If that fails, I am guessing the $300 range sounds fine.
    I don't see how this could fail.

    Walk around any gallery and look at (or if need be ask for) the prices of pieces they are selling.

    If their prices are from say $600-$2000, your $300 price won't "fit" and probably won't sell in that gallery.

    The real question for the gallery buyer is if they think they can sell your work in their normal price range.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    I'd charge as much for prints as you can reliably get for them. No more and no less is ideal. Sometimes this makes your hourly wage very low, but any job is better than no job (i.e. selling nothing because nobody will pay what you are asking).
    There is truth there.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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