This month’s letter comes from a reader with a question about whether or not to raise the price of their photographs in order to work with an interested gallery.
A gallery in Europe (I live in America) is interested in representing my work. They have a good reputation and I would like to work with them. The only thing is that they want me to raise my prices. My photographs have sold well for the past few years so I think it’s a good idea, but they want to almost double the price. I’m worried that if I raise them that high people won’t be able to buy my work at the same rate, and if I don’t I’ll lose the gallery.
Possibly Priced Out
Dear Possibly Priced Out,
Raising the prices of your editions can be beneficial both you and your gallery, however, a price increase needs to be done carefully and with a long-term plan in place. Too often, I see galleries take on a new artist and jack up their prices to an amount that the gallery needs to sell to stay in business, but isn't necessarily right for the artist. I have seen galleries do exactly that and then after not selling enough work, drop the artist from the roster. The artist is left with overpriced work and without gallery representation. In the primary art market, prices can only go up—never down. I don't know a lot about the European market, so I don't know how this gallery arrived at those numbers, but I would recommend asking them for a smaller price increase to start. After another year, if sales are strong, you could raise the prices again. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, an artist-gallery relationship is a partnership and communication is key.
Kat Kiernan, Director, Panopticon Gallery
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