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Author Topic: Profit from Prints  (Read 25237 times)
Justan
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« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2013, 09:51:38 AM »
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> …I'm also looking into "Frames by Mail" and pictureframes.com (both of which my framer recommended)

I buy a lot from pictureframes.com and they generally produce an excellent product and the prices can’t be touched by local shops, especially for my larger pano frames. If you buy in volume and talk with them on the phone, they’ll give a price break. Otherwise get on their mailing list as they run promotions nearly every week.

Also, I sell lots of works that are mounted by the use of clear corners on foam core and covered by a clear plastic bag. Along with this, I recommend that my customers go to pictureframes.com for frames.
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Rob C
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« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2013, 12:58:49 PM »
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Lately I've been more interested in making prints than selling them.  My job as an elementary school teacher helps me along and has to be my priority for now.  However, I found I was able to sell small nicely matted prints, but only rarely could I sell large sized prints.  The problem is I want to print big (well 16x20).  I don't want to frame my larger prints because then I have no place to store them and they just get dusty. I think I'll take up boats or golf instead.



Boating will sink your finances, however much you have, because its always proportional; golf will turn you into a frustrated soul with limited conversation.

Stick with silly prints - you can always burn them in the end if you run out of heating money.

Sound advice; free! Who said Christmas only comes once a year?

Rob C
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nairb
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« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2013, 02:10:28 PM »
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Quote
mounted by the use of clear corners on foam core and covered by a clear plastic bag

This is how I sell my prints as well. Photo corners on foamcore.

I've spent a bit of time now on the pictureframes.com site and haven't come across many mouldings that I like. They seem to have a lot of fairly ornate stuff and if I think about what customers have told me, it seems contemporary, simple designs would be more popular. There are a few on the framesbymail site that are appealing though. I also found their site easier to use than pictureframes.com

I'm beginning to think it may just be easiest to get supplies directly from Larsen-Juhl....  it's still a nuisance to drive to Montana to pick things up even though it would likely only be a few times a year.
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bill t.
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« Reply #43 on: January 25, 2013, 02:12:20 PM »
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Nairb, paying $300 per framing job is certain death.  My total cost per piece for a 24 x 72 pano mounted in a 32 x 80 frame is considerably less than $100, and that includes everything from amortization on the coffee machine to recent price increases in Ibuprofen.  That's where you need to be to make a living at the ordinary levels of the retail art world.  Takes a lot of homework.

Canvas is the ideal medium at your level.  No glass, no mattes, no sealing the back of the frame, no crud stuck under the glass.  If you're out in the boondocks, the amount of heavy freight shipping is hugely reduced just by not using glass.  Mount the coated canvas, build a simple rectangle of moulding, cut the mounted canvas to fit, slam it in the frame with Fletcher points, add wire, and voila!  Looks fabulous on the wall.  You will not hear a word about "no mattes."  All you will hear is "OMG does that price include the frame, wow!"  I won't tell you how little time I have invested per frame because you wouldn't believe it.  While I have owned some very expensive framing equipment, the extremely efficient production equipment I actually use could be bought for under $1000.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 02:14:19 PM by bill t. » Logged
nairb
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« Reply #44 on: January 25, 2013, 02:37:10 PM »
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Roughly speaking I'd say I was paying about $225 to frame (doing the assembly myself) a 16x24" print with 6 inches of mat and anti-reflective glass, making a piece that measures 32x40" which I have priced at $800. From what you are saying, I should be able to get this for less than $50??

By mounted, do you mean frame, glass, matting, and backing board? If so, who is your supplier(s), because, so far I've only been able to find Larsen-Juhl as a supplier here in Canada and I've been told that even their wholesale prices are not much lower than what I've been paying. I haven't yet been able to find out what duty may be charged on framing materials from the US...

My main concern with the cost of the framing tools is that it will cost me an extra $500/month to have the space needed to use them.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 02:40:56 PM by nairb » Logged
KenBabcock
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« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2013, 02:40:47 PM »
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Bill, I'm curious what moulding you use.  I don't ever mount canvas myself - only stretch.  But now I have visions in my head of walking through Home Depot stores seeing 16' lengths of moulding stacked and just can't imagine any of the goofy moulding sold here at my local Home Depot store wrapped around the perimeter of a canvas.

Heck, I can't even purchase Miracle Muck here in Canada to mount a canvas to Gator.  Stretcher bars all the way here.
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framah
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« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2013, 04:17:24 PM »
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Nairb... No, he can't get it done for that amount if you are using anti-reflective glass. The glass alone would be more than that for your supplier.

If you were only using regular glass then, maybe, you might be able to do it for that much. Plus if Bill only prints on canvas and frames that.. then, in that case,
yes, it is quite cheap that way.

Bill....that is why his process are so high. He's using museum glass. Not cheap stuff! ...and  I forgot to expense my pain pills!!! That is why I'm always broke! Grin

$225 is  a good amount for what you are getting.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 04:19:08 PM by framah » Logged

"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
framah
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« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2013, 04:22:52 PM »
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Ken, forget Home Despot. Up in Canada, you MUST have some woodworkers who can shape you some cheap moulding. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a nice clean capture.

