"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." — Thomas Alva Edison

General DiscussionsLessons for a Portrait Business

User avatar
Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:17 pm
Location: Port Angeleeeeeeees, WA
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Lessons for a Portrait Business

Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:44 pm

Recently I once again reached out to a new portrait photographer and suggested that for the New Year they might consider changing their business model.
Their reply "I'm quite happy with the business model I have". Oh Well, Live, Learn and make the same Mistakes many others continue to make.

Their business model, shoot and burn, be cheap and give away the files for $5.00each. It's a proven fact that this sort of business model if they are interested
in staying in this industry is not sustainable. All they have to do is to seek out those with the best portrait business and why they are successful.
Today is the Day, a New Day.

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2300
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:57 pm

I sometimes wonder if lack of confidence in one's ability has any impact on this type of pricing structure. Obviously it's not common sense. That or they have a full time job that pays for their deficit. Either way, it's a terrible way of doing business.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2820
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:04 pm

That is interesting even though I have neither skills nor inclination to open a portrait business (it would fail quickly but perhaps not because of business model).

I am at a juncture where I am trying to figure price points for prints. Quickly. Some have suggested that I use prices similar to print prices for large commercial print outfits. Some have suggested prices I think are way too high for an unknown. But I'm pretty sure I will stay in the middle somewhere. If I use the pricing for commercial printing I'll be giving away the artistic side of my work which is really all I have to offer since you can pick up a nice picture of a bird almost anywhere and print it at Walmart.

I surely don't know enough about it to be doing it, but I've got an opportunity and I'll never know if I could've done more unless I try. The dam bird exhibit at the museum, which did not allow any promotion of my work or listing of prices, etc. closed this week. Next week I begin the move to a new location, a public library with a nice gallery area, good lighting and a large local clientele. They DO allow promotion and pricing/contact info, so I'm going to stumble forward without really having much of a clue what I"m doing.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2300
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:52 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:04 pm
[...] I am at a juncture where I am trying to figure price points for prints. Quickly. Some have suggested that I use prices similar to print prices for large commercial print outfits. Some have suggested prices I think are way too high for an unknown. But I'm pretty sure I will stay in the middle somewhere. If I use the pricing for commercial printing I'll be giving away the artistic side of my work which is really all I have to offer since you can pick up a nice picture of a bird almost anywhere and print it at Walmart.
Think of it this way, have you ever bought something, let's say a blouse from a designer you never heard of? Sure, you have. Did you look at the name on the label and say to yourself, "I've never heard of this designer, I think the price of this piece is too high." No, because there is no expectation on price. So don't feel because "someone" doesn't know you as an artist they will place a certain expectation on your prints. Price them for what you want to make not on what you think people want you to make.

I know this is all vague and doesn't help settle on a number. Pricing artwork is not an easy task because there are so many factors at play; cost of living, cost of equipment, production cost, commissions, taxes, and who knows what else. The only advice I can give is this. Whatever number you settle on add 50% to it. You'll want to dismiss this, make excuses why you don't need to but trust me, in the long run you'll wish you had. Because if there is one thing I've learned is that once you have established a price point it's very difficult to raise that point more than 10% down the road.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2820
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:41 pm

Duck wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:52 pm
Think of it this way, have you ever bought something, let's say a blouse from a designer you never heard of? Sure, you have. Did you look at the name on the label and say to yourself, "I've never heard of this designer, I think the price of this piece is too high." No, because there is no expectation on price. So don't feel because "someone" doesn't know you as an artist they will place a certain expectation on your prints. Price them for what you want to make not on what you think people want you to make.

