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  1. #1

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    What does Gallery representation cost?

    Hi all

    Reading through and old B&W magazine (US) I came across numerous adverts for Galleries, plus adverts where photogs are seeking Gallery representation. It got me wondering what are the options out there for gallery representation. This brought about more questions regarding the overhead ito the photographer i.e what does it cost? What commission (%) or flat fee methods are out there?

    Just Curious

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

  2. #2
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    Usually more than you want. A 50/50 split is not unusual. Maybe you will get paid, too. For an in depth look at this phenomena I would like to suggest the following link:

    http://www.lenswork.com/goodies.htm

    There are two articles "How the Gallery System is Failing Photography" and "An Alternative to the Gallery System" worth reading on this subject.
    Two New Projects! Light on China - 07/13/2014

    www.joelipkaphoto.com

    250+ posts and still blogging! "Postcards from the Creative Journey"

    http://blog.joelipkaphoto.com/

  3. #3

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    Phill,

    There are different types of galleries out there. One type that has gained popularity is the co-op gallery. Where you pay a fee to the gallery, and you man the gallery, then they will show your work. Often only after you have been a member there a full year. These my seem good to some but can also be very costly. What's worse is they require you to actually work in the gallery (not just while your work is up on the walls).

    Another type of gallery is the commercial gallery. I have had dealings with a number of commercial galleries who take a percentage of the sale price of the prints. IMO these work out better then the Co-op gallery in the long run as they actively try to sell your work, that's how they make their money. The rates have varied from 25% - 50% of the sale price going to the gallery. I have heard of other galleries charging up to 60-70% but thankfully I never ran across any of those places.

    True representation is more then just showing your work on their walls of the gallery. A gallery will select some prints to show to their clients when your not on their walls. They know what their clients like to buy, they may not want to hold onto some of what you might think is your best work. They will pick out photographs that feel they can sell to their clients.

    Back to the percentages, a number of the galleries that I dealt with that did charge the lower percentages are out of business now. So its not always a good thing to get the best deal for you the photographer.
    George Losse
    www.georgelosse.com

  4. #4

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    Unlike George on my first try I ran into the ones that charge 70%. Let me tell you how I was reeled in. We got together after they agreed to show my work and I brought an invetory of the prints with the prints. So the guy asks "how much you want to price the prints?" My answer was $120 per 8x10 and $180 per 12x20. My thinking was, this is my first show and these are the prices I can afford when I buy a print. So the guy goes, ok, my commision is 50%, I said fine I expected that, and then he goes, and I am adding to the price of the prints and additional 50% for gallery expenses. So the prints ended up costing $180 for the 8x10s and $270 for the 12x20 of which I only keep $60 for the 8x10 and 90 for the 12x20.

    Of course this being Mexico, he has sold only 2...lol...So then I call him to see what was going on and ask him when were they planning to change the show (by now they have had my prints for 2 months) So they say: well, we are having problems finding a photgrapher for the next show, so we are changing it until the end of October, but then he goes " If you give me a better price for the prints I want to keep 3 more prints"...lol...I am thinking, yeah right! I am sure he has customer for the 3 additional prints and he just wants to keep more money.....I must have stupid written on my forehead!

    So they are out there. The thing is there are only two galleries in Mexico that exclusively show phtography, I cannot afford to make enemies even as the guy looks me in the eye and tries to cheat me. So if you are planning to go the gallery route, beware, some are good and specially in the US they seem to be better, but you have to "bear and grin" sometimes.

  5. #5

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    Jorge

    Personally, rather, photographically I am not ready for gallery representation. My interest was mainly on how it was done and what it cost if, and when the time comes. Interesting story though and I hope it becomes more productive for you.

    Joe & George
    Thanks for the link and comments. I am amazed that the cut is or can be 50% or more. Surely 100% mark up is uncommon in most marketing avenues, or is it the ART label that inflates it. The Lenswork article was excellent and I shall read them again tonight. Seems that Art for the common man is still unatainable

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

  6. #6

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    Philldresser said: "Joe & George
    Thanks for the link and comments. I am amazed that the cut is or can be 50% or more. Surely 100% mark up is uncommon in most marketing avenues, or is it the ART label that inflates it. The Lenswork article was excellent and I shall read them again tonight. Seems that Art for the common man is still unatainable"

    Phill,

    100 % markup is routine here in the United States. This is true in many businesses and industries at the retail level. The common term here in the US is "Keystone" for a 100% markup. There are some segments that charge more then 100% markup...notable among those are clothing and jewelry.

  7. #7

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    Phill
    have you bought popcorn at a theater? It costs the theater maybe ten cents to fill the large bag and the customer pays how many dollars? Huge mark ups are the norm not the exceptions.
    I grew up with the son of a sculptor. His dad regularly paid thirty percent at galleries.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  8. #8

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    I actually worked in the Horticultural trade for years where 100% markup was very common. I nievely thought that this was not a common practice in todays competitive environment. Shows how out of touch I am.

    What about virtual galleries? do they work on the same principles even though they have less overhead

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

  9. #9

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    The gallery that represents my work in Ontario uses this system...

    Artist/Gallery Type of work

    60/40 for Limited Editions

    For originals (paintings etc...) The rate is higher for the artist, but I don't know exactly what it is... Possibly 70/30.

    This is my only experience with a gallery that sells my work.

    joe

  10. #10

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    Excusing my low level questions, if you submitted a limited edition, say a portfolio of five images, would you supply a)multiple copies as stock, or b) make to order? I gather from other comments about the photographer getting the short straw that the former is more common.

    If this is the case what sort of numbers are usually requested and is norm for a limited edition?

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

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