Category Archives: Marketing

Why Photographic Prints (and Licences) are Expensive

This was inspired by a post by Mel Sinclair on her website on the same topic (Mel has some gorgeous images from Iceland – on my wishlist but I haven’t managed to get there yet).  Pricing’s something I’ve thought about a lot, all photographers do, I think, but never written about before.

I too am a very small player in the photographic scheme of things.  No doubt it’s hard enough to make money in Photography these days, with what seems like “everyone’ doing it, it’s getting even harder and harder to make back the true worth of a photo.

I’ve get lots of very positive feed back along the lines of “Oh!  I Love your image / calendar / canvas print” but those comments do not translate into sales.

It does seem that art has lost its value.  If I had a sale for every “I could take that myself” comment I’d be the most successful photographer out there!  And I wonder just how many ever Do go out and take it themselves.  Darned few, I’d bet.

What it Takes to capture a great image:

Travel time and cost.

If I’m driving – anything from 15 minutes to 5 days – yes, I’ve driven a 2,000 km round trip for an image.  And we all know the cost of fuel – currently my diesel van costs $95 to fill the tank and with perfect driving conditions at 90 kph I get just on 700kms a tank.  So for that 5 day round trip it was 4 tankfuls.  Plus the cost of accommodation, food and other trip essentials.


DSLR bodies x 2, lenses x 4, Medium Format Digital bodies x 2, lenses x 4, tripods x 2, monopod x 1, media cards x 10, flash units x 3 and a whole lot of peripherals like cases to carry it, reflectors and other gear.  And lets not forget the mobile phone.

And on local trips – anything up to 90 minutes to catch that storm, sunrise or sunset – I need a nap when I get home , so I can get through the rest of the day, and it takes time to load, backup and edit those images too.

Processing those Images

A computer (IMac) to process them; 3 x HDDs (3 x 2Tb) for storage and backup; Time to download, backup and edit (and editing time is a substantial factor); Internet access costs;  hosting costs for my page; plus marketing time uploading and sharing to various sites

And the Intangibles – the ones the “Take it Myself” brigade don’t stop to consider

My time, effort and the skill used in taking the the images has taken many years of study, training, workshops and practice to develop – and it is a never ending process.  What value do you put on it – and how do you calculate it?

Does every image have a value?  Yes, but you need to include all those general costs it took to produce the image, as outlined above, plus the individual factors which went into any particular image – see the examples below.

If I’m selling you licence for a file you will get the full resolution file, untagged, so I will never be able to use that image again for prints or any other purpose (except possibly marketing).  It will no longer have a place in my library of saleable Fine Art.  Consider this when objecting to the price of an exclusive licence.

Two example images.

Blue Dawn The Old Jetty

Blue Dawn and The Old Jetty (my most popular image online) are available to purchase on my website .  Go on, you know you’d like one! Hint, hint, they make gorgeous canvas prints.

Factor in the cost of flights to and from New Zealand, car hire, accommodation, associated trip costs – $7,200 – and a month away from home – and the cost of internet access and backups on the run.

And a lot more intangible costs in time, researching locations so I knew where to go to catch extraordinary scenes, over a year  planning and arranging the trip and itinerary.

When you factor in all hose things is around $365 for a 1m x .5m canvas so expensive?

So please, next time you pass up an amazing image from any Photographer, please consider all I’ve said here, and if you like the image enough to hang it on your wall, then buy it. You’ll make someone happier – and you’ll have a beautiful work of art to put in your home and enjoy forever.

Footnote:  Mel Sinclair had this rider in her piece – I’m not popular enough for this yet, but it’s worth remembering when considering ANY artist’s work:

“The hours I spend, fighting every single stolen image from those that think it’s OK to rip me off online. DMCA notices don’t write themselves, and I often lose hours trying to chase up stolen images. Why? Because I want my photos to hold their value, I want my collectors and buyers to know that they can only get it through me or my authorized outlets. It’s about being exclusive.”


SPECIAL OFFER! One only canvas print.

A 1 metre x 1/2 metre canvas for just $200 plus postage.  (Solid colour wrap  NOT canvas wrap.)

This my most popular image on the net over all my galleries and webpages, and most viewed, featured and commented on at RedBubble.

I will have another image, By Road or Lake,  as a canvas soon for the same price

I calculated the Courier delivery to various capital cities as follows: Brisbane $23, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide all $29, Hobart $37, Perth $37, Darwin $42

Made the (Electronic) front page!

NSW RFS Chopper Sandbag edlivery

Yesterday while quietly mooching around at home my OH suddenly heard a chopper – landing right next door!

We hot-footed it up there and found the SES & RFS pilot conferring on the best spot to return with a load of sandbags.  Later that afternoon they came back and I captured this shot  of them delivering sandbags for the Banora Point SES Centre.

While  delighted to be included on the front page gallery and in the article, a proper credit would have been nice.  They did give me full credit in the photo gallery – a small consolation I guess.

A couple of other shots from the day below

The RFS Chopper takes off through the goal posts in heavy rain on the first run
Sandbag delivery
Original image of the NSW RFS chopper delivering sandbags

Flooded! And my images published.

It has been absolutely pouring all week.  We had a brief respite yesterday, but it is bucketing down again.  Our rain so far for the week to 9am yesterday for the 3 days was 272.5 – we’ll be reading it soon. And it is still coming.

Updated: 24 hours to 9am Friday 27 Jan 2012 – 49mm  Weeks’s total to 9am – 311.5

We went out Wednesday morning and got the 9kg gas bottle filled in case of power outages, and stocked up with groceries, to make sure we had enough cat food, veges etc. All the roads we used were closed by 1pm!

I sent seven pics from out morning excursion, including the one above, to the Tweed News and they are in their photo gallery from the floods. The #10-16 are mine – has my name at the top.

The ABC website also used this image.

And the Sydney Morning Herald website slideshow has used them too.  Nice to get a bit of coverage!

My 2012 Calendars

It’s the time of the year again when thoughts turn to calendars for the year forthcoming.  I have 6 designs for sale this year.  While some calendar titles are the same over 50% of images have been updated in each calendar, with all new images in some.

Browse through all the calendar images and order online at my RedBubble store.  Postage discounts apply to multiple items – the more you order the cheaper per item postage becomes.

Check out my Photobook online

You may recall an earlier blog entry when I won the prize of an Asukabook. Well, I finally got it done (whew!) and the link is here. The absolute centres will not be visible when if is bound so the middle of the spread images (which I split in half) and the centred printing will seem closer together. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hummed and hahed over the images and I am still not satisfied but it will be nice for my coffee table and as a ‘showpiece’. There is a link to it here in the Asukabook online gallery, it will be online for 12 months.

Four Bronze certificates

I entered these four images in the 5th annual Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Competition – all I had entry fees for at the time.  I was pleased to be awarded four bronze awards but wish that one at 79 had gained just one more point and it would have rated silver!  Still, it is better than last year ( 4 bronze awards from 5 entries but lower scores, at the bottom end of the range).

Next year I plan to hoard my pennies and enter up to the limit of 20 entries