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Author Topic: Limited Edition or Open?  (Read 5213 times)
Lust4Life
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« on: December 29, 2008, 07:42:11 AM »
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Since putting up my web site, I've been approached to sell some of my images as prints.
Now, I print on Epson 4800 to Crane Museo Silver Rag for Archival purposes, so this is not an issue.

My question is concerning the advantages and disadvantages of printing in Limited Editions.

1.  Can a given image be offered in Limited Edition as well as Open Edition?
2.  Does each image/print size become a separate Limited Edition, or is it total number of prints of all sizes must not exceed the edition limit?
3.  Is there a "preferred" size for a Limited Edition - 25 or 100 or xx?

Thanks,
Jack
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DanPBrown
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 10:03:54 AM »
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Check this out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edition



Dan
http://danbrownphotography.com/
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 10:04:22 AM by DanPBrown » Logged
tandlh
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 01:35:32 PM »
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I recommend thinking long and hard before you go down the numbered print road.  If you will be selling, or trying to sell, a large number of images it becomes quite cumbersome tracking your prints.   And once you start, you can't stop tracking and numbering for that image.  I started that way but eventually found out that my audience didn't care if they were numbered as part of an edition, they were buying them because they liked them and not as an investment.  Also keep in mind that to some degree editions are an artificiality in today's digital age.  Historically when plates were used for printing there were certain ranges of prints that produced sharper or softer edges due to plate wear.  In those cases keeping numbers made sense.  Today, for me anyway, it doesn't.  Now, if you have an audience that demands it, then yes do it.  But before you decide to do it make sure you know what your audience is expecting and the work it will take to keep up on it (at least assuming you are a prolific photographer and are selling).

A while back I had the same questions as you about numbers and how Limited Editions worked.  I found myself in a Thomas Kinkade store and asked them how Kinkade did it.  Their response was that each new size, or medium (paper or canvas), was a new edition.  So you'd have one edition for 11x14, another edition for 16x20, another for 16x20 on canvas, etc.  Seems to me it reached the point where the edition was too artificial and just there to impress people who believe that being part of an edition (even one as large as Kinkade sometimes does) increased the value.  In some cases it clearly does, but unless you become popular in the aftermarket market I don't believe it's worth the hastle (unless your audience is expecting it).

Good luck,

Ted
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feppe
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 01:49:50 PM »
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There's a very good article by Brooks Jensen in Lenswork on the subject, but I can't find it online. He basically argues that limited editions have lost their meaning with modern printing, as you can get an identical print with the push of a button. Some artists use limited editions so they don't have to go back to printing old photos for years on end, but easy-to-use Epsons and Canon mostly nullify this.

But art collectors still value limited editions higher.

There's also a lengthy discussion somewhere on these very forums on the subject.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 12:01:54 AM »
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One thing to keep in mind you can't just call your prints Limited Edition as a marketing gimmick. There are specific legal requirements for meeting the definition of a limited edition and they can vary from state to state, so if you decide go that route make sure you do your homework.

IMHO limited editions are both pointless and pretentious for digital prints. There's no technical reason to limit the number of prints when printing digitally. Besides, Limited Editions of digital prints are only going to matter to buyers who are purchasing art as an investment, and I have no delusions that I will ever be in that situation. Personally I'd rather sell more prints at lower prices, that means more people seeing and enjoying your work.

The Brooks Jensen article is here: http://brooksjensenarts.com/What%20Size%20...e%20Edition.pdf, and further thoughts of his on digital prints, pricing, etc can be found here: http://brooksjensenarts.com/pigmentonpaper.htm. I like his notion of revision number's, I can see myself wanting to come back to an image as the tools (or printers) get better in time.

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leeonmaui
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2009, 04:19:42 PM »
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Aloha,

Happy new year!

Firstly I have just registered to the forum after many. months of enjoying the site, and Give a warm hello to all the members, as I have truly enjoyed the posts here!

