How much should I charge for my art? How much should a limited edition print cost? These are questions I often hear and would love to have an open discussion about it. It is such a difficult theme to discuss and there is certainly no exact right answer or formula. In this article I will tell you how I think an art piece should be priced and the way I do it. I am in no way telling you that this is the unique way to do it, this is just my way of doing it.
I might write some things that many will not agree with, but I think it is important for me to mention it, because it has been bothering me for a while now.
Limited Edition Photography:
I sell limited edition photography. That means that it will only be printed in a very limited number. For me personally, I think that you can’t call your prints limited edition if you start to print 50, 75, 100 or even 500 times your image. That is not what I understand under limited edition photography. I will never print more than 20 times a photograph. For my newest collection I even go lower than that. Not more than 10 prints will be available of each photo. Why does that matter you’re asking? Well I think that plays a major role in pricing your art. If we as photographers want to be considered in the art world as artists then we need to finally understand that is not by selling 100 prints of an image that we will be able to do it. We live in a world overwhelmed with content. People are no longer searching for massive content but rather for rarity. Something only he will have for himself. Trough the purchase of art, the collector becomes part of the artist's life. The collector has on his wall a very special moment you captured.
How I price my artwork:
When I have an image and I think it is ready to be sold, the second question I ask myself is: How much do I wish to make after it is sold out? The first question being: Is this artwork completed for me? That is for me the number one question. I look at photography as a painter looks at his painting. I don’t see ten prints; I see one image. If a painter thinks that 1000$ is a fair profit for his painting, he will price his artwork after calculating his material costs, working hours, gallery commission to a price where he’ll have 1000$ left as pure profit. Me as a photographer I take the exact same approach.
If I have an image and my final profit goal is for example 1000$, I will distribute my profit through the 10 prints I will maybe sell.
Let’s take a real example in order to help you understanding what I exactly mean:
IMPACT is an image I took in Portugal 2 years ago. That specific image is available in these different sizes:
30cm image will only be printed 4 times; the 75cm image will be printed 2 times and the 100cm collector version only 1 single time. This means that this image will only be printed 7 times! If I sell this picture out I would love to have a total profit of 800€. In order to achieve it, I split the 800€ through my 7 prints.
For the affordable print I apply 75€ per print, for the medium print I set my margin to 150€ and finally 200€ for the large one.
To that margin I add my material costs. I only print on the best available paper and for me today; there is no better paper available than the Hahnemühle Fine Art Photo Rag Matt 308 GSM. The problem with that paper is, that it is extremely expensive compared to other brands and qualities. For example: If I print a 90cmX60cm print this alone will cost me 90€. People oftentimes have no idea how expensive it is to print on good quality paper. In addition we’ll have to add the packing costs (sturdy tube, acid free paper, bubble wrap, etc.). And finally comes the commission of the gallery, which can range from 35% to 50% depending on the gallery you chose to work with.
Before starting collecting art and creating it, I was completely unaware of how much it would cost to produce such fine art. Today, when I see a photograph selling for 1000$ for a 90cmX60cm I think that the price is justified depending on the artists reputation.
Speaking of artist’s reputation. That is of course another major factor on the artwork’s price. I think it is completely normal to have to pay over 10.000$ for a small Nick Brandt picture. Yes it is very expensive, but also unique. No one today creates what he does.
Art price conclusion:
As you can see with my article, there are a few factors that play a roll on your pricing. How many times will that picture be printed? What materials are you using? How many hours did you spend creating your image? Is it unique? Do you seriously think you created something worth investing money in it? Ask yourself those questions and be honest with yourself. I am sure you’ll know quite quickly how much you can charge a collector for your art.
I would love to hear your opinion on this subject. How do you price your artwork? Share this article with your friends and share your opinion with me.
Don’t wait for happiness; grab it.