I know this is all vague and doesn't help settle on a number. Pricing artwork is not an easy task because there are so many factors at play; cost of living, cost of equipment, production cost, commissions, taxes, and who knows what else. The only advice I can give is this. Whatever number you settle on add 50% to it. You'll want to dismiss this, make excuses why you don't need to but trust me, in the long run you'll wish you had. Because if there is one thing I've learned is that once you have established a price point it's very difficult to raise that point more than 10% down the road.
Thank you for some interesting and encouraging advice Duck. The wild card factor here is the lack of market for art in general. Most people are satisfied to buy a mass produced "print" from Kirklands for $50 because it matches the sofa. I don't know how to factor that in! :D
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
Duck
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 2300
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:31 am
Location: Shelton, CT
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by Duck » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:05 am

minniev wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:41 pm
Most people are satisfied to buy a mass produced "print" from Kirklands for $50 because it matches the sofa. I don't know how to factor that in! :D
That's simple to answer also, though probably not what you want to hear.

"They aren't your target auf=dience."

Finding your audience, like finding pricing, is just as elusive and frustrating. That's why galleries are great to get into as it attracts the art buyers (aka not the Kirkland shoppers).
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Image ImageImageImageImage

User avatar
minniev
Mentoris Maximus
Mentoris Maximus
Posts: 2820
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 am
Location: Mississippi
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by minniev » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:22 am

Duck wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:05 am

That's simple to answer also, though probably not what you want to hear.

"They aren't your target auf=dience."

Finding your audience, like finding pricing, is just as elusive and frustrating. That's why galleries are great to get into as it attracts the art buyers (aka not the Kirkland shoppers).
Target audience is an issue, and I confess to knowing very little about that other than what I read on the internet, which is meant for people in very different markets. Don't get me started on dedicated art galleries. There are only three left here that display art other than the owner's, only one of them accepts any photographic art and she's already turned me down.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

User avatar
Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:17 pm
Location: Port Angeleeeeeeees, WA
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:00 am

Selling ones Art is a tuff market. I know been there done that. However that won't stop me in the future. And then pricing it........ You Don't Want To Give It Away.

If someone contacts me for one of my personal images I offer a rather low price point, Matted to 11X14 @ $100, Matted to 14X17 @ $150, Matted to 16X20 @ $200. Now just before
Xmas a collector of my work wanted my "Signature Print" and I sold it Matted & Framed to 24X27 for $450.

Find a pricing that makes you happy Minnie and stick with it.
Today is the Day, a New Day.

User avatar
Matt Quinn
Mentoris Primus
Mentoris Primus
Posts: 1802
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:12 pm
Location: MD in winter: Cape Cod in summer
Social Media Opt-In: No
Editing option: No, please do not edit my images
Contact:

Post by Matt Quinn » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:07 pm

Minnie, I thought I had posted a reply last night but I don't see it here. So I will try again. I once and only once bought a bw print from a prize winning international photographer. I was very disappointed with it and concluded that I didn't know good stuff when I saw it. That was $90 out the window. The print is back in its cellophane wrapping on my desk at the Cape house. I look at it often but still don't like it.

But I would gladly pay $100 for one of your dam birds series. Please? Matt
Matt Quinn

"One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind." Dorothea Lange

User avatar
St3v3M
Key Founding Member
Key Founding Member
Posts: 3750
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:02 am
Location: 35,000 feet
Social Media Opt-In: Yes
Editing option: Yes, feel free to edit my image
Contact:

Post by St3v3M » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:38 pm

Art is a personal thing, interesting to some, and not others, so the first thing you have to get out of your head is competing with Walmart or anything like it. If you want to slam out prints then sure, sell them for $19.99 or whatever they go for, but if you value your art you will add value to your art along with it. I know your town and I know your market, most people drive a decent car, but every now and then you see something really special. Whose house do you want your art in?

There are two markets to consider, it doesn't matter where you live, the wealthy and the online. Within those markets, you can vary your product, prints at one price, framed prints at another, canvas, metal and glass for more. Signed prints should be at 'your' tipping point of what you think they can fetch, and limited numbered prints at even more.

Do you want to sell volume, or do you want to sell art? Art is an investment, but only if it has worth to invest in.

You can buy at $30 handbag at Walmart, or you can buy a $3000 handbag at Coach. Which do you want to be? S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PietFrancke and 2 guests