The editioning thing is getting nuts. If you do studio type constructed photos then maybe an edition of 10 can work for you because if you're actually building a photo you are surely guaranteed an image of your satisfaction. But if you travel a lot and only come across maybe 8 good images a year, then your entire print production is going to be 80 prints? You'd have to sell them at very high starting prices. Prices that can easily scare off buyers unless you're a serious name.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
A few years back I was about to sign with a very well known gallery in London. It was a done deal between the director of the gallery and me, however the owner had one request, lower my then edition size from 100 to 30. I told him that he could maybe just sell my 20x24" prints, which were limited to 20. He said the whole edition had to be 30 or less. I really wanted him to represent me, it was a prestigious gallery and it would certainly help my name, but at the time I was in about a dozen galleries and if I dropped my edition size I'd have to drop galleries and seriously raise my prices which might price me out of many galleries. I declined and the deal ended.
All of the talk about tiers and editions are also really a talk about pricing. Pricing most products is easier, you define the cost of goods based on materials, labor, distribution, marketing and profit. Also for most products there are easy price comparisons to similar products in the market and those similar products have many of the same costs as yours. With the exception of labor and distribution, many of those costs are exactly the same.
When it comes to photography, the costs can vary widely, granted the film and paper is not a major cost, but the range of equipment can vary greatly, as can the cost of the facilities you work out of, your living room or a 5000 studio or a remote location that was costly to get to. And the amount of time invested can vary greatly. But the biggest influence on price is the perception aspect. So much of what a print can sell for is based on what people are willing to pay for it regardless of what it cost to produce. If you take a print from an APUGger, a well done print somewhat Ansel like in subject matter, it may sell for $150- $1000, if that same print was signed Ansel, it would sell for $25k, 50K or more. I see work at galleries all the time, and it's the kind of stuff that would get torn to shreds in the critique section here, but with a "name" attached to it, it's a priceless work of art. At a certain level in the art world, sometimes the quality of the work matters little and the perception matters all.
My own pricing has been torturous. The first thing a gallery tells you starting out is that you can't start too high because it's fatal to lower print prices. After that they tell you to raise your prices because people won't respect the work if it's too reasonable. (Also their profit won't be high enough to make it worth their time and investment in you). I'm at a point now where my galleries in higher markets want me to raise prices but I know it'll hurt sales for me in the softer market galleries. To be honest, through the whole process of converting from ad photography to "art" (it's just the easiest term to use) by far the hardest part for me has been editioning and pricing. And after 4 years of it I still don't know if I'm dong that part right.
Last edited by Early Riser; 12-29-2006 at 08:42 AM. Click to view previous post history.