Pricing photography - help!

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 25, 2002
Phoenix, Az.
Since we have artists and photographers among our group, I'm going to ask for some help.

I have a neighbor that takes fabulous photographs and would like to sell some of his better work. He is having real difficulty with pricing and I have no clue on how to advise him as he gets started. They will be shown in random town art/craft shows for right now.

His first photo is 8x12 in size, matt finish (my decision....oooph).

1) How does one go about pricing fine photography?
2) Is gloss or matt finish best?
3) Is a single mat or multiple mats best for sales presentation?

Please add anything else that would be beneficial for him. Also, any interesting reading material that I could send his way?

Thank you much for this! I enjoy helping people get started on things they are interested in, but ony if I can give them what I think is good advice....which I lack in this instance!
Like so much else in our business, it's worth what someone will pay. As a photographer I've always had a hard time pricing my work. To answer your questions:

1 - How much can you get?
2 - Matt always looks good unframed, but gloss finish seems to have stronger, brighter, sharper images. My preference is for glossy.
3 - Most photographers go for the cheapest - sounds like your friend has a framer on their side (!) I go with double mats - big white top mat, 1/2" white inner mat. Classy and plain, let the customer decide if they want color.

IMHO 8x12 is too small for fine art photography -11x14/12x16 makes a stronger impression.

Check out Caught In Time Photography for some beautiful work. Never met the photographer in person, just saw here work on line.

Good Luck!


This is a tough one, so I'll give you an example.

A gentleman brought in an exceptional photograph to be framed. It was an Osprey landing on its nest. Three chicks in the nest. It was feeding time--the parent was bringing in the catch of the day. Wings were spread out, exceptional backlighting on the feathers and the fresh caught fish still held tightly.

The gentleman's son captured this image and I told his father that if his son wanted to try selling some copies, I would frame one and put it on display. He made the prints. I framed them, double mat, 16 x 20. Sold about a dozen framed like my sample right before Christmas last year. The photographer's net was about $60 per print. I know at least two of these have been marked up and resold by the original purchasers.

In my opinion, $60 net per copy is low, but not bad for someone who never thought about selling his photography.
I orginally posted this on HH, but Sheri emailed and suggested I post it here too. Here you are Sheri!

This can be a bit complicated. The prices can run the gamut, depending on
the quality of the printing, the type of photo (b&w, color, platinum, hand
printed, machine printed, etc.), whether it is matted or unmatted, etc.
Look at magazines that have photographic art in them, like Black & White
Magazine, Art Business News, etc. and catalogs from various art
photographers. You can also look at other photographers websites to get a
feel for what they are charging for their work. The important thing to
remember is not to undercharge. It's easier to lower your prices than it is
to raise them. Plus you need to make sure you are covering the cost of
producing the image, matting it, etc. Be sure to include what you think the
artist's talent is worth. Most color art images are printed on glossy
paper, most black and white images are printed on matte.
This has really been fun! I've learned a lot and know my neighbor will be thrilled to get all this great information. THANK YOU all for participating.

And welcome to Kathy!! I enjoyed your website, quotes included!

These forums are the best!!
all of this is just opinions...there is no straight answer. in my own experience it helps to have a body of work, a body being about fifteen images for a small group. this shows the viewers that the person selling the work is not a one hit wonder. it builds confidence and allows one to price the work higher. a resume or background helps to improve the price. people like to see that this person is working and doing things in the arts. i think having a nice clean 8ply mat tends to separate many photographers from hobby folks. it gives a sophication to the presentation...also something else to talk to the customers about.

but in the end you need to be a speaker...all of these things are good, but if you have a charmer to sell themselves and the work, you got a winner. if this person can speak about the work and not the technical stuff, but why and how and feelings, the work can sell for more. dont forget a smart man on here always saids to look and research the market. i never did an outdoor show without going to a few first to see if my work stood out or was similair to anothers. i could always get an idea of price from looking at other peoples stuff real quick when the show first opened.

a rambling d
Thank you all for your great input. I shared it with my neighbor and he is really impressed with this forum and its say nothing of all the advice he gained.

I LOVE to brag about TG to my interested friends! It really IS a neat group.