pricing – I’ll be doing a gallery show, any advice on how to price my photos?

You’ll need to price your photos at some multiple of their manufacturing costs. It might feel odd to charge $200 if something costs $50 to make but it isn’t. When you treat your photography like a business you soon realize that you have many other legitimate business expenses. Not even counting expenses like a new camera and lens (which you may have bought for personal, not business, reasons) but real honest, expenses of the gallery.

Let’s say you are selling your prints for $200 and they cost $50 to print, mat, and frame. You have $150 in profit on each print. Right? No! You need to look at the bigger picture.

What do you do about unsold inventory? In this example you have 9 photos in the show, that cost about $500 to produce. (Why not $450? Because you need to buy extra materials in case you ruin some doing the matting and framing. (I have ruined frame pieces, mats, glass and prints in my studio right now…)

So you sell 2 prints at $200 each. That’s $400 in income from the show and $500 in expenses. The show was a $100 loss for you. Even if you took the risky route and only bought materials for the 9 photos you still are at a $50 loss.

This might seem like a contrived example but it is real. I’m a gallery represented artist. My gallery owner promotes me heavily and my pieces sell well. However after 3 years I’m still showing a loss. The items I need to get under control are ruined framing materials but more importantly unsold inventory! I have a lot of “sure things” in my unsold print box.

Don’t let me dissuade you, I’ll keep doing this. But don’t think that even a bare print should sell for $20, please…