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Pricing, Edition and Signing your Work

Lesson 28 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

Pricing, Edition and Signing your Work

Lesson 28 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

28. Pricing, Edition and Signing your Work

Lesson Info

Pricing, Edition and Signing your Work

Okay moving into pricing and stuff so first of all signing your work since we're here and we're looking at prince this is another thing I mentioned earlier had to ask joseph thinks I had no clue what I was doing and I sold a print through bourbon I was like great what ideo anyway um she told me all the goods so here's a sample of a signed print so print on the front of course I like to sign in the middle of the back of the print because then the signature cannot be separated from the print it can't be cut off the bottom front so it's always there it's right in the meat of the image so I sign in pencil on the back of the print and you'll sometimes you know if you look at work on a website it'll say signed on the first so that just means it's signed on the back um your signature of course efficient number two of ten and the year that it was printed so that's really all you need if there's a title to the image sometimes people will include the title then the signature edition number and t...

hat here that's what you need on there, huh? Why you pensa you want to know why? Because it won't affect the quality of the print down the line but even if it's archival inc I don't want it showing through highlights and stuff over time so pencil and you know people can erase it if they really wanted to but you know it's to me a safer option and most people sign in pencil some people you'll see signing on the front corner I don't like the way it looks also it can be chopped off of the print or damaged in the matting and things like that so I'm verso person okay so that's a quick and easy but basically what you need when you're signing your prince don't sign the map yes because that's not the peace it's kind of tacky so if you sign the mat then you've just addition to matt which is not extremely valuable so prints signed the print okay what the heck is a limited edition okay so again I don't know what this wass when I went to portfolio reviews the first time and someone asked me what's the addition that was like awesome right? So thankfully exam be a corner and pulled me aside like jen come here so she's like this is what an edition is this is what you need to do you need to figure out a prize now before you go on your next session was like okay so a limited edition just means there's a limited amount of the prince and most photographers and printmakers work in limited editions some of the best advice I ever she gave me she said, you know, new artists uh, tend it's best if they work in smaller edition. So five. Ten, maybe fifteen prints, because you want the addition to sell out. Okay, so if it sells out and people know that collectors know that museums and galleries know that they're gonna want to collect your new work because it sold out the first time. But you've got an addition of fifty there's. No way going to sell it out. It's just it's. Not gonna happen. I've got ten prints here from medic, for instance, ten prints addition of ten that's. One hundred prints that have to be sold. Even a small addition to sell out the whole thing. Right? Even selling out one edition, one. One image is great. So we want that to happen. Small editions are great. And something else we'll we'll talk about this actually in detail. A slide. What is your magic number? So your experience again, new artists, maybe a smaller edition collectibility. That means so. A smaller print, for instance, is sometimes more collectible because people could put this in their bathroom. If they want teo, they're little they can go anywhere. This is a little easier to buy than twenty by thirty or thirty by forty that's a commitment, think about yourself buying art for your house. Do you buy a thirty by forty of something you must really love it and it's going to be somewhere where everybody's going to see it something this size this is very collectable because it's little and I could go anywhere also this is this flora for instance is very decorative, isn't it right lots of people like pictures of pretty ladies and it's not a huge commitment because it's it's it's got you know, interesting to talk about it's kind of different but it's still very beautiful versus putting this above your couch right? What on earth is happening in this picture? I mean this is definitely a conversation piece but it takes a more specific buyer doesn't it okay and I know that I know that going in laura it's still my best selling work so it's very collectible um the labour to create the prince if you're making ten types or daguerreotypes or something really hard to print you might want a small edition because it's so hard to make so maybe you're doing an addition that a five or something like that um print size again we talked about one second and then does that say cell's been using methods right? So if you're represented by a gallery and they're going to help you sell the work you might get away with in addition of twenty because you've got somebody helping to sell it if you're on your own no you might want a small edition so you could get it sold if you've got a body of work like you produce, are you going to sell it as an entire edition? Or do you sell individual pieces and does that ruin your limited number? That's a great question and another awesome way, which I embarrassed myself the first time because as a portrait photographer, I thought somebody might would would just buy all of them, right? They would, they would buy all of medic that never happens, but, you know, I told tracy was like, well, do I come up with the price for the whole thing? And she was like, no, don't do that don't tell anybody that ever again, so I know the people buy them individually. Sometimes people will buy two as a pair to put in their house, just like that. Museums are about the only folks that would buy maybe the whole series or five or six or ten prints or something from a siri's. So and the rest of that's true. Yes, for instance, and see if I can find this guy. Um, well, I don't have to spend a lot of time, but, well, this one, this this one sold out prayer machine, um, and a lot of the other ones haven't still there still for sale and that's okay, so we're just gonna be more popular than others, huh? Do you do multiple sizes? So if you have ten of this size intend of this size or do you just get a little bit of bad form to do that you can and people dio? But if you do it, don't do attend by ten and twelve by twelve you know you would do it forty five forty and a ten by ten and then I think that's fine, but yeah, be careful about that because it can really especially if you do it only after the first edition sold out because then you're clearly just trying to make more money and it makes the first edition less collectable, armless valuable for people so it's kind of almost like lying to them, you told him it's additional ten and now there's ten more in a different size to make sense that's a great question and a question that I had to all right pricing so a lot of things you want to think about when you're pricing the first time I did when I did baptism I did a tiered pricing structure