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Thread: Print Prices for Online Sales

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    I'm in the process of building a LF body of work for future print sales and personal satisfaction in learning the art. I am currently developing skills with a 4x5 Speed using 120 (6x9) film and testing a variety of old lenses. One of my interests is female portraits which I am willing to pay $25-$40 for 8x10 prints. When I look at portraits and fall in love with the subject matter and lighting my next thought process is how the image was captured and print materials used. That's just me, for example if the photographer processed the complete workflow using professional materials and or alternative process, that justifies my mind in print value and of course my paycheck determines my budget. Any comments on the values that make you want to buy prints?


    ~vm~

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    Buying inexpensive artist prints from your peers and heros saves you the awkward moment of when your offer of "trading" prints is met with reluctance. Been on both sides of that one....

  3. #13

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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    Hi Merge,

    I do not see how pricing is an ethical issue in either circumstance. People constantly make a choice between buying online for lower prices than from local merchants - they trade off convenience and service for price. I can see why a gallery would not want to sell art that could be bought on the WWW - they probably would not care what the price was, it would undermine their sales even at the same price.

    I especially do not see why you cannot lower prices at a later date - are you hypothecating that prints are intrinsically different from other goods? These are open edition prints, which, to me, means there are no representations that the price you pay is going to be protected in either direction. I think a limited edition must be respected as to the limited number of prints, but even that does not imply any protection of prices. All of this changes when you start making representations about price stability, which could include saying that your prints are a good investment.

    For myself, I am not offering prints larger than 11x14 so that I have the option of offering larger prints at higher prices or through a gallery, and I am not offering any limited editions. I must admit that I am not holding my breath for gallery representation. I am resolutely not trendy and my Katrina prints are very strong - several gallery folks have admired the prints but made it clear that no one wants to hang such depressing prints on the wall.:-) They made the very reasonable suggestion that I should do a book, which I may do when I get the WWW sorted out.

  4. #14
    still chasing shadows
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    Quote Originally Posted by Merg Ross View Post
    Also, the "once low, always low" concept works both ways. You can raise your prices, however you can not at a later date lower them, assuming that you are offering the same product; again, an ethical consideration.
    What is wrong ethicaly for selling prints cheaper down the road? Do stores break some kind of ethics rules when they have a sale? What if 5 years from now ink and paper are cheaper or I find myself with a stack of prints that I want to get rid of and sell on the cheap? Would it be wrong to lower the price?

    Or what if I find it is better to sell 3 prints at $50 a pop instead of 1 at $100? Should I be forced to limit my income just because I sold a print for $100 a year ago?

  5. #15
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    2,695

    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    wallace, there is kind of an unwritten code that suggests prices can only go up ...just like day-rates.
    commercialphotographers are never allowed to lower their rates either ...

    but .. sometimes rules are meant to be broken ...

    good luck with your venture ed !

  6. #16
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    We are not talking about mass-produced widgets here, but works of art. A work of art is in general priced proportionally to the reputation of the artist. When you lower your prices, you give the signal that your reputation is declining, or that it was over-estimated in the first place. I wouldn't call that "ethically wrong", but still I don't think it is a good idea if done in a systematic way (as opposed to a temporary sale).

  7. #17

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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    Quote Originally Posted by QT Luong View Post
    We are not talking about mass-produced widgets here, but works of art. A work of art is in general priced proportionally to the reputation of the artist. When you lower your prices, you give the signal that your reputation is declining, or that it was over-estimated in the first place. I wouldn't call that "ethically wrong", but still I don't think it is a good idea if done in a systematic way (as opposed to a temporary sale).
    I agree with the first comments in your reply. I would not use the term "ethically wrong" either, because ethics by definition, refers to the morals of a particular person. I merely suggested that selling for less was an "ethical consideration".

    I sold my first prints fifty years ago to George Eastman House for $15 dollars each. My most recent sale to a collector was for considerably more; however, never have I sold a particular image to a buyer for less than was paid by a previous buyer or buyers. This is simply my personal way of doing business and what I consider ethical.

    I made mention to Ed in case he had not considered how his work would be viewed with reduced prices in the future. It has nothing to do with a guarantee of price stability, but rather how highly one regards his or her work. There are many ways to market art, no right or wrong way.

  8. #18

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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    I believe that Edward Weston charged $10 for an 8x10, eventually went up to $15. He was somewhat higher than St. Ansel or Imogene.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  9. #19

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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_1856 View Post
    I believe that Edward Weston charged $10 for an 8x10, eventually went up to $15. He was somewhat higher than St. Ansel or Imogene.
    The most that EW received in his lifetime for a print was $25. That was the going price in 1958 when his sons divided up his work and started selling it.

  10. #20

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    Re: Print Prices for Online Sales

    I wonder if there is a lesson here - some of the most valuable prints are those of artists who had little financial success from their art for most or all of their lives. I recently read the sad words that WeeGee wrote after talking to the then very elderly Stiglitz, whose work was ignored and who felt he had failed as a artist. Wonder what Gursky will be selling for 50 years from now, when those early Frank Petronio bad gurl pics will be the rage among collectors?

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