Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re not a photographer. You’re an art collector with a little bit of spending cash from time to time. Fine art is a hobby of yours, just like photography is a hobby of ours. Let’s also say that you’ve got your own local framing/matting guy who you take all of your collectibles to, so you typically purchase unframed photography prints from a wide selection of artists.

You’re looking for a modest 18″ print to hang in your house, and you’ve been saving your spare change for a little while. You find a great piece of work offered at a very high quality/longevity and you MUST have it. How much money ($US) are you willing to spend on that print?

What Would You Pay For Fine Art?

And yes, this has to do with the upcoming Fine Art Photoblog. But no, you guys won’t be setting our price point for us. I’m just curious how much of a consensus you’ll come to. Hopefully, it will be more definitive than last week’s poll “Which Site Name is More Appealing?” We had a 50/50 split between fineartphotoblog.com and fineartphotographyblog.com — and I ended up going with fineartphotoblog.com.

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I definately say one of the higher price points, we’re talking fine art man!

January 15, 2008 5:06 am

I said $100. I almost said $200, but in terms of what I would spend (and have spent) if I were a collector of prints, $100 is a realistic amount that still leaves enough room to spend on matte’s and frames without the price becoming slightly absurd. I think I’d pay up to $200, but anymore and I’d want a signed, numbered, original darkroom print that was produced in limited numbers as part of a set.

January 15, 2008 5:53 am

I have voted $150 it is between the $100 and $200 of wolf ;)
well more than this I do not think I can afford and this is the price at which I would happily sell any print of mine !

January 15, 2008 6:14 am

Upon trying to imagine, as you suggest, that I am not a cheap photographer, I arrived at the number of 150. But wow… at least as of now we certainly haven’t got any kind of consensus on that.

January 15, 2008 8:09 am

For me there is no theoretical limit to how much I would spend on Fine art Photographs, the real limit is my disposable income.

Within the disposable range there are 2 possible avenues for establishing a price I am comfortable with.

One am I buying a prints because of investment potential from a recognized artist who has already established price ranges or am I investing in a possible up and coming artist who’s image is for pure enjoyment.

If you check and I can’t remember which, either Black and White or B&W magazine you will in each issue see a price for limited edition prints and they run about $300 on average.

In my discussions with other photographers there seems to be a large disconnect between what many photographers see as fine art prints and what the galleries and museum directors understand as Fine art.

Just because you have a wonderful image and you have a large print made an framed does mean this is fine art.

One of the main criteria for fine art is that after the image captured there is significant work either in the darkroom or digital editing to enhance image to bring out the best qualities and most importantly the photographer is intimately involved in determining the correct paper for print, reviewing prints made and tweaking the development process (digital and film) to ensure that the final prints reflects the artist vision.

For the prints I make available for sale I normally print about 6 versions before I am happy with result. There are many local and subtle tonal changes that I make.

I also use proper lighting booth (5500) to review prints.

Even when I use the services of imagekind for larger prints, I have the somewhat the same printer (smaller Epson 2400) and use their profiles and I pre-test on the same paper in my studio to ensure that they will print just I want and therefore customers can order from them knowing they will get consistent outcomes.

Fine art is first having a vision for subject you have captured or a project and then being involved in every step of the process until final print.

Niels Henriksen

January 15, 2008 8:36 am

A clever question – photograpers often seem not to be willing to spend the price on fine art prints they ask for their own. Let’s wait for the results. Btw, my answer was 200 USD.

January 15, 2008 1:03 pm

Because I like to think of myself as a producer of Art (ie. photographs) my decision of “how much I’d pay” becomes blurred with the question of “How much I’d like to GET” For a piece of art.

Makes it very hard to decide.

January 15, 2008 6:15 pm

This is hard to answer without clarification. If the print were a true limited edition, I’d easily pay the $300 if blown over by the work and if the photographer’s credentials warranted the price point.

If the print is simply a gorgeous photo by a very talented photographer, one print among hundreds of other duplicates sold, I probably would pay $80 max.

January 15, 2008 7:04 pm

The most I have paid, so far, for a print by a living photographer is $6,500. I suggest you visit AIPAD and look at some of the pricing from over 90 galleries.

January 15, 2008 10:45 pm


I would like to know, do you feel that the cost of purchasing fine art no matter what the medium would be, should be equal in cost?

February 1, 2008 2:23 pm

@Jan.

I guess you were asking Brian, but I thought I’d chip in.

Personally I believe that initially art should reflect it’s creation costs. Photography that is sold as handmade prints, with custom framing should differ in price compared to a commercially printed volume image.

A painting should reflect the hours spent.

But, unless you develop a name for yourself, then it is often difficult to make prices reflect personal input. Perhaps to a certain degree a photograph could accurately represent time spent in it’s price, though I don’t imagine this would be possible for amateur painters’ works.

February 1, 2008 5:36 pm

Thank you for your input. I’m a watercolorist, yes I’m lacking a well known name. There is no way I can charge a price that will compensate for my time. Maybe after I’ve crossed over that rainbow bridge, my pieces will bring in more. For now I’m a starving artist. If you would like to see my work, check out http://www.thefineartcafe.com

Thank you again.

February 1, 2008 6:00 pm

Your prices seem reasonable, though I guess unless your name’s Picasso, you can never charge what it costs to create right? :D

February 2, 2008 6:12 am

Comment now!