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Photography Question 
Karen S. England

Photo pricing questions

Ok guys, Im starting to get alot of interest in some of my work! I was wondering how to price a photo with a frame of 16x20" with a photo of 11x14"? Do you price the photo size or the frame size? Also in a fairly rural area does $150 sound like a fair price for a 16x20 frame (photo matted as well)??

One more question :o) I have had some of my work hung in a local restaurant to sell and recently I found out that they had a bad kitchen fire. They closed the restaurant down for repairs around the middle of January, and I have not heard A WORD about my photos! I even called and left a message to have the owner call me and let me know. NOTHING! The wall that she had the local art hanging was right by the kitchen, so Im afraid of the possibility of my photos being ruined. If they she required to pay me back for the loss or am I just up a creek w/o a paddle?? We had no signed agreement unfortunately so Im a bit worried! Thanks you guys!


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2/2/2007 9:57:00 AM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Hi Karen, You didn't mention several key factors such as the type of mounting, matting, and frame. These are critical things to consider when setting a price.

For instance, if you mount and mat using archival methods and materials, your cost will be higher than if you used mats you bought at the local hobby store. Are you doing the matting or are you having the images matted by a shop?

Frame costs vary considerably, from hobby store frames, made in China, and normally on sale for 1/2 price to custom frames. I personally use satin black metal frames for my shows.

Now, to your question. The best price is the price people will be willing to pay you. If you are just getting started (and it sounds like you are), I would suggest setting your price somewhat lower. Look around to see what other photographers (who shoot the kind of images you shoot) are selling their images for. Where are you intending to offer your photos? If you are affiliated with a gallery, you may be able to price higher than if you sold at a weekend art festival.

Dosome detective work to test the waters where you are.


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2/2/2007 10:25:40 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2005
  If you lent the owner of the restaurant your photos for his benefit, and he was negligent when he could have protected them, he should for sure be responsible if they are damaged. Can you blame him for a freak accident? I don't know. There are probably others here to better answer that question. Maybe if he is nice, you can get him to pay for the frame and printing cost.

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2/2/2007 10:39:48 AM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2005
  If you had signed an agreement this would have been covered by it...loss of goods damaged by act of God or causes beyond the control of owner...since you did not, LEARN A LESSON FROM THIS....I personally would try and keep a friendly relationship with the owner instead of persuing what could turn out to be an ugly situation....consider it a loss. They have not returned your phone messages is hint enough for me....and consider this..........when was the last time you went out to dinner and bought a piece of art from the wall???? There are 6 people here in this office now and no one has ever done it...that includes photos in coffee I don't know if that is popular for people to do in your area...but around here it just is not done. Do some research and open up a gallery....
Good luck!

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2/2/2007 12:05:46 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005


Please allow me to cut to the chase concerning pricing.
Your method as you state it is known as "Voodoo Economics."

Research is the key to pricing photos.

Who...what.. and where is how you begin.

I've seen 16x20's go from 50 bucks to several thousand!
Some frames alone can be worth hundreds.

Next; are you selling all the same photos? Are they "different?"

Who is your market? Do you plan on repeat business? How often will you be selling?

It has been stated many, many times on BP, by many different people who actually make a living at this; that to SELL successfully at ANY level, you MUST have a business plan. Well, you don't have to have a business plan, but then what you do have is once again, "Voodoo Economics." Some call this "guesing."

Photographers wishing to sell a few photos and ones who want a steady stream of income, be it part or full time, need to invest in a business course; not a new lens.


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2/2/2007 6:40:09 PM

Karen S. England   I meant if I have a frame that is 16"x20" and the mat opening and photo is 11"x14" do you price the piece as a 16"x20" or 11"x 14"?

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2/2/2007 7:11:56 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Karen; As Pete said, I'm one of the professionals around here who strongly advocates a business plan in addition to getting as much education, formal and informal that you can, in various business practices including marketing, accouting, business law (as in intro courses at a local junior college) and business planning. Roughly 80% or even more of the time a professional photographer spends is spent on day-to-day operations/business matters rather than shooting.

Now, as to your specific questions: First, I wouldn't be inclined to ever sell my work by the square inch. You need to calculate all your expenses plus your time, and add a fair amount to charge for your talent, equipment depreciation, travel, if any, film, processing, pixels, printing, etc. etc.

In terms of the liability issue of your second question, it depends on a couple of issues: First and foremost whether you created either an express or implied bailment of your photos with the restaurant owner. Based on the facts as you presented them here, it doesn't sound like it. If not, then you're on the hook for your own loss. Just so you know, most professionals carry (or should carry) business/professional liability insurance that covers destruction of property including equipment and other items related to their business/profession. So if you're covered, you need to talk with your insurance agent. You can try talking to the restaurant owner but chances are you won't get fair market value but only actual out of pocket loss assuming they have coverage...and maybe since the property wasn't really theirs to begin with but was with them on a sort of consignment. (Unless you can prove the fire was caused by their gross negligence and that kind of proof plus lawyers plus court costs is pretty pricey). As Debbie said, written agreements, including language regarding who's liable for what, really go a long way in these situations.

They may not be returning your calls for a lot of reasons, but one additional one asking them to kindly place you in touch with their insurance agent, if any, would be helpful to you. Then ask them whether they'll cover the loss.

Take it light.

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2/2/2007 7:17:31 PM

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