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Pricing Your Prints as an Artist
By James M. Theopistos


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What do your charge for your prints? Many artists who are just starting in the area of selling may be wondering how to price prints they will be selling either at shows or online.  Do you base it on your the competition? Do you like your prices to be lower or higher or somewhere in the middle of the road? Do you have a specific system to it such as based on the size or? What about based on demand? Any finally do you run any sort of sales?

Like many things dealing with art, there are no absolutes or right or wrong answer. The closest to giving an absolute answer would be “whatever your buyer is willing to spend”.  This post is not meant to tell you what to charge.  Only you can decide that . However, here are a few things we have discovered after hearing from different artists that might help you come up with your decision on pricing.

Jan of Toronto, Ontario wrote

”I mark up my prints double of what I spend. I had difficulty in pricing my work when I first started selling prints. I sell prints primarily online and had great difficulty at first. When I saw how others were pricing their work, some lower, others higher, talked to a few friends to gauge what they would pay, if they did not know me.  I decided first to make a list on how much I spent on printing and shipping costs then I double that number.  One last bit of advice is, try not to look too much at the competition and base my prices on that. If I did so, I would make hardly anything on prints.“

Martin Forest of Austin, TX told us

“I was using another printer before FinerWorks. Since FinerWorks printed on the same materials and used the same printers it was a no brainer to go with you guys. It effected how I priced my work as well. With the other company it cost me about 10% more than at FinerWorks. Because of that I was able to lower my prices which have always been based on the size of the print. I came up with my own pricing method and charge about double for sizes which are easy for the customer to frame. For prints which are weird sizes, I charge a little more. I have to do this because the frames are a little more expensive for the weird sizes.”

Carmen De La Cruzes of San Diago, CA wrote us

"Buying art usually has an emotional element. One challenge you have with online sales is you do not get to meet and talk to the customer personally. Unless the buyer is a friend, family member or a great fan of my work, I am not there to help encourage that emotional attachment to the piece. Because of that possible factor, people might be more inclined to let prices I set play a role in their decision making. Early on I started to sell my prints online at a markup of about 40-60% if on paper and about 80-120% on canvas. That worked for me for a while with my online sales but once I started selling at shows and realized if I am selling in person I could get a better price for the same work, I raised my prices. I based this partially what other artists in those shows were selling and I tried to at least offer some prices close to the higher price points. Some people might think my prices are too high and I know i could ever sell online at those prices but at shows I can get to know the buyer in those few minutes and sell to them at an emotional level. Since I started doing that, I have been amazed at how many customers contact me later and buy additional works. I think that has made up for any lack of sales do to people thinking my work is too expensive.”

As you can see, there is no standard pricing method but venue and salesman ship do seem to play a role. If you are only interested in selling online, my advice is to get some honest feedback from people you know only casually or professionally (stay away from close friends and family because they sometimes are more likely to tell you what you want to here). Find out how they think your work compares to other artists doing similar work (do some research on sites like etsy.com where artists sell their prints). Then try to sell around the same level as those artists that seem to compare well to you.

Category: Selling and Self Promotion
Created: Saturday, May 26, 2012, Last Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012


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About James Theopistos Aside from being an enthusaistic promoter of the visual arts field as it relates to individual artists' success, he also serves as the acting Chief Development Officer for FinerWorks.com, an online color print lab for artists and photographers.
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