Pricing prints

Today Brian Auer over at Epic Edits posted a poll on how would you pay for fine art?. Of course, he’s setting up a blog/site to sell fine art photography, so figuring out pricing is quite important. But the poll came at an interesting time since today at lunch I’d just been discussing differences in purchasing power and salaries between countries with a co-worker.

The comments so far on Brian’s poll are also quite interesting and show the difference in purchasing power. While surprisingly many are willing to pay larger amounts of money for prints I ended up answering what would be my absolute maximum (without months of saving up to it ;). On the other hand, I also tried to think of a price that would feel acceptable to me as a photographer.

I ended up answering $ 80 (50 €). It’s a price that I can afford every now and then as a treat but doesn’t require months of planning and saving. I liked the point raised in one of the comments that for more expensive prints limited and possibly signed prints would justify the price. That’s seems to be the approach that chromasia has taken in their print offerings – larger prints are numbered and limited.

When considering pricing for prints there’s also a quality factor that needs to be considered. Brian’s talking about fine art photography (which I hope some shots in shutterclicks could some time be included in ;) in which prices are higher than portrait shoots etc. And justifiably so, after all with a portrait shoot the client has already payed a price for the creative effort and time to take the pictures.

We’re thinking of starting up a small dog photography business (as a side project for whatever else we do) and one the main hurdles at the moment is figuring out a pricing model that would leave us clients but wouldn’t feel like charity. Remeber, that while consumer purchasing power is rising in Finland, it still isn’t at the same level as the States. And dog enthusiasts are generally broke…

But at the same time, I can’t help but think how does cheaper pricing in portrait photography (and dog photography etc.) affect the photographers creative expenditure. Does a cheaper pricing structure mean that the full power of the photographers creativity isn’t put into the shoot? Even at a subconscious level? Or does the professionalism of the photographer mean that the client is given the full potential of the photographer?

I’d like to think that the price at which I’d sell pictures wouldn’t affect the amount of creative energy I’d put into a shoot, but in all honesty I’m not so certain. Of course, as a craftsman, I have enough professional pride (even if I’m not a pro) that I will do my very best to create quality images, but the extra mile may just be lacking. On the other hand, is there anything wrong in saving your best efforts for projects that mean a bit more than routine shoots for a client?

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