View Full Version : Thought I would share this.
I came across this page and find it very informative. I have been thinking about selling some prints and was trying to decide how much $ to price them at so the sections "About Longevity" and "About Commerce" helped alot.
This is part of Brooks Jensen's page:
THE LINK(CLICK) (http://www.brooksjensenarts.com/pigmentonpaper.htm#commerce)
Later dudes and dudettes!
I read the original article in LensWork about limited additions, and I agree with Brooks Jensen that artificial limits on prints are not really a great idea. I much prefer the idea of the "Real People Pricing", so that everybody can have art that they enjoy. There are, of course, good reasons for limiting an edition, such as time and cost, availability of materials, etc.
It's not that I'm not opposed to people making money, it's just that I don't have any to spend, so I guess I fall in the category of "Real People".
Brooks elaborates on this in his podcast here: http://www.lenswork.com/podcast/060421%20-%20Why%20I%20Became%20Interested%20in%20Photograph y.mp3
LensWork has become an outstanding resource for me, a great publication.
Random thoughts and rants about this topic:
-- What about the well-heeled art collector who can easily afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per work -- and is already paying those prices to buy artworks created in the media of painting, printmaking, etc.? Does it really make sense in marketing terms for him to be able to buy comparable artworks (comparable in terms of rarity, "handmade-ness," time required for production" in the photography medium for $50?
-- I see lots of young, hip, supposedly starving-artist student types who don't mind paying $125 for a concert ticket, $150 for a pair of sunglasses, or $4 for a can of "energy drink" that tastes like floor polish. Are these the "real people" for whom we're supposed to be pricing work?
-- I used to take the view that it made more sense to price handmade original prints at the same levels comparable to other paper-media artworks, and make the work available to "the people" through other media such as posters and calendars, although now that so many art prints are digitally reproduced I'm not sure that lines up any more.
-- This whole pricing philosophy assumes the existence of scads of appreciative-but-impoverished "real people" out there who love art and would buy more of it if only prices were lower. Do these worthy souls really exist in significant numbers? And, how low is low? If we decided a "fair" price for an original print were $50, there exist people who would still say, "I can't afford to spend that much. Maybe $25." And then there would be people who claim $25 is too much, and so on down the line. This isn't idle speculation, either. I used to be the marketing director of a ballet company, and one of my jobs was to try to give away surplus tickets to senior citizen centers etc. You wouldn't believe how many of these places would claim that FREE was "too much" -- they'd say, "Well, maybe if you gave us the tickets AND sent a van to pick up the seniors, and maybe had some kind of refreshments afterward..." You just can't win against this kind of thinking. It reflects a total lack of respect for the notion that your art has ANY value.
-- Let's face it, 99.99% of people in general don't care about collecting art, and the few who do care might actually prefer to pay a more significant sum for it. As a painter friend of mine once said, "People judge value by price. You never want to be the cheapest painter in town."
What you want to charge for your art is fair at whatever price point you set for it.
I am not suggesting or endorsing any kind of pricing structure for anyone else, I just found the page(and I will listen to the podcast, Thanks Todd!) helpful to me in figuring out where I want to be.
Until very recently, I had never sold any thing; I've given prints to most of my freinds and family that have been well received but those were gifts(birthdays and christmas, etc.).
When I got my copy of the 2nd RFF book, I showed it to a few people(OK, I showed it to everyone who came anywhere near me:D ) and one person asked me for a "big print" of one of my photos. I charged him a modest amount of money--cost of the print and matting/framing and a small "profit" for me. The experience has given my confidence a boost and so I've begun going through my negs/prints to see what I have to sell. As of now, I'm thinking smallish prints in basic mat/frames at a modest price. Not anything to make a living at but maybe a little extra $ for film/gear/whatever.
And if I keep the price fairly low, I figure more folks will be tempted. I'll see how that works out.
So this article helped me clarify my thinking.
"Art" does have intrinsic value I think. But I value other artists' work more than my own; I've seen some very good photos I'd be happy to pay lots more than I'm willing to charge for my work.
I haven't quite decided how I feel about effectively "unlimited" editions, though. My inclination is to do very few or one of any one image--not to inflate the price--to let the owners have some assurance that they do have something unique/uncommon.
Edit:Let's face it, 99.99% of people in general don't care about collecting art,
Probably true, I'll be happy with folks who just want a pretty picture to hang in their hime.
Enjoyed all of Brooks article; however, here's a link to Alain Briot's take on pricing and why (Just to present another side to the pricing philosophy):
As for me, well, I'd be happy to sell enough of my photos just to break even and afford to keep shooting film!
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