At any rate I have been in the art business for ten years, eight of those years as a publisher. I have taken a number of artists from ground zero to national exhibition status.

My first post!  

OK, here goes,

1. Can a given image be offered in Limited Edition as well as Open Edition?

You can distort the limited edition concept in just about any way you want by offering the image in different sizes and media, this of course is done by many publishers. Doing this is not a good idea since it kind of defeats the idea of limited editions. It is a slippery slope and should not be gone down for reasons that are obvious.

2. Does each image/print size become a separate Limited Edition, or is it total number of prints of all sizes must not exceed the edition limit?  

There is a document that is required by many states called a "disclosure"
on this document a number of legal points in regard to the edition are put forth, such as;
the artist
the title
the media
the process used to make the print
the date the edition was released
whether the edition was proofed and approved by the artist
whether the edition was signed by the artist
description of signature and numbering
number of pieces in the edition and size or sizes
disposition of plates, masters
total size of the edition

this is a basic list, if you take the time to make a simple disclosure giving these facts you will pretty much be covered.
In the disclosure when you list the size or sizes and different media you are pretty much locking in what you can do and still be within the law.
you can do a search to find out if there are more items that need to be placed in the disclosure form, but this is what I place in all of my disclosures...  

the last two items i listed is where you would list all the various sizes that would be included in the edition; each "sub-edition."  

example;

24x 36 inches on rag paper numbered 1/100 to 100/100
20 x 30 inches on rag paper numbered 1/100 to 100/100
8x10 inches numbered 1/500 to  500/500
Roman numeral edition numbered 1/200
granddaddy's big fat edition numbered 1/2000 to 2000/2000
Artist proofs numbered 1/10000 to 10000
kid's collage fund edition numbered 1/100000 to 100000/100000

and on and on...

at some point you will need to add all the edition sizes and names and state the total number of pieces done on your disclosure.  

3. Is there a "preferred" size for a Limited Edition - 25 or 100 or xx?

proffered edition size by the collector is one  
proffered edition size by greedy publishers is 10000 or more! all hidden away in a long disclosure that also stated the artist/publisher may choose to  print more at any time they feel like it.

It is an open field as long as you specifically state what you are doing in the disclosure...

What makes sense for me and why;


I typically release limited edition prints of my artists work in edition sizes of 100 with 10 artists proofs and 10 printers proofs and 5 HC
for a total of 125 pieces
The HC edition is given to the artists and is technically not to be sold.

For my own photographs I release editions of 50 with 5 artists proofs (proofs of 10% of the edition size are normal)
I only release an image in one size.

When 20% of the edition is sold the price for the piece is increased
and as the edition "sells through" the price is increased along the way.
typically a nearly sold out piece commands many times the price that it was released at.
And the last piece hanging on the wall of the gallery is very dear indeed!

When I release a limited edition work I am adhering to very strict principles that protect my collectors and my reputation  
I am making a collectible item, its value its determined as much by simple laws of supply and demand.  


I have been involved with artists pieces that where released in edition for $1500 and have then sold out for $50,000 and then went on to have secondary market resale values for even more. Do not underestimate the power of limited editions, handled correctly with integrity, it can be a win win situation for both you and your collectors.  

I never release open edition pieces.
If I want to do larger editions I would release a smaller piece, I have done small prints of artists work (10 x 14 inches)with edition sizes of 1000 that where released for around $300 and sold out at $4500

heady stuff!

I can not say what would work for you, if you want to do limited editions make sure you are honest and remember you are staking your reputation as an artist on what you do.
set your edition size to benefit your collectors.

Starting out with small editions of 50-100 is good or even smaller, sell some work, sell out a few pieces as you sell more you can expand the sizes of your new pieces.

keeping track of editions is very easy, I have a book with where each piece is titled with a column of numbers that corresponds to the edition size and each time a print is signed and numbered I write this down next to the number.
(do this right away or you will screw it up!)

