“how much for a print?”

Wal*Mart advises us to “Save Money, Live Better”. As consumers we strive to save money but as sellers we need to sell at an amount fair to all. How much should you charge for your work? Okay, here’s the short version: I don’t really know. For the long version, read on…

Most every photographer that has been at it for awhile has been asked for a print of their work. Perhaps you’ve created a beautiful image that someone would like to frame and they want to pay you for it. Maybe a family member or friend wants to be nice and supportive. Regardless, if you’ve been asked it’s flattering…and it means you need to come up with a price for that decor print.

There are any number of criteria used to establish the price of an image. Is it unique? Part of a limited or open edition (number) of prints? What was the process used to make the print? Is it going to a friend or the permanent collection of a multi-national corporation? Where do you fit in the marketplace, are you a highly accomplished artist or a novice?

Technology has undoubtedly changed the buying and selling of décor photographs. Printing is now largely done using a computer and inkjet printer instead of the traditional darkroom method. The internet has also changed the way that images are marketed and a great deal of exposure may be garnered by placing your photographs on a highly trafficked website.

Have you heard of imagekind.com (a community for buying, selling and creating art)? All variety of artists are able to market their images on the site, setting their own sale price for prints. Framing services, greeting cards and canvas printing are also available. The site affords opportunity to artists and provides a diverse marketplace for consumers in search of home or business décor.

Glancing through the catalog reveals a diverse group of work from experimental images to beautifully executed clichés. Each has their particular merit and most every buyer should find something at least worthy of consideration.

I checked out the work of one nature photographer and saw that their images were available in five different print sizes with a 32” x 21” print selling for $48.00 US. From the few photographers I checked, this seems to pretty standard pricing.

Alongside the work of self-marketers, reproductions from many of the most highly regarded names in art world history are also available on the site. Ansel Adams, Edward Hopper, Chagall, Degas, Picasso, Warhol…it’s a veritable “Who’s Who” of influential artists and paintings that many of us have studied. If you upload a photo of a forest and tag it with the word “tree” then in a search your photo may appear directly alongside Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Monet’s “Champs Aux Pleupiers” in the search results.

I clicked on DaVinci and viewed many recognizable works: Last Supper, Self Portrait and Human Proportions among them. Mona Lisa was there available for purchase, also. A 36” x 24” print reproduction listed for $38.00. I could also choose to have my Mona Lisa printed on paper or on canvas material, so it would appear more like a painting. Framing services are also available: “Whether your style is modern, traditional or something in between, you’ll always find just the right frame that best expresses your creativity. One reason we’re one of the fastest growing online art sites is the millions of combinations of mats and frames available for each print.”

Which brings us back to the beginning: what should you charge for your work? Well, I don’t really know the answer to that, but I do know one thing: watch out for that DaVinci guy. Not only is he pretty good, he also doesn’t charge enough!