Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

How much does one print cost?

with 14 comments

This remembers me on a situation when I had a show and a friend who is driving car for more then 50.000 EUR, asked me a question how much does it cost me to make one print. I said excuse me? Well… he said, my partner really likes your pictures and I want to give him a your print as a gift and I want to pay for your costs of a print.
I couldn’t believe the question, but since we were friends from elementary school, I said politely. Well the price is under the picture, but let’s do simplified math and calculate how much does it cost me to make one print.
– I studied in Prague for four years and that was about 50.000 DEM
– and my postgraduate studies in London was about 25.000 EUR
– the camera and lenses that I used costs about 2500 EUR
– a roll of film is 5 Eur each and I used about 30 rolls
– processing is about 4 eur / slide film
– work prints are 0,5 EUR each and I used 100 of them
– In the lab they charge 40 EUR per single print 1 x 1,5 meters.



Written by Borut Peterlin

22 November, 2007 at 01:00

Posted in Uncategorized

14 Responses

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  1. This math is flawed – you didn’t include the cost of your time. 😉

    But that’s the problem with photography – everybody does it and their neighbour does it for free and they assume everybody does it for free…


    22 November, 2007 at 01:55

  2. Ivan, he did include his time (in education etc…). But we have a simplified thing really. You can either estimate how much your time is worth and use it + cost to figure out the price of your work.

    For example, I would assume paying $60/hr is fair pay for his time. Add taxes and other things it gets to about $120/hr for his time + cost (say another $120).

    So I would think a fair estimate is $240 for it.

    Obviously there is supply/demand part of the equation where the number can be adjusted significantly based on exclusivity of the work (i.e. highly rated with limited number of produced copies would cost more, lower work with higher reprint numbers would cost less to purchase).

    Not knowing what prices are on your pictures let me know how close I am with this?


    22 November, 2007 at 02:10

  3. Yes, but there wasn’t just one hour – photo had to be taken, possibly produced, high-end print making isn’t all that simple and you have to count in all those photos that didn’t make it in the final cut…


    22 November, 2007 at 02:57

  4. Hmm, I saw this a couple of days ago on the ‘A photo editor’ blog 🙂 Harlan Ellison is an interesting person, I’ve read a couple of his stories. As for the price of a photo, in the end, it’s what someone is willing to pay for it.


    22 November, 2007 at 11:18

  5. Publicity is good if you’re a young artist/reporter dying to be noticed. But in this case it is useless. I agree with Harlan Ellison and the author of the blog completely.

    I’d say it’s a matter of weather this is your profession or just a hobby. That’s where I’d draw a line between getting paid and receiving “a small donation”.

    It’s great if your work gets noticed, but if you have to feed your family, then it’s a totally different story.


    22 November, 2007 at 12:37

  6. So the question was how much does one print cost, right? That’s 40 €. But there’s also the value of the photo, and I guess this is the real question. How much do you value your photos? And then you have the price range from 40 € to priceless 🙂


    22 November, 2007 at 12:40

  7. You’re all right!
    Iztok my hour cost between 150 and 300 EUR, depends on for how many hours am I hired and for what purpose my pictures are used. My record was 2500 EUR per weekend for a commercial job. But I did also jobs for free. Like this campaign

    I feel somehow obligated to say I’m not doing wedding photography, or if I do it, I do it as a gift to the couple.

    Concerning art prints they can not be valued in hours. But I don’t have a good strategy in that field. Somehow I feel flattered if somebody wants to buy a print from me and since in Slovenia there is no art market I sell it cheaply. Price varies from series to a series, but most successful in that sense was my Fairy Tels series.

    I sold a lot of those prints size 30 x 40 cm for a price of 70 EUR. It was incredible. Once I shot a roll of film and show work prints to my neighbor and she bought four prints. In that way the work funded itself.

    Fairy Tels prints are still at the prize of 70 EUR each if somebody is interested.

    In year 2002 I sold whole a lot prints to a museum for 2500 EUR. I was going to study in London and I needed the money desperately. I still think it was a bloody good deal for both parties!

    Of course I wouldn’t do that now, because I have a steady job and I gain money from other sources. Other prints from other projects varies. I’m not selling Little Prince series if you remember it, because it’s printed on hand made photographical paper and I wouldn’t sell it for less then 700 EUR. It would take me a week to make a print anyhow, so I’m not trying to sell them.

    Anyhow my work is gaining value and the amount of money from prints is not neglectable.

    Basically price is growing and new picture series like Striptiz and Flower Power are all numbered and I’ll not sell them cheaply. Why? Because I don’t need to! And in the future this work will be much much more appreciated then it is now and I don’t need to sell them.

    Interesting debate? What’s your opinion? And please don’t give me the crap as I hear from young photographers that they do not sell prints for less then xxxx EUR and that’s true they DO NOT SELL any prints.


    PS: If you feel uncomfortable with English , please feel free to write in Slovakian

    PPS: Or in Slavonian.


    22 November, 2007 at 12:55

  8. Klemen, sure. Who gives you 40€?


    22 November, 2007 at 15:18

  9. B5,
    i get quite angry when I hear stories like this. I am into one of many right now. This shows us position of photography in Slovenia and around I think everything is on us photographers. And for many is much easier to say OK I give it for free, than star dealing with the customer. This photographers are making us dumping that is why many people thinks I give you for the costs and you can be happy.
    I just got order from Berlin for picture of William Parker and they told me at the very beginning how much can I expect for my work. I heard that person for the first time in my life.
    I intended to write a blog on that theme so I will stop now.


    22 November, 2007 at 19:47

  10. Ivan,

    unsuccessful attempts are your cost to take really. You can’t charge customer for failed things, can you?

    Seriously, the price I was talking about is fair in my opinion. (please feel free to come up with a better number, not just say “it isn’t that simple”) Adjustments are then made on a supply/demand basis.

    For example, when my company contracts my work out to another company it charges $2400 for 8 hour block of time during work hours (night/weekend ones are higher). This includes cost of my labor, as well as certain idle times (when I don’t work), taxes etc… I obviously don’t receive that much (I work for flat yearly rate + commission).


    23 November, 2007 at 07:41

  11. So you’ve paid like 50,000 € for your education?! O man … respect! 😉


    24 November, 2007 at 02:16

  12. Iztok, failed attempts can’t be charged, but they are cost of doing business, and final price should reflect that, no?


    24 November, 2007 at 18:29

  13. Yes. At least that. I’m sure it’s more, with all the books, fairs, festivals, ….

    Thank good I received a lot of help from Ministry of culture, Municipality, local companies, sponsors, relatives and of course my parents.

    I was selling silver jewelery on the open market in Prague and many more small jobs.

    It can be done if you’re convinced it’s worth it.


    25 November, 2007 at 00:46

  14. ivan,

    how about you come up with a good example? I’ve asked you already.

    Yes failed attempts are cost of doing business, I’ve said that already. This is reflected in a hourly rate.


    25 November, 2007 at 06:05

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