Each time a piece is ready to be released I make a disclosure and a simple certificate for the piece which I give to the gallery or collector that buys the piece, doesn't matter what format you choose, do something that looks nice and gives all the information about the work.

I love what I do, and respect each person that supports my work, that is a patron of the arts. I in turn try to offer them something of critical value; my honesty.

I don't see anything wrong with open editions; lot easier!

Ether way give people the best that you can.

Ok My dog is seriously telling me it is beach time!

warmest regards,

Lee
Lahaina, Hawaii


 

   

 
           

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Lust4Life
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2009, 05:13:41 PM »
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Greetings Lee, and welcome to LL Forum.

If you first post is an example of what you have to offer to all of us, WOW!
Thank you for the extensive explanation and examples.

Best,
Jack
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sesshin
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2009, 06:44:12 PM »
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Yeah I think whether or not you should number editions really boils down to how in-demand the prints actually are. Are there collectors willing to invest money in it in the hopes that it's value will go up at some point? If so, then making an edition limited makes sense from a collectibility and a monetary stand point.

If the prints really aren't in that much demand then there isn't really a point in limiting the edition. Its more important to worry about simply selling as many prints as you can, getting your name out there and generating demand, before you elevate your prints up to the status of level of needing to be limited. Otherwise its merely a falsely imposed scarcity to make something appear more valuable than it actually is.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2009, 06:55:32 PM »
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Is an 'open edition' numbered at all?  I wonder if a reasonable compromise is to simply number each print - but not limit the edition.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2009, 11:37:10 AM »
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Quote from: Tim Gray
Is an 'open edition' numbered at all?  I wonder if a reasonable compromise is to simply number each print - but not limit the edition.
An Open Edition can be whatever you want it to be, it isn't really a term with any specific meaning (unlike Limited Edition). Anything that's not a limited edition is an open edition, really.

I'm planning to start selling this  year, and my plan for the larger print sizes is to sign and number them, but as open editions rather than limited editions. The idea is to offer relatively inexpensive "standard" prints at sizes up to 11x14 or so that are regular photo-paper prints, and make the larger prints sizes "special editions" pigment inkjet prints (on cotton rag or fiber paper) that are signed, numbered, mounted and matted. Hopefully this should set the larger print sizes apart and justify higher prices, since they're not getting something that looks like what they could get at Costco for $10.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 11:45:04 AM by JeffKohn » Logged

JohnBrew
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2009, 01:37:39 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
An Open Edition can be whatever you want it to be, it isn't really a term with any specific meaning (unlike Limited Edition). Anything that's not a limited edition is an open edition, really.

I'm planning to start selling this  year, and my plan for the larger print sizes is to sign and number them, but as open editions rather than limited editions. The idea is to offer relatively inexpensive "standard" prints at sizes up to 11x14 or so that are regular photo-paper prints, and make the larger prints sizes "special editions" pigment inkjet prints (on cotton rag or fiber paper) that are signed, numbered, mounted and matted. Hopefully this should set the larger print sizes apart and justify higher prices, since they're not getting something that looks like what they could get at Costco for $10.

What Ted originally said. I've numbered a few editions and frankly, I'm sorry I went to all the trouble. I probably will not do it again.
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leeonmaui
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2009, 02:08:40 PM »
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Aloha again,

In the art world open edition does have a specific meaning, it refers to the ability of the artist or publisher to print as many as they like in whatever "state" they choose.

I am curious Jeff if when you discuss doing limited and open editions are you talking about doing both with the same image?
Legally you would be within your rights to do this as long as you stipulated in the disclosure of the limited editions that this is what you are doing.
But is kind of sounds silly at best and I would have a hard time keeping a striaght face or looking my clients in the eye as I tried defending this tactic...

In my prior post I wrote some very basic thoughts on specific questions, touching on to do or not to do is is a completly different matter.

With my own photographs I have chosen to release only limited edition prints of my work. I am very familiar with the gallery system and how it works, ultimately this is where I want to have my work displayed and sold, when the time comes and if I am able I would like to release a book which will allow financially challenged collectors a way to get my work on th cheap.

