Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pricing Fine Art Photo Prints

That is a loaded subject!
The issue of pricing photography in general, and photo prints specifically, has always been THE MAIN issue among photographers, and since the age of digital photography, it is even more of an issue.
See, digital has made it easier for almost anyone to pick up a camera and declare themselves "a photographer", but photography, or rather good photography, is a lot more than just picking up a camera, pointing it at a subject, and pushing the shutter trigger. The real proffessionals have some years of education in their repertoire (and yes, there's a BA, an MA and even a Doctorate that one can obtain in the field). They have experience with various mediums, cameras, subjects, equipment & environments. All that should be taken in to account when a client wants to purchase a photo to hang on their wall.
Being a seller on Etsy, and a member of the POE  team (Photographers Of Etsy), I deal with this issue a lot. I find that the prices for fine art photography prints are all over the map. I am not saying that everyone's prices should be exactly the same, as not everyone has the same experience and starting point, but I do feel that a lot of sellers out there are practically giving their art for almost nothing. And while I say, to each his own, I feel that as long as this continues it gets harder and harder for us photographers to actually make a living here out of what we do.
I know that sometimes it feels satisfying enough to know that someone else likes your creation to actually want to hang it on their wall, but when you sell it for close to nothing, that makes me wonder if they REALLY like your work, or is it more the price that appeals to them...?
When I figure out the price for a print I take a few factors in to account:
1. The time it took me to create the image
2. Expenses I had in creating it (i.e. props)
3. The Equipment I used (trust me, when you go to the dentist, the price of his equipment is calculated in a percentage of your cost!)
4. The size and cost of the print
And of course there should be a markup to it all, as you should be making money not just breaking even all the time...
So to you photographers out there I say, be fair to yourselves, appreciate what you do, and put a rightful price to your art.
And to anyone who's ever bought or will buy a photo print, just remember that what you see hanging on your wall eventually, is a creation that took time, thought, money, and a whole lot of talent.

For more reads on the subject go here and here and here


Beth said...

I sometimes think I go a little cheap on a lot of my items... but when I started, I had no idea how to price things. As I add new items (not just prints, but jewelry and everything else), it's nice now that I'm able to go in with a bit more information.

Jessica Rogers said...

Thank you so much Tali, for saying what many of us are thinking! I want to price things appropriately and NOT have to explain why they are priced that way (especially if they look like they're priced considerably higher than others). I wish more people realized that they are paying for more than just that little piece of paper. We as photographers (and artists!) must continue to change the general perception and get ourselves squarely in the category of ART. People don't question what they're paying for with good paintings, why should it be any different for good photography?

Cat Ludwig Studio said...

Tali, well said! I totally agree with you.

Mana Moon Studios said...

I couldn't agree with you more and such a difficult subject. You explained everything perfectly. I've found many of the same issues with jewelry design and it's a travesty how low some people are willing to charge for their work. Let's hope this aspect of Etsy changes.