Incense

by Bart Arondson

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I have the opportunity to share a couple of my photos in an upcoming local photography exhibit. Myself and many of the others participating are non-professional hobbyists. Is there a standard or etiquette as to how much one should charge for a print? I'm not concerned about actually making a sale. I just don't want to look like a fool by charging way too much or way too little.

I will be displaying a framed 8x10" print. Advice on pricing for other sizes and presentation options, such as matting, would be appreciated as well!

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This question touched on it a bit: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14169/… –  dpollitt Nov 3 '11 at 14:14
    
Have you asked others who have participated in this event before and are also non-professional hobbyists? –  dpollitt Nov 3 '11 at 14:17
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An excellent blog post from Mike Johnston on this topic: The Problem of Pricing –  mattdm Nov 5 '11 at 14:34

2 Answers 2

Quite a few things need to go into your decision. You need to consider the following:

  • The total cost of printing, shipping, matting, bags, and framing(glass/wood/backing)
  • Your total time spent on the above process, and the hourly amount you feel comfortable making in the process
  • What other photographers in the area charge, especially at this event or location

You want to make sure you are competitively pricing your prints, so if possible you can pocket a profit, but still sell a few prints. Do you want to sell 1 print, or 100? Keep that in mind when setting your pricing.

As this sounds like your first experience selling prints, you will want to stay on the safe side and probably only print 1 of each image, or maybe a few if you feel that image will gain enough attention. I would recommend not going overboard and bringing hundreds of mated prints to a first exhibition though!

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I'm a gallery represented photographer (at the Charles Baltivik Gallery in Provincetown), when starting out I got some great advice.

1) You can never ever lower your price. If you do this, the people who bought at the higher price will remember and not be happy. If a person bought one of your prints, they like your stuff and will probably buy more. I'd say half of my sales are from repeat collectors.

2) Chose a small number of sizes and crop all your work to those sizes. Believe it or not, inventory management of frames and mattes gets expensive and tedious. This means that sometimes your shot won't be cropped exactly the way you like it. Get over that. (And shoot wider than normal so you have some cropping freedom!)

3) Do not date your work where it is visible. Some collectors only buy fresh work, they'll ignore last years work.

4) When pricing, remember the gallery will get a cut, often around 50%. This needs to be taken into account when ensuring you don't sell at a loss. For example, you can get a good print for around $10, frame it yourself for about $40. Now, if you sell it for $80, gallery takes half. What's left for you? -$10.

5) Prints are cheap, frames are expensive, especially considering inventory. Make sure you can reuse your frames.

And frankly, just to make your life easier, just mark it NFS.

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NFS? Is that shorthand for a certain pricing scheme? –  Thanh Nov 18 '11 at 17:02
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Sorry, NFS is marked on a print that is Not For Sale –  Paul Cezanne Nov 18 '11 at 17:20

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