Pricing and Services, Fine Art Reproduction

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it costs to create a reproduction of one’s artwork – oil, acrylic, watercolor – whichever is appropriate. Some call it giclée printing, others archival pigment printing, etc.

I did a bit of research on the web among 15 print service providers and found out a few interesting things:

  • Very few print service providers (fine art or giclée printers) charge only by the print, without ancillary charges
  • Most charge for digital capture of your artwork – and use a wide range of technologies, ranging from large format scanners
    to digital cameras.
  • Some will charge a setup fee – in other words, a fee for preparing the image for print.
  • Some charge for proofs, certificates of authenticity, require a minimum order, copying to a CD, and other things.
  • Generally, they provide good info on media types and printing technology in use.
  • Generally, all are using technology that provides a final print of archival quality.

In the end, I found that there is a very wide range in services provided, materials used, charges for setup, computer time, printing, and minimum orders.

Here’s the bottom line for a 20×24 inch reproduction:

  • About half  the sites I visited charge a “setup fee”, the range is $40 to $100. Other sites do not mention this.
  • The charge for digital or scanned capture of flat artwork (camera or scan) is $45-150, if this service is provided.
  • The price for a single print on fine art paper ranges from $55 to 170. 
  • The average charge for computer time/Photoshop time is $50 per 30 minutes. This seems pretty consistent.
  • Total cost to the artist (excluding additional computer time) ranges from 130 to a high of 300. I excluded one provider from the research whose total charge exceeded $500.

As you can see, the price you get depends on how the print service provider has structured their business, service fees, and other factors. There is a  correlation in a limited number of cases between high-tech gear in use and high-level pricing. This is a limited sample, and your mileage WILL vary.

Based on the figures I have in hand right now, prices published by these companies will range from $200 to $300 for the first print, and there may be incremental charges for additional prints,   for archiving a reference print, storing digital files, or other services. After that, pricing/print appears to range from $60-100/individual print. No doubt there are other companies whose services, quality, and pricing differ.

I expect that some people will take issue with these figures. Just think of this as a starting point for your own research, do your homework, and you’ll do just fine. There’s plenty of good people out there doing this work.



5 thoughts on “Pricing and Services, Fine Art Reproduction

  1. Pingback: Pricing and Services, Fine Art Reproduction « David Saffir's …

  2. Pingback: Photo News Today » Blog Archive » Photo News Today

  3. Pingback: Tutorial/Tips/Photographers Watch (June 15, 2009) at Imaging Insider

    • regional info just can’t be squeezed out of this sample – in fact, I am pretty sure that even a sample 10x this size would show little correlation between location and pricing. It’s all over the place, and seems to depend on personal preference and past custom more than anything.

      David Saffir

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s