It's too bad there are those tariffs or whatever on stuff you buy in the US and ship across the border.
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"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
nairb
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« Reply #48 on: January 25, 2013, 04:40:04 PM »
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Well not museum glass, but Tru vue UltraVue which is still anti-reflective but blocks 65% uv vs 98% and has no tint. The reason I chose this is that I have quite a number of very dark night images, so they get framed with black mat. Without the anti reflective, it will basically just be a mirror with so much dark behind it. Yes, she showed me her wholesale price in the book when I ordered it and with the discount it was ~$460 for a 2 sheet box if you ordered 4 boxes at 40x60". Which for that 16x24 I'd mentioned, the 36x28.5" piece of glass would be about $98 wholesale. My former rental mate who was setting up a custom framing business in the back of my space (the 300' office I'd mentioned) quoted me $345 to do that 16x24" print. I've also grown to very much dislike the non-glare glass. I can't look at it anymore without feeling like I need to rub my eyes.

I've seen so many photos done on canvas wrap and the look just doesn't work for me. It's mostly the texture as well as the smearing of detail and necessary matte finish. That and there is so much of it now and mostly dirt cheap and poorly done that it seems it's not far off from buying a poster. Photo paper mounted on aluminum or dibond looks pretty good with a float mount, but I question it's durability and longevity.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 04:55:35 PM by nairb » Logged
Landscapes
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« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2013, 10:29:41 PM »
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I've seen so many photos done on canvas wrap and the look just doesn't work for me. It's mostly the texture as well as the smearing of detail and necessary matte finish. That and there is so much of it now and mostly dirt cheap and poorly done that it seems it's not far off from buying a poster. Photo paper mounted on aluminum or dibond looks pretty good with a float mount, but I question it's durability and longevity.

Nairb,

Funny you should say this because canvas prints for me are going well.  Since I sell wholesale, the numbers just don't work with frames pieces.  I do sell prints, but let the framing stores that sell my work frame it up.  They are of course happy because most of the money goes to them, versus selling a canvas where 50% of it goes to me.  But the look of canvas is quite nice.  

I am surprised you are complaining about a matte finish.  I find the glossy finishes on canvas look unattractive and I am using a mostly matte surface for my canvas.  It does of course lose some contrast, but it looks more elegant to me and most store owners like it more.

But hey.. you gotta do whatever works.  I would love to actually put the canvas in a frame, that would satisfy the asthetic appeal, but as you know, moulding is just soooo expensive.  Canvas really seems to be the only way to make money.   As a reference, canvas prints that I do, anything from 20x40 to 18x72 would be in the neighbourhood of $200 to $300 wholesale, and then a 100% markup by the store.

I would love to see some of your work.  Its awesome that you are able to sell to the higher end of the market. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 10:38:30 PM by K P » Logged
nairb
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« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2013, 10:55:15 PM »
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Oh, I know that canvases sell well. I just don't like the look of them, so I don't want to offer something I'm not fond of aesthetically.

I actually am not fond of matte prints on paper either. I prefer a bit of gloss to a photo as well as the contrast that comes with it. Perhaps I'd feel differently about portraits, but I don't do much of that. This preference could very well be due to the fact that I haven't experimented too much with printing on matte as switching my 4880 is costly and tedious. It also simplifies things by not offering too many choices.

You can see some of my images here

As it happens, I've just sent off a quote for someone who was in on the weekend and wants a 24x36 and three 16x24's. The snow plow and the army truck images. She wants to get them framed herself in Calgary, which is how many of my sales go. Unframed prints. But this may perhaps be changing now that I have a gallery space with more framed pieces hanging. This has been the case since December anyway; more framed pieces selling than prints.

Brian

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Landscapes
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« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2013, 02:06:40 PM »
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Oh, I know that canvases sell well. I just don't like the look of them, so I don't want to offer something I'm not fond of aesthetically.

As it happens, I've just sent off a quote for someone who was in on the weekend and wants a 24x36 and three 16x24's. The snow plow and the army truck images. She wants to get them framed herself in Calgary, which is how many of my sales go. Unframed prints. But this may perhaps be changing now that I have a gallery space with more framed pieces hanging. This has been the case since December anyway; more framed pieces selling than prints.


Thanks for showing me your porfolio... some really nice stuff in there.  I especially like the night pictures with the city lights, mountains and stars.

I completely understand where you are coming from with regards to having to like what you sell.  But I think that you have to learn to seperate the photography/art from the business.  I had to do this and it has paid off.  In my local area, cityscape pictures were going for $40 in the store... this is a 9"x36" print on luster.  I was shocked to see this, because this was retail, so my wholesale price had to be much lower.  Can you imagine selling a picture that size for $20???  So in the end, I had to give in if I wanted to compete.  I joke around now that I no longer am a photographer selling art, but rather a printer selling ink and paper, it just happens to be my image on it.  The thing is that I am in a tourist town and many of these go out the door, so instead of them not buying anything if its priced too high, I am happy when the store phones up and order 10 more prints.  It keeps my printer well lubricated and puts some money in pocket.

