It’s no lie that this has been many months in the making, but I decided the time had come to adjust my print pricing strategy. There was a ton of thought behind this, but I’ll do my best to briefly summarize those months of thinking about how best to approach this.
Probably one of the most popular ways to price prints is of course, the limited edition approach. I have a list of reason I don’t like this approach, not the least of which is it’s very artificial. Limited edition prints made sense in a time when the plates on printing presses wore out and later prints weren’t of the same quality as the first. That’s just not the way it is today. Whatever the source of a work, photograph or painting, once it’s photographed or scanned into a digital file, you could have a virtually infinite number of that item printed. It’s probably unlikely you’d see a billion served for many images, but it’s a possibility and the limited edition approach just feels forced to me. It’s always possible that I will one day change my tune for future work, but it doesn’t fit my ethos on the matter right now.
I could write at length on the pros and cons of limited edition prints, but you could search the web over and find plenty of arguments for and against the practice online. I’ve ultimately come down on the con side and this one article I read last year does an excellent job on the matter.
I’ve decided to take a different tack than limited edition, and you’ve already seen the beginning of it in action if you’ve read the past few updates. I’m going to a tiered approach for my print offerings. When something is first offered, it will very briefly be in the lowest tier. This is sort of a nod to those of you out there who read your emails or look at my updates on Facebook, etc. It gives you a chance to get a thank-you-priced deal on something you see and love. At this time, I have two tiers beyond that. The first tier is a bit more than the introductory tier and is the home for newer works or pieces in my collection that have yet to connect with anyone. And the top tier is for my proven sellers, pieces that have found an audience and are gracing walls as we speak. It was quite humbling sitting down with spreadsheets to figure out how many walls in some cases.
I don’t know if I’ll ever add on another tier, but unless Zenfolio simplifies their price lists, I don’t see it happening for some time. It was a LOT of work building price lists for multiple price points and quite a few different aspect ratios, never mind going through and applying the proper price list to each picture!
In the end, I’d rather people were buying my photos and art because they love them and want to enjoy them for years to come in their homes and offices, etc. There’s no promise of collectibility or the rarified prices that inhabit that sphere of the art world where paintings and photographs sell for multiple millions of dollars. I hope you purchase to enjoy them, and if a piece you purchase on my site later ends up in a higher priced tier, well, at least you know it’s gained a modicum of value at the same time you enjoyed looking at it hanging on your wall!
As a geek from way back who watched the 90’s comic book speculator boom and bust, I think buying things with a hope that they will explode in value and one day fund your child’s college education is a slippery slope. I can’t say I wouldn’t be elated to one day find my name mentioned in august company, but that eventuality along with talent involves a certain amount of serendipity. And if I could bottle that, I would be on a beach somewhere right now! Wouldn’t we all?
That wasn’t quite as brief as I advertised, but believe me it could have been longer. If you want to discuss it further, I welcome your thoughts on the new pricing, etc. always!