and that means so the edition one of ten cost seven hundred fifty dollars or six fifty I think it was an edition ten of ten was fifteen hundred dollars because it was the last one okay, but what I found was a really pain in the butt to keep up with who bought what and when and who sold it first so that when it was every time a gallery sold a print I had update everybody okay prince five of ten sold so now the price is this and I wasn't good at keeping up with it because I suck it that so I don't do I don't do that anymore but it's not a bad system if you don't mind keeping up with it and if you only have one body of work it's okay, but then I had medic and then I had flora to keep up with and it just got harry so now what I've done with testament is they're all the same price one of one is not in her fifty dollars, ten of ten, one of ten and ten of ten also nine fifty and if I look at it you know one print and there's ten of them and their nine fifty each then if I saw out one print that's it's a good income it's good money so yeah, I could probably get a little more if I tear it, but I'm not willing to put up with that uh does that sell well when you do that I mean tiered versus same price I don't find that there is any difference very little yeah, sometimes I think people will jump on edition one of ten because it's cheaper but maybe in the end it doesn't make that much difference but that's also because my work has become more collectible overtime so I think I could get away with it a little bit better with testament to to be honest um okay, so tears or flat prince alone are you selling it with matting and framing most people bye print alone that's what they're used to buying so I don't recommend selling it with maddie and framing because it cost you more money and it raises the price of the print and the value is not there's not much value in the mount the frame so I just sell the print alone cost of production houses how much does that make it cost you to make the print which of course you have to think about I mean a digital print is not horribly expensive, but if you're making tin types or something they cost a lot to make. So you have to account for that, um the amount of labour, how long's it take you to make it taking three days to make a print because you're doing mixed media or something, you have to account for that to your time a digital print while the labor that went into this thing took me months making the physical print didn't so it's just something that you have to balance and think about um calorie commission some most galleries take forty percent thirty to forty sometimes even fifty percent your sales price so all of that stuff we just talked about you have to consider in how much commission is being taking out of your profit thie gallery price range is something else to think about if you look at their stable of artists, go to a few exhibitions and see what other people are charging in that gallery if you're the most expensive person, you're probably not going to sell them any prints so something to think about um I'm about to do an exhibition at verve of women's prints and make I'm really little you know, six by six and price them pretty low so just to sell some work you know that those are extremely collectible and the smaller the print that more collectible they are so I could probably sell a whole bunch you know, twenty thirty of those guys on just you know, make some money and then I got this this is my hard work that I you know want to show it I know it's not going to sell us well okay, so it's just something to think about I mean, I hope people will buy it because I think it's pretty freaking cool, but I know it's not as collectible it just isn't um what else artist experience and collectibility at just talked about before but if you're if you're collectible and we had three successful bodies of work you can charge a little bit more for the work first body of work you know six fifty was a pretty good starting range for me it didn't matter whether you got a grant or not in terms of your bail I don't think that would now I don't think that would have a lot to do with it just that the price of making the work then has cost you less but you still put the time in and the money it's still it's still money even if it wasn't your money so yeah I think you have to price it based on then what you need to make from the work in the end okay I know there might be some questions about pricing more questions should we keep going because we can always grab the end you see I mean you know you're just you're you price your stuff but you put a lot more working and maybe someone else does do price higher because of that because of your work because you put more time into the possibly yeah possibly if somebody is making work quickly that's a good question if there coming out the body of work every three or six months or something I think they could probably charge a little less and still make good money from it but I only released work every couple of years, so I have to charge enough for it to then make an income. Yeah. That's a good question. I don't produce very much. Yeah. Okay, we talked about signing our work already since we had this in front of us were going to kind of keep going next and just touch on keeping a print inventory. This is really, really important, because if you sell something to someone and forget to mark it down, then you've sold eleven prints out of ten, and people do not. I love you in the morning for that. So, yeah, I keep this spreadsheet tells me, you know, this is this is kind of outdated, I guess, but just that name of the print where and so the yellow ones are in a gallery somewhere there in a show that's what that means. And then the green ones have been sold. So it tells me that somebody has the work somewhere. So I know where that my stuff is. And if it's sold, it turns green so I can keep up with the addition numbers. Okay, that's really important. Do you print the entire edition before you start? Good question some people, yes, some people know I print five of the edition five of ten yeah. And also do you track who buys? Um, yes. So you are able to get that from the gallery? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I can tell you the collector's name. Yeah. Yeah, because then I mean, I know that that person likes my work. So we work me in the gallery, work together when I come up with new work. Tio, get in contact with that person and say, hey, she's, going to work out? Come look at it. Important. Yeah. And hopefully you've got a good gallery that'll do that for you, huh? You artists proofs a piece that's. A good question. Yes. Two two a piece. An artist. Proof is it is a copy for you that never gets old and never gets in the hands of anybody else. It's, just your own. Some people do emcees, which our model copies, so usually a model copy would be in a different size than the addition, but you want to give them, if that's the compensation for the model, you would sign it on the back in c. Or you can ride out model copy on the back, and then that doesn't count this part of your addition. You have to be careful, though, if you've got twelve models in there. You can't do that. You would just need to pay the models. If you've got one model, you can do it little copy, or you can give them one of your artists proofs. That would be fun, too.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP


Bonus Materials with Purchase

Book Proposal Sample.pdf
Critical Mass - Digital Book.pdf
Curriculum Vitae Example.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 1.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 2.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

"Thinking about art is not making art." In this inspiring and informative workshop, Jennifer helps you put thought into action - through meaningful self-reflection, exploration and by taking her through her own processes. Through exercises and examples, she explains how to pull out a thread of an idea and develop it into a conceptual project that is informed and invigorated by personal experience, preference, interests, and so much more. Her workshop not only feeds the creative soul, but offers earnest information on taking first steps toward publishing and showing fine-art. Jen so beautifully shares her talent and her love of teaching - I first "met" her on Creative Live and have had the joy of being mentored by her in-person as well. This workshop is a very close second to spending time with her one-on-one. Thank you, CL, for bringing her back!

kalei harmon

I love Jennifer, she's one of my cL favorites! She is such a soulful photographer and her art just resonates with me in so many ways. While she was creating her conceptual piece with the mother and child, my eyes welled up because it was such a profound experience to witness. I appreciate that she has a graduate degree in art and is able to refer to others in the field who are leading the way. She is so genuine and I'm grateful for her willingness to bare her soul to us through her art and process. I've learned so much by watching how she interacts with models and communicates efficiently and gently to get AMAZING poses. Definitely worth the buy if you're looking for inspiration from an artist who creates images which evoke emotion and communicate a message, not just trying to make "great photos." I can't wait to learn about the business side of it all!


I am so grateful for this class; it is just what I have been looking for to help me go beyond my "photographic potty training". By leading us through her own creative process, Jennifer Thoreson invites us to think about why we do what we do and to make our work more meaningful and authentic, creating our unique visual vocabulary. Moreover, she provides detailed info on submitting work to galleries and publications, contests, printing editions, preparing an exhibition and pricing. In her calm, unpretentious manner, Jennifer demystified art without trivializing it and I finally saw light at the end of a rather long tunnel.

Student Work