Sure I wonder if I am killing sales of more expensive sizes, but the bigger canvases of that same image still go.  In the end, you wanna give a customer choice and capture both types of customers, rich and poor.  The rich ones might go for the 6 foot canvas, the poor ones might only ever consider the cheap paper print.  But I think the idea is to extract as much money from each image as possible.  At least this is how I am doing it now and it is somewhat working.

I also go the canvas route because customers love a finished piece that is ready to hang.  If they just buy a print I think many are shocked to find out what it costs to frame it.  With canvas, your markup for materials is huge compared to what your markup can be for framed pieces, which I think you are seeing.  If a framed piece sells for $600, I think you'd be lucky to have the materials come in at less than $200... where as with canvas, your margins would be much better.

Since you have the space now, I say try a bit of canvas.  I know you say you don't like it and I can understand that, but if someone comes in and buys it, isn't this better??  The good think also is that its easy to sell them rolled canvas and they can just have it stretched at home, which for them will be much cheaper than framing a piece and you are keeping way more money.  Look at it like this.  If they have $600 to spend, but can't carry a framed piece home, you are stuck selling them paper for $100 and someone else gets all that money.  If you sell them a framed piece, you have still invested well over $200 in the materials.  If you sell them stretched canvas, your materials are way less than $100, and if its rolled, you saved the time stretching and can also charge more for the rolled canvas since their cost to stretch it will be much less than their cost to frame a paper print.  The way I think about it is what does it cost to put that art on the wall and how much of that total value can be in my pocket versus someone else's pocket.
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nairb
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« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2013, 03:09:30 PM »
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I've got lots to consider as I continue to do this.

I've just today had two people come in inquiring about this train image. The first was from Toronto and his initial question was whether it was a limited edition (it is not. I number and sign but do not limit and have sold 5 at this size now with the price going from $560 just about 2 yrs ago to $800 now. More like 10-20 pieces sold in each of the smaller sizes). His friends didn't come in as they had a dog so they left after just sticking his head in the door and taking a business card. He didn't even ask about the price. The second guy walked right to me in the back and asked "how many thousands?" assuming it would cost that much.

I also just received word from the woman from last weekend that she'll be here beginning of March and will definitely take the train image but her husband wants to see the truck images in person. I let her know that because of the interest in it, I'll likely be increasing prices in the near future.

So then I need to ask myself about having several pricing levels. For the images that garner less interest.

*and just now as I was writing this another woman from Ontario walked in to inquire about the train image. She'll be back with her husband.

Brian
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 03:26:10 PM by nairb » Logged
Landscapes
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« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2013, 04:23:48 PM »
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Haha.. well then.. never mind what I say!  Your location certainly brings in the affluent customer so that probably requires a much different business model then what works in a big town with lots of competition such as what I am facing.

The image in question that is now $800... is this a framed piece?  What size and how much are you paying for all your materials?  I have been following this thread and see you are using top end materials that are costing you roughly $300.. is this correct?  Still not bad if you are pocketing $500.  The price of the paper and ink is almost negligible when you are selling at the upper end, so I just wonder about all your other material costs.  How much would you sell just the print for and in what size?
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nairb
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« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2013, 04:29:09 PM »
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Unframed print sizes are

  8x12 $115
12x18 $230
16x24 $380
20x30 $575
24x36 $800  framed I have this priced at $1850 with framing material costs at about $350 perhaps a tad more.

I had someone in here two weekends ago who wasn't sure the 24x36" (framed to about 38x50") was large enough for the space he had in mind.

edit: Oh and about a year ago I had a woman propose having this image used to cover a 16' high wall in the entry way of their new condo, applied as a mural. They never followed through though.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 04:45:16 PM by nairb » Logged
Landscapes
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« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2013, 04:55:04 PM »
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Wow... excellent.  I am dealing with wholesale prices rather then retail, so that certainly means my prices are half of what retail prices are, but that is still great that you have buyers who have deep pockets!  Thanks for all the info about your business.
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nairb
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« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2013, 06:57:02 PM »
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Yes, well my other costs are pretty high still (ie. rent) and then this is also a ski town so come mid April there won't be many people around until July and August, then real quiet again until December...
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #57 on: February 08, 2013, 03:40:24 PM »
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I've spent a bit of time now on the pictureframes.com site and haven't come across many mouldings that I like. They seem to have a lot of fairly ornate stuff and if I think about what customers have told me, it seems contemporary, simple designs would be more popular.

I (and my customers) also prefer simpler contemporary mouldings so I make them myself from a variety of hardwoods.
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Landscapes
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« Reply #58 on: February 08, 2013, 05:33:10 PM »
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Would love to see some samples!  After using your router I assume... do you stain it or what kind of finish?  I just started making my own stretcher bars.  Incredible what I was paying before compared to now!
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2013, 09:53:53 PM »
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Would love to see some samples!  After using your router I assume... do you stain it or what kind of finish?  I just started making my own stretcher bars.  Incredible what I was paying before compared to now!

I'm getting better results with a radial arm saw.  I usually finish them with a watco oil topped with urethane.
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