Valuing Fine Art

Dueling Plaids Purchase - Janice D Nelson Photography
Dueling Plaids – Janice D Nelson Photography

Have you ever visited a weekend Art Show and looked at the prices of prints? It is not uncommon for many to be priced well over $1000. In 2015 I attended an Art Show and saw prints priced over $3000. You may have wondered why the print was priced so high. While I can’t address pricing set by other photographers, I can offer some background information that might help.

One factor that can impact print pricing relates to a photographer’s strategic marketing plan – that is, whether or s/he decides to make a print available to the general public in unlimited quantities at low cost or limit the number of prints available (i.e., a “Limited Edition”) and number and track each one sold. It is one factor each photographer much decide upon, typically early on, when selling fine art prints. Most Limited Edition Black and White Fine Art prints at Janice D Nelson Photography have a limit of 500, and pricing is most affordable in the early stages of offering. (Prices for some prints begin at $299.) As a Limited Edition print sells out, the price increases.

Like other types of Art, another factor impacting price is the time and cost to create it. Art that requires many hours of work is generally priced higher than those requiring less work. All of the Limited Edition prints here required between 40-100 hours each of meticulous post processing. For example, Road to Infinity (a personal favorite) reflects over 100 hours of work. For this reason alone, pricing fine art can vary greatly.

Other factors may include the number of awards a print has won, the size of a print, and even the paper and backing used to print and prepare an image. Archival, acid free paper and backing, etc., are more costly, and these factor into a price. Options such as matting and framing increase the price of a print. Here again, there are different grades of materials. The glass used on a matted and framed piece varies because there are different types – Plexiglas, non-glare, conservation glass, etc.

All these things mean that although one framed print may look the same as another, it helps to know more about how a piece was created, developed, post processed, the history of the work, materials used, whether it is a Limited Edition, etc., to understand the value assessed by the Artist.

Matting and Framing Options
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