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Thread: Do lower priced prints sell better ?

  1. #1
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    In another thread, Paul Butzi made a remark that you could make more money by pricing prints lower, because they would sell in higher volumes. Paul's experience apparently has been that
    lower priced prints sell more. While this seems a very intuitive proposition, it has been disputed by several photographers (the names of Ken Duncan, Alain Briot, and Dan Heller come immediatly to mind) who all make a living (a very good living in the case of Ken Duncan) selling prints. My own experience is that raising prices did not slow down sales, however I am not too inclined to "experiment" with price points, as I find that somehow unfair to early buyers to lower prices.

  2. #2
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    It depends on the market. I'm sure Paul's reasonable sounding economics hold sway in some markets, but in others, the opposite has proven true. Price is one of the the qualities certain buyers use gauge the quality of a piece of art. This sounds ridiculous, but the truth is, there are a lot of people who have trouble trusting their own tastes, and they need some serious outside affirmation that they're getting something good.

    How do you deal with them? Charge more. They'll feel better about it. Everyone wins.

    The long answer is that there a lot of factors. If you're selling in an established market, and if you're willing to let the market determine your prices (not always a given), then I think the best thing to do is base your prices on research or on the experience of your rep or dealer. Succesful dealers tend to know their customers ... that's how they got succesful.

  3. #3

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    That was the experience of a local pt/pd photographer who now regularly sells on ebay. When he began, he had his prices higher and wasn't getting very far. He lowered them to about $50 or something. Due to increased volume, his overall income from print sales increased. More recently, he's been able to raise prices because some people look for his work.

  4. #4
    Stephen Willard's Avatar
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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    I am exhibiting my prints in a gallery as a permanent artists. The gallery is located in a very upscale part of Denver (Cherry Creek) and they are priced accordingly. They are not priced cheap.

    I just recently participated in my first art show in Denver at the end of May. Here is the results.

    1. Overall the show had poor sale performance.

    2. There were about 10 photographers exhibiting there.

    3. All of the photographers except myself and one other had purchased power for lighting their prints.

    4. My booth was a borrowed rundown tent with prints poorly displayed. Everyone else had beautiful tents with excellent displays.

    5. My prints were poorly mounted. My prints were taped mounted and showed wrinkles. Some visitors commented about this and left.

    6. My prices were priced considerable less then the others. I priced a framed 16x20 print at $275. The same print is price at $400 at the gallery. I sold $850 of prints which was more than anybody else except one. Most photographers had zero sales. Many visitors commented about how reasonable my prices were.

  5. #5

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    I certainly wouldn’t lower print prices. As you mention it is unfair for your early buyers, who certainly expect your prices to go up (after all collecting is business too) and a bad sign to your potential buyers who might have been aware of your previous prices.
    However, there are other methods that could work: offering larger print runs & smaller sized prints and limited editions (larger prints) of the same picture. In this way you might get the best of both ends. Of course, it all depends on your market, but this is a quite common strategy amongst photo galleries here in Europe who offer unlimited smaller sized prints at usually 1/5 to 1/10 price of, say, a 5 to 10 limited edition. At least this is what I’ve seen lately. Just an idea, might work for your market or might not!

  6. #6

    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    It's not what you charge, it's what people will pay. Check out this Brooks Jensen blog on selling his photographs. His personal work is digital, but he has sold more than 17,000 gelatin silver prints through his LensWork Special editions series, so he understands photographic marketing.

    http://www.lenswork.com/lwb.htm

    Look for the September 12 blog, "1,000 photographs."

  7. #7

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    Dear Tuan, now that I checked your website, I believe your prints are priced low already. I do think your biggest sizes have too large an edition, you know better of course, but do you think you will run-out of an edition of 50 30x45" prints or even of 100 24x36"? Maybe smaller editions (20, max) of these larger sizes at higher prices will have more appeal to serious collectors and could improve cash flow. They will also bring a certain exclusivity that could make the smaller prints more attractive at your actual rates. Best,

  8. #8

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    FWIW, I found the ideal, the nirvana of print market pricing some years ago. I limited editions to fewer and fewer prints, and prints to smaller and smaller physical dimensions while raising prices to almost unbelievable heights. From time to time a print sold nonetheless. I escalated until now I've clientel who are quite happy to pay as much as $250,000 for no print at all!

    (Here is where the reader wakes up and all the bad guys are run over by a truck.)

  9. #9

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    I don't have as much experience selling prints as I'd like but based on what I do have I think it depends a lot on where you're selling them. If you're in a good gallery I think higher prices should be fine, people expect to pay higher prices in a top notch gallery and probably would think there was something wrong if a 16x20 print was priced at $50. If you're selling at an arts festival or arts/crafts fair or places like that where there are a lot of curosity people attending, lower prices probably help. I'd guess that lower prices probably also help if you're selling from a web site.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10

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    Do lower priced prints sell better ?

    Sell my prints? Now that'd be something.....

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