Pricing Alternative Photography?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by billy_mabrey, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. I work with a historical photography process called Gum Bichromate. If you are not familiar, it involves mixing your own emulsion using pigment, coating it on paper, and exposing it to UV light with a development in water. Several layers can be over printed for rich tones and/or color. It is a manually intensive process somewhere between the realms of printmaking, painting, and photography. You can see my prints and learn more about the process at my website here:

    I have shown my prints at a few shows in the past 2 years and sold a few prints through a non-profit gallery and other sources. Often, I feel as if the people purchasing my prints would have spent far more to own one. However, I get the overall impression from most including myself that my prints are priced too high.
    This week I received word that a photography history class at the university of Virgina was discussing my work. One of the students contacted me to ask why my prints were priced so low. Recently several people (painters and other photographers) ask the same question? Some sell their paintings for a few grand, and some charge $700 for an inkjet photograph. I would think photographs priced so high would never leave the walls?

    Currently I price my prints in a range from $50 - $200 with most falling between $100 - $150, depending on my personal perceived quality of the print. I understand that often a photographers style and uniqueness, and his name recognition are more then enough reason to raise prices, but to what extent? I began with prints priced between 200-400 and nothing sold. What then is a suitable price range for my work?

    of course this is a difficult question with no certain answer, but your thoughts are much appreciated.
  2. Set the price at what you think it should be. It's easy to find art that costs too damn much/not that great. If you like the price you have your work set at now, then do not worry about it. If you feel like you could be making more, try small price increases. This may go against everything that everybody else thinks, but that is why they are my thoughts.

  3. If you've made a name for yourself in that field a price increase is not unreasonable and sometimes expected. I've heard of occasions where a judicious price increase can raise the percieved value of the work and actually sell more. Check other works that are similar and selling well and take note of what they sell for and who buys them.
  4. I?ve sold normal prints at around 100 x 60 cm for between 300 and 500 euros. Considering your process and the fact that prints in galleries often go for 1000, I?d say you can command more. How many versions of each photo are you offering? Are these one-offs due to the process? In that case, I?d say charge a heck of a lot more, although keeping the price low certainly attracts more buyers.
  5. Being an artist (as well as a photographer), I have a hard time putting a price on my artwork. If you are unsure as to how to price your work, simply use a per square inch price. So say it's a 12x18, and you choose to do $1 per sq", then your price would be $216. Now depending on the piece and how attached you are to it, $$$ it cost you to make it, amount of time, how much grief it gave you while making it, can increase the price. Once you get comfortable selling your work at those prices and the more your work is becoming popular you can always increase it accordingly.

    Another thing I noticed...
    I tried finding the size of your prints but I couldn't...and then I found out that you let the customer choose their size. Which I can see why you would chose to do it that way, cause it gives the customer more options and possibilities, and hopefully more of a reason to purchase it. But as an artist...composition and how you choose to crop your images plays a big part in how appealing the image is. How you make the viewers eye move around the image, to really experience it the way you intended it to be. And once you start offering different dimensions in print sizes, the original picture you are advertising, will be subject to cropping, and therefore making it less appealing to the eye.

    But also as a buyer, giving me soo many choices and I have to make a decision between all these choices...I tend to be put off, and just choose to not bother. I think if you limit the sizes to fit the dimensions of your original crop, to maybe 2 or 4 sizes available, that may be a bit more helpful too. Also seeing all those sizes available for printing makes a buyer think that there could be hundreds out there, and of course when there is only limited editions sold, it seems to be more appealing because you know you are one of few that own it.

    And I know we are talking about photography here, but to me, what you do is a lot like painting as you do involve painting as a part of your process. And you work does have a painting feel to them. They are not your typical landscape photography, or portrait photography. I think you do need to give yourself more of an exclusive feel and I think that will help your business. But anyways that is just my thoughts and feelings on the situation. Hope it helped!
  6. I also wanted to point out that photography to me is no different to painting. Composition, colors, lights, and shadows,are all common in both media, there is just a different way of going about it. I just wanted to make that clear, just in case someone took what I wrote the wrong way. There's a reason why painting and photography are both my passions!

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