How to price your photos

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by alex_matus, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Hello to everyone,

    I have been a part time photographer for many years. I do know how to charge say for couple of hours of a photo-shoot. I do NOT know how to price a photo. Lets say its an art photo. I was asked to raise money for a good cause for a non profit. They asked me what is the price of your photos? I have no idea how to price them. My audience will be online and of course we want to raise as much funds as we can. I have donated few photos before that went at the auction for $800 to $1000 a piece. But I do not think that even for a good cause people will pay that much per photo.

    So how do I price a photo?

    Please help............ All your ideas, comments and input is welcomed.

    Thank you.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  2. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    This is a mystical art! One cannot equate a selling price derived from a charitable fundraiser auction with 'regular' production and sales channels. People will spend LOTS of money supporting a cause--and not necessarily having anything to do with the pecuniary worth of your art. I recently had one 'slow moving' print go for $450 at a domestic violence shelter fundraiser--the same print would normally retail for $90-100 (13x19 size in 18x24"conservation matte).

    Consider this a very 'regional' pricing schema. I just completed a Creative-Arts/NYSCA professional development program, and we wrestled with this matter for three months. There is gallery pricing, venue pricing, and online pricing. Each will vary according to where one is within a region--large cities bear a greater price than locations in 'flyover country.' Here are a few tips though:

    • Look at Etsy for artists producing similar content to yours. Average some prices together per print size. This is your bottom line price.
    • Check local venues--custom decorating outlets and galleries. Average the price.
    • Unless you are recognized, gallery price does not matter. And whatever prices you see--remain aware that the gallery is taking 30-40% of the cost for their services.
    Consult your Ouija board, and make sure that your costs and time are properly covered. You can go with your arrived at 'normal' cost, or choose something incrementally up to double that cost--just because it is for fundraising purposes and people will pay for that consideration...
    Phil_Light and dcstep like this.
  3. Papa Tango,

    You are an inspiration with your input. Thank you for you detailed response its much appreciated. . I will check all of the websites you mentioned and all tine info you provided.
    I can then can make some sort of a decision. I feel as if I am all ALONE in this process an no one really can give me an answer, understandably so.

    Thank you again, you gave me a base to start with.

    Yours Truly,

    Photographer at work :))


  4. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Alex, I hope that you get some additional input from others here--but obviously there is no 'magic formula' for figuring prices on any sort of art. At the aforementioned program I attended, this question was asked of each of the very talented and nationally known facilitators/presenters--and the answer was that"it varies." :confused:

    Anyone else care to chime in on this?
    Stephen_Prunier likes this.
  6. When I sold prints of my landscape photos, I typically charged $150 for a matted, framed, 10 X 15 archival print in a 16 X 20 frame. I based that price on the fact that, at the time, it cost me about $40 to produce such print ($20 frame, $8 ink, $12 paper and mat board and mounting materials).
    cariejane likes this.
  7. Thanks
    Thank you for your input. These photos will be sold online. The idea is to sell prints only, I do not believe we will be framing them as well. Simply the fun raiser will be done online, and it could be into thousands of prints ( or we hope that it will ). IF we start framing them as well, we will simply run out money, since most of the budget will be spend to market online. Or do you think we should frame them as well?

    again. Yes you are right, the more people I speak to in the business the more I understand that everyone sets up their prices accordi
  8. If you are going to sell thousands or even hundreds of prints, you need to have them printed by offset lithography, because even a few minutes per print will add up to way too much time.
    William Michael and alex_matus like this.

  9. Thank you for you input.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    If you think like that, then you are behind the eight-ball before you start and likely you will never succeed in realizing your goal..

    You want to sell prints on line to raise money for a good cause...

    Consider making each print a LIMITED RUN (200 is a good number) and guarantee destruction of the image file: and triple or quintriple the price that you have already thought of.

    You are already an established "sold" artist - $1000 for a photo - Advertise that as a fact.

    Only release a selection of a few prints at any one time and keep an update on the number remaining before the destruction of the image file.

    As Charles mentioned get them printed - make sure that they are excellent display quality and package them well and ensure prompt delivery.

    Apart from the cost of printing, packing and posting (which you would have anyway) - the only additional effort required is presenting yourself as professional, successful and worthy of the asking price ... before the limited edition ends.

