Why You Need To Be Expensive

a limited edition print for my sister for christmas; the image will never be printed like this again

a limited edition print for my sister for christmas; the image will never be printed like this again

I promised you guys in a previous article, How Having Too Many Options Is Hurting You, that I would do an article all about why my prints are priced so expensively. Well, I figured now would be a good time to dive into that; so, without further ado, let’s get right into this one.

Less people will buy your work

Here is a great way to start off this article – controversy. As artists, we all want a ton of people to buy our work; the more people that buy, the more money we make, right? But is this really a good thing? You are probably thinking something along the lines of, yes, no shit it’s a good thing! I want all the money I can get.

Think about it for a minute though: is having a ton of people buy your artwork really a good thing?

In terms of money, of course it is. I cannot deny that. The problem comes in when you think of your artwork and the appreciation it receives. By having a bunch of people buy your artwork, the number of them that actually appreciate your work tends to lessen. If you are selling your work cheap enough for everyone to buy it, then people will think of it as a cheap way to decorate their walls with pretty work. Yeah, maybe some of these people will really admire your work; maybe they found you on Instagram and thought that what you were doing was pretty cool. So they go onto your website, realize how cheap it is to get some of your work, and they purchase it, mainly just because it’s cool.

In my eyes, that is not the sort of customer that I want to have. Granted, I know that I will get some of those customers. But I would much rather have just a few customers who come along every so often and collect my art; they are the people who truly appreciate it for what it is. Instead of buying it just to hang on their walls, they purchase your work because they believe in you as an artist. They see all of the hard work and dedication you have to your craft, and they appreciate that tremendously. These are the type of customers who make careful considerations when viewing the options you are giving them, before they even think of clicking on that “add to cart” or “buy now” button.

Best of all, these guys truly want your artwork. They don’t just want something to throw on their wall to take up some space. Your artwork becomes the centerpiece of whatever room the collector chooses to hang it in. It is a conversation starter; and when your work is bought by a collector, he will recommend it highly to fellow collectors, and eventually you will have your work bought by plenty of these guys, all who really love your art for what it is: art.

a print of  melanie's  photograph of yellowstone falls; the camera on my phone does not at all do its beauty justice

a print of melanie's photograph of yellowstone falls; the camera on my phone does not at all do its beauty justice

You, yourself, will value your own work more

Imagine how you would feel if you found out that most your customers only bought your artwork because they want to fill up some space on the walls. You would feel pretty shitty, right? Knowing that they are just buying your prints because you sell for cheap – it would hurt.

By selling your work for more money, your appreciation for your work grows. And as this appreciation grows, your followers will pick up on it, and their appreciation will grow as well.

When you sell your work for a higher price, you will feel elated. Instead of selling it for the bare minimum, you just sold it for triple, quadruple, maybe even decuple that price. (I wanted to sound smart, so I used the word decuple instead of ten times) You begin to feel as though you could sell your work for even more. While you shouldn’t get cocky and immediately raise the hell out of your prices, you should feel good about yourself. Why? Because somebody out there feels as though your artwork is worth more than just a few dollars. There’s no reason as to why you should not feel this way as well.

one of the few images available on  my shop

one of the few images available on my shop

You can limit the number of prints available

When you are selling products of any sort, you essentially have two options: sell an unlimited amount of the product, or have a set number of them that you wish to sell. It’s called open edition versus limited edition: I wrote an article about this a while back, called “Poll: Would You Rather Have An Open or Limited Edition Print”

Many artists out there sell their work as limited editions. Why? Because they can get more money for limited edition work than they can when they sell as open editions. While there are advantages to both sides of the spectrum, in the end, limited edition works will garner you more money and notoriety in the art world.

Limited edition prints can be sold for more money, which is the biggest benefit to this option. If you plan on submitting your work to museums or art galleries – and you hope to sell them in an exhibit – they will only accept limited edition work, 99% of the time. These two reasons alone should be good enough to convince you to sell as limited edition works.

The other biggest benefit – and the main reason they can be sold so expensively – is because, with a limited number available comes a sense of urgency for your customers. When you have a set number that will be available – with no more being made after all of them have been sold – your customers are put into a sort of rush to buy before they sell out.

a sneak preview of some prints that may come to the shop in time

a sneak preview of some prints that may come to the shop in time

Be free, or be expensive

There’s a blogger out there who says this rather often when he speaks of money and selling your work. And while I don’t always agree with what he has to say, I definitely agree with this. If you look at the prices of products throughout the years, you will quickly realize that there are two groupings: the things that are dirt cheap (free) and the things that are very, very expensive.

You can think of it like an IPhone versus a flip-phone: they essentially do the same things – calling and texting and maybe even pictures – but the price points are drastically different. Yes, you can easily get away with having a flip-phone, but most people would rather buy the more expensive option, because it comes with more. As a photographer, you can think of this as having an IPhone Xversus having a Hasselblad H6D-50. Again, the IPhone X will be able to take the same pictures as the Hasselblad, but not at the same quality.

On my end, I offer more free things on my website than I offer expensive things. Currently, my free things include all the great information you get from my blog, along with the free ebooks (coming soon?), and a free place to view my images; even further is the free ability to contact me and ask me whatever questions you may have about my work or landscape photography in general. The only expensive option I have on the site would be my prints; soon enough I plan on offering coffee-table books and other products, both of which will be relatively expensive.

In the end, my hope is that my viewers – that would include you, my friend – would appreciate all of the free things I offer you, and then show your appreciation by supporting me by buying some of my expensive art or donating a small amount