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.