    Charles_Webster likes this.
  11. WW,

    Thank you for your input, it is much appreciated. Its a great thought. If this fund raiser works out, will limited edition wont actually limit the number of prints I can sell?
    I was pondering on this idea as well. IF I sell the photos for say $100 to $150 per print depends on the size, in unlimited number. Verses selling he print for $250 - $350 limited edition. Yes fewer buyers but the cost per print is more. Will that not limit the the number of prints I can sell? And will that not limit the fund raiser itself? The presentation and who I am as a photographer is not an issue. I can present my bio, including the 9/11 photos that are in the Memorial Museum in NY. But the cost per print still stands. What would you charge per print? Limited edition verses non limited?

    Kind Regards

  12. AJG


    If you say it is a limited edition, then it must really be a limited edition. New York, among other states, has laws about this and you must keep records and be able to document that you have only made the number that you say you are going to make. The argument for limiting an edition is that you have created scarcity by stating that there will only be a fixed number of prints and therefore can justify a higher price. If you think that you can potentially sell thousands of prints of an image then you may choose not to limit the edition since the initial buyers may profit from future resale of a now more valuable print due to scarcity. To be blunt, unless your name is Paul Strand, Edward Weston or Ansel Adams this probably won't happen. To be clear, I don't mean to cast any aspersions on the quality or value of your photographs, but I do mean to point out the realities of the market place, which are that there is a limited demand for photographic prints from any but the most famous (and usually dead) photographers. I wish it wasn't true, but in my experience it is. Back to your original question--for fundraising purposes, a lot of lower priced prints will probably raise more money than fewer expensive ones, but that is something that the fundraising people from the organization you're working with should have some knowledge of. They should have a good idea of who their donors are and the size of usual donations, which might be a good start on figuring out what kind of printing method to use, quantities, etc.

  13. HI AJG,

    Thank you for your valuable input. That is what I gathered. My name is not Pal Strand or Edward Weston, unfortunately. Limited editions are great but I am no where near them. It was a good idea though. Unfortunately non-profit can not help me with this issue at hand. Its is completely up to me and good people like yourself to decide how to prices the prints. For now I am thinking in or around $99 dollars for a standard print 10 x 18. ,
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with Andrew Gillis’ points regarding the fame of those who can more easily command an (high) price for limited editions.

    Also I agree that IF you advertise “LIMITED EDITION” then it must be limited edition – whatever the local laws state, sticking to what you say is simply just best business practice.

    However, from a purely business point of view (and that’s where my comments were predicted): IF you can turnover 200 Limited Edition Prints for $349 each, within 3 months, then that is (in my opinion) much better than selling 1000 prints for $99 each and taking 6~12 months to do it. . . (as for one point - the tedium and labour in 1000 is much more than 5 times the effort of 200).

    (That also addresses your question to me about what would be the indicative price that would I set)

    Noted, I am ignorant of your market-place and also your pitch and also the non profit organization which is involved and (importantly) their reach and advertising and their marketing experience.

    What I do know: my primary scaffold for any quantum of sales is that I’d always ere towards leveraging fewer sales at an higher per unit price and to complete all the sales in the shortest period of time possible.

    Your market place; your experience; your support system might not be best suited for that framework – I don’t know – and neither is better than the other: you much choose what is best for your situation.

    HOWEVER - It does seem excessively odd to me that the non-profit organization cannot provide to you any support; data; or history of donors/donations, that could allow you a more analytical basis for pricing the prints that you are generously donating.

    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Having worked for a major charitable organization in the course of a variable career path, I can tell you that there is always a previous contributors list, often broken down by contribution value. These are frequently jealously guarded, but if this is a major initiative you should be able to gain access to all but the very top -- those are usually contacted by a particular person.
    William Michael likes this.
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    . . . even if this is the 'first' fundraiser, I'd expect that the organization would have a list of 'members' or some charter of names and addresses, professions etc . . .
    I think that there would be a lot of data to access to gain an insight as to whom the pitch audience actually is and it is only in the Fundraising Organization's own interest to use that information for best outcomes.

    alex_matus likes this.
  17. Thank you WW,

    I see you point. I spoke to the organization, they not willing to do an email blast to thousands of their followers. Do to their privacy laws. I asked. They are willing to promote me on their social media. I need to find out the traffic. I also clearly understand your point about limited edition, makes sense. This will be my first run, so I dont want to price the prints to high. In order to see how many will actually sell. However, you brought up an interesting point, I might offer limited time ( say 3 months). This way i can create another photo shoot after that time. I also can see what the response will be.
  18. Easy. Find photos similar to yours and see how much they are going for. If you think your's are better, price them a little higher. Look for what the market is paying for it and price accordingly.
    alex_matus likes this.
  19. Thank you for your input. A very good idea :)) Simple and to the point.

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