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Print Sales

olbell 10 47 1 England
4 Mar 2008 4:33PM
I have just started to try and sell some of my images and have arranged a meeting with a local independent art gallery! After looking at my website they stated a handful they were interested in so I have got these printed to take along.

Having never done this before what sort of questions should i be asking and what is a fair percentage for commission?

Would be great to hear your thought and experiences.


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AidanT 11 49 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2008 4:46PM
Hello Olbell,

It's good to hear that an independent art gallery has taken a liking to your work. I've displayed some of my work in a small local gallery such as landscapes and bird life. The gallery owner has told me that his customers took a liking to my work but no sales. I've since been to another gallery in my area but the owner said though he liked my work photography in his opinion was hard to sell.

I've currently got an exhibition at a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre and I know I have sold some of my work (mostly birdlife on display). I think the key is to know your target audience to have any chance of success. People are more likely to purchase if they have some personal connection with the photo and that's hard when were talking landscapes.

Don't let this deter you and best of luck! Aidan
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2008 7:45PM
Well done Ollie! One of these days I'll get round to trying to do the same.

aftertherain 13 4.2k 2 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2008 7:47PM
Commision varies but a some local Galleries (Corbridge) charge 40% , my last Exhibition the gallery owner took just 5 per item.
25% is the norm though.
allanC 12 21 Scotland
4 Mar 2008 8:21PM
Hi Ollie,

Well done on the getting involved with the gallery. I am sure you will do well your images are very good. I am in a similar position, I have a slot for an exhibition in a local health centre for April and May and hoping to sell a few images. The commision they are taking is 20% of any sales. I agree with Aidan that the images need to be local so people can connect with them.

olbell 10 47 1 England
4 Mar 2008 8:48PM
Thanks for the comments guys. I was thinking along the same lines with images which people can connect with it, for example Mumbles lighthouse or the pier in Swansea. I was thinking commision of around 25% so hopefully it will be in that region.

As this is my first attempt at selling i really just want to get people to see my work and then in time i can try to get higher margins etc.
brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2008 8:59PM
Well done on getting the opening for your work.

One thing to watch for is that some galleries add VAT on top of the commission, it can be a bit of a downer if you are not expecting it
olbell 10 47 1 England
4 Mar 2008 11:50PM
OK, thanks Brian!
Chris_H 14 1.5k 1
5 Mar 2008 10:25AM
I have work in a selection of galleries and my commission rate is 40% with all. I get all of my work professionally printed using the Giclee method and using plain white mounts with a thick backing board. I found by getting the prints professionally printed & mounted to a really high standard the images sold much better even when they were more money than other photographers work in the same gallery.

Its worth charging for your images accordingly as it can be very expensive and there can be lots of hidden costs. For each gallery I have work with they have around 400 worth of stock and that's the price it costs me to have the images printed not the retail value, when you have a few galleries with your work the price soon adds up. Prints can also get damaged in shops & during transportation so its worth taking this into consideration in your price.

Finding the right gallery is important and it usually takes time before you will cover your printing costs and start making money.

One think most of the galleries insist on is that I do not sell the same image close by and I must not sell the images cheaper from my website or at craft fair, for this reason I have the same price for all. This is important as if a customer buys a mounted image of yours from a shop for 60 and then they see the same image for 30 at a local craft fair it will not only look bad on you but also the outlet selling your work.
ckristoff 13 994 Wales
5 Mar 2008 1:26PM

thanks for starting this thread - very interesting.

One day I'd like to try and do the same thing. My main obstacle is total lack of confidence. That's just me.

Reading the other posts, I see there's no substitute for professional printing. I have a Canon i9950 A3 printer, but I don't think I could sell any photos printed from it.

Can someone clarify whether the printers could mount the images for you, or this something I'd do myself?

Question for Brian, is there a knack to mounting images? How do you go about it, friend?

tigs 13 145 3 Netherlands
5 Mar 2008 1:51PM
I've been thinking of doing this myself so I'm quite interested to hear how you get on... some venues have their own set commission rates but 20-25% seems fair to me. All the best for your meeting!

Chris_H 14 1.5k 1
5 Mar 2008 2:12PM

Quote:Can someone clarify whether the printers could mount the images for you, or this something I'd do myself?

There are lots of printers who will mount the images for you, it took me quite some time to find one that gives really good consistent results. You can easily mount the images yourself, but I found by using the likes of cotswold mounts and other similar companies the standard of mount was nowhere near as good as the results I am getting from the gallery I use, plus its a lot easier having someone who does it for you as it can be time consuming.

Quote:some venues have their own set commission rates but 20-25% seems fair to me.

20% commission for a good gallery is extremely unlikely, remember the gallery will probably have to pay VAT unless they charge it to you so they would only make 2.5%. having a gallery is expensive as they are going to have lots of costs so if you offer a low commission rate and they are not selling enough images to warrant the space you are using for their return they will simply realise its not worth their time and not use you in the future so you could end up losing money as you are then stuck with all your stock and no outlet.
olbell 10 47 1 England
5 Mar 2008 2:43PM
Thank you for the substantial input Chris, had a look at your portfolio.....great stuff!

I have a meeting on the morning of the 7th March with the gallery so will keep you all updated on my progress. I guess there are many people in the same situation as me!

Watch this space..........

Rgds Ollie
brian1208 Plus
14 11.4k 12 United Kingdom
5 Mar 2008 2:43PM
Frank - its pretty straightforward to mount your own prints, even easier if you buy pre-cut mounts and print your images to match these.

Here are a couple of articles that may help.


and here

Most important is to give yourself plenty of time and space.

(My best margins are from selling bare prints, made to fit standard mounts, bagged with a loose backboard insert. These require no additional skills, other than getting the image and printing them! Smile )
olbell 10 47 1 England
7 Mar 2008 1:02PM
For anyone who is interested.........I have re-arranged my meeting with the gallery to tuesday (11th March) so will let you know what happens on tuesday evening!


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