Limited editions are emphatically required by most of the higher end galleries they also are very sensitive to who else exhibits the work and where, this includes the internet.

Choosing to do limited editions or not is just one of many components each individual needs to decide on when developing a marketing/business plan.  

Keep in mind this is a business decision, one of many, it will though, define what business you are in.  

Want to make god laugh? make a plan.

Jack, Texas! who knew! some great work!
Also I am very jealous of your equipment! When i have a hard time sleeping I count MF digital backs instead of sheep!

warmest regards, Lee
Lahaina Hawaii

PS; Thought your "Hawaii page" looked a bit bleak though! Kauai is an amazing place, I have spent some time there, really wonderful.  




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JeffKohn
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2009, 11:31:19 PM »
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Quote
I am curious Jeff if when you discuss doing limited and open editions are you talking about doing both with the same image?
Legally you would be within your rights to do this as long as you stipulated in the disclosure of the limited editions that this is what you are doing.
But is kind of sounds silly at best and I would have a hard time keeping a striaght face or looking my clients in the eye as I tried defending this tactic...
I did not say anything about doing both Limited and Open editions, you may have gotten my posts mixed up with someone else. I said I'm considering signing and numbering, but that they would still be open editions.

Quote
Limited editions are emphatically required by most of the higher end galleries they also are very sensitive to who else exhibits the work and where, this includes the internet.
I don't doubt that's true. I also have no illusions that I'll ever have to worry about it.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 11:32:19 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2009, 11:36:17 PM »
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Jack, I second Lee about your work, very nice. I liked your images from Pedernales Falls (think you have a misspelling there though). I've been meaning to visit that area but haven't gotten around to it yet; you've definitely given me some motivation.
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2009, 05:40:07 AM »
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Jeff and Lee,

Thank you for the positive feedback on my work.  Nice to hear someone besides me finds it of interest!
As you know, we put a lot of devotion, time and hard earned cash into this obsession and just hope that others will find it of merit.

Jeff - your correct on the spelling - fixed it in Dream Weaver and uploaded the corrections this morning.  Appreciate your pointing that out.

Lee - I've only been to Hawaii once and it was a short stop over when returning from my 3rd trip to Japan (Japan being one of 3 countries that haunt my memories - others being New Zealand and Turkey).  Must admit I did not spend a lot of time in Hawaii - just a couple of days and the weather was marginal at best.  Hope to return in the not too distant future to spend a couple of weeks just focusing on several of the islands.

Best,
Jack

Quote from: JeffKohn
Jack, I second Lee about your work, very nice. I liked your images from Pedernales Falls (think you have a misspelling there though). I've been meaning to visit that area but haven't gotten around to it yet; you've definitely given me some motivation.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 05:44:34 AM by Lust4Life » Logged

leeonmaui
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2009, 01:40:02 PM »
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Aloha,

Kauai does have a reputation for weather shutouts for sure, summer months are better!

I planned to go to Japan this spring, my wife is from there so we will go visit her parents, I want to time our visit to coincide with the blooming of the cherry blossoms.

I am not sure of the protocol involved with sticking strictly to the header subject, but I was curious about how you feel  shooting with a digital back in the field. I shoot with a Canon 1ds Mark 2, I have had zero problems with this camera and I shoot in inclement conditions some of the time. my next camera might well be a Sony 900
But i am seeing some used digital backs or new systems that I could possibly afford.

I have seen some prints from a Hasselblad (lightjet 5000 on fuji flex, awesome paper!). The images where amazing in regards to quality, I examined them fairly closely and really saw no noise, very inspiring.    

I don't hear much about the dependability of these cameras in the real world though; I would be delighted to hear your experiences in regards to dependability.

Also feel free to contact me at leeonmaui@yahoo.com if you are headed this way, I can give you some great location tips.

At any rate, I was just kidding about your Hawaii page I figured you where on a quick touch and go.

Warmest regards, Lee
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