General Question

lilikoi's avatar

How should I be pricing my photos? And, what's the best way to mat?

Asked by lilikoi (10084points) July 14th, 2010

So a consignment gallery in town may be interested in selling some of my work. This would be a first and I have zero professional experience so I am a total n00b here not a seasoned or well-known artist.

I have decided to print my photos at 8×10 and 11×14 and must mat them myself (probably to 11×14 and 16×20) [do some sizes sell better?]. Online, the prints cost about $3 and $5 respectively plus shipping, but I will be doing it locally and expect to pay a bit more. I can get a 16×20 mat here for about $7.50; perhaps the 11×14 one will be $5. So I’m looking at around maybe $10—$15 per photo plus the time and equipment it took to take each photo, post-process, print, and mat. I’m expecting this will end up being a labor of love (i.e., that I won’t be able to recoup cost of my time 100%).

In general and on average, what kind of pricing should I expect? What is a decent gallery/me percentage breakdown for someone in my situation?

Also, what is the best way to mat the photos? They will not be framed. I want the photo to stay put under the mat but I am hesitant about just taping it in place because that seems so permanent. I was going to try to find some plastic casing, and place the mat, then photo, then some kind of backing (what should I use?) in it. Just not sure about how to keep the photo from moving around. Is there an industry standard or something?

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6 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Double your cost, for starters. Plus 25%.

nikipedia's avatar

I can’t help, but if you plan to sell anything online (through etsy or similar), post a link :) We’ve been looking for some new art to put up in our testing rooms to make the lab more… hospitable.

6rant6's avatar

I think a gallery typically gets 35%. As far as what you want to charge – that’s probably more a function of what the gallery is already offering. Depending on the medium, size, at nature of the other works, I’d like mine to be priced more expensively than most, but not the highest prices in the gallery. Higher prices convey better art (sad I know) but most people want a bargain, too.

If you want your work out there, you can charge less, and consider the time you put into it as hobby. If you want to support yourself, you must charge enough to support yourself.

Is this a really jumping gallery, or one with minimal walk in? Do they actively sell your works, or does it have to sell itself? Works can sit in a gallery unsold for years if the gallery is “Casual” about sales; they deteriorate and you look bad. If they really don’t sell much, then this is not a financial decision for you – and the prices you put on your pieces are pretty much immaterial.

arpinum's avatar

8×10 prints seem overdone. I’d much rather hang an A2 sized print

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Visit several local galleries which display photographs and decide where your work fits in. Price your prints accordingly for each size you produce.

It’s always about what the market will bear for your product.

SundayKittens's avatar

Hey, good luck and good job!
All good suggestions. I will add, and you probably already know this, but don’t use colored mats if you want to be taken seriously…in my opinion.
Get some mat board the exact size/color of your mat and affix the picture very lightly to that. I would use a single piece of photo sticky stuff (techincal term). Then slip it in a plastic cover…I wonder if a shrink-wrap machine would work?

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