The further I go in my photographic journey, the more I find out that a lot of people actually have no idea the work that goes into a successful artist and balk at prices that are far less than our time is worth.
Here is an approx indication of what goes into just one purchased print.
- 1 hour planning what location to shoot.
- 2 hours planning the trip, researching places to camp, working out where the light will fall etc.
- 2-3 days spent away from home with about $250 spent on petrol, food and other costs.
- 1.5-2 hours importing photos and choosing which ones make the first cut, second cut and finally the third cut.
- 10 hours editing on the 5 photos which I deem to be sellable and preliminary edits on a few others. ( On average from a 3 day shoot I would probably come home with 5 images that would be quality enough to sell.)
- A further 3 hours fine tuning on the 5 photos a day later with fresh eyes.
- 1 hour spent creating web optimised images and uploading these photos along with a spiel to Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, 500px and my website.
- 1 hour preparing and optimising the purchased photo for print.
- 30 minutes liasing with printer and framer.
- $ spent on a hard proof to ensure print quality.
- $ spent on final printing and framing/mounting (based on 36 inch print)
- 1 hour doing a final check of end product and posting or hand delivering to customer.
Ok, so let's work out what all that time and effort works out to in terms of a $ value. I do graphic design work at a rate of about $100 an hour and photography day rates are often around $1000 so let's work with those figures.
$5100 is the cost in terms of my time and $ spent to get these five images to my website for sale. If we divide that by five then we come up with the rough figure of $1000 per sellable photo. Add to that the cost for production of the proof, final print framing/mounting and time spent preparing for print and during the print process, you're getting up to around $1400 out of pocket per photo released on my website. And this is without taking into account time spent working on my website and general business promotion to put me in a position to get a sale. Obviously each time I sell a particular image the figures work out a bit better - but even still, myself and other photographers selling prints are not even close to getting what we deserve.
So folks.. It's not just as easy as taking a few snaps and trying to rip people off by selling them for a few hundred bucks!
Having said that I love what I do and I don't put a $ value on my time spent on photo trips as I would be doing them whether or not this was my job. I'm happy to put the time and effort into producing quality images as it is my passion but please be aware - a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears goes into every image :)