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Thread: who buys prints these days?

  1. #1
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    who buys prints these days?

    i just got into the digital world here from film, but i was just wondering, who buys prints and enlargements anymore?

    even for myself, most people store their pictures of family and friends and favorite photographs on their computers, so besides the few that buy enlargements to put up in their living room is there still a market for prints?

    with facebook and flickr it just seems that people use their cpu's to view and share so will the print go the way of film or was it happened already?

  2. #2
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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    I guess it depends on how you define "prints." If you are talking about fine-art giclee prints on canvas, then, yes, there is a relatively decent demand / market for those type of prints. It seems that there is a smaller and rather limited market for prints on fine art or archival quality paper. The truth of the matter is that most people will not pay the extra money for museum quality paper prints and are content with a print on photo paper ... and that market is super-competitive, given the give-away prices that Costco and some on-line outfits charge for photo prints (who cares that the colors are off or that nothing is profiled). However, do you intend to print your own images and market them, or do you intend to provide printing services to other photographers / artists / general public? If it is the general public, then ... good luck. If it is other photographers / artists, then it depends upon your contacts, your print-making skills, prices for limited edition runs, turn-around times, whether you do fulfillment/drop-shipping, etc.

    I print on a wide-format 44" Canon iPF 8300 fine art printer. We have done a series of 24" x 36" canvas giclees of Northern Italian Lakes and vineyards ... and luckily ... by pricing those prints right, the gross sales proceeds have already paid for the printer (not the net sales proceeds ... because you have to factor your time, picture processing, the cost of paper, ink, laminate, stretcher bars, etc.) I have also done some large-format fine-art printing for local photographers on canvas and museum quality papers.

    The point is: you can make money, but it will not be quick or automatic, and the chances of it "paying for itself" apply more to the printing and sale of your own works, or in providing high-end printing services to other photographers / artists who want, appreciate, understand fine-art printing. If your business model relies on families and friends who want enlargements, well Costco will win every time!

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    I have clients who buy prints. I don't sell in huge quantities, but I sell both individual prints and folios (a loose-bound set of about a dozen prints on a theme in an enclosure) on a regular basis. They are quite different in look and feel compared to viewing a photograph on a computer or television display, they are tangible goods with a tactile feel.

    Who are the clients? Those who appreciate the difference in the viewing experience. They come from many different backgrounds, and buy for many different reasons ... decor, collecting, the pure aesthetics of the difference, etc.

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    any recommendations for a place to get "fine-art giclee prints on canvas"?

    looking to give them a shot as i have never printed an image this way.

    thanks

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by gooomz View Post
    any recommendations for a place to get "fine-art giclee prints on canvas"?

    looking to give them a shot as i have never printed an image this way.

    thanks
    "Gicleé" is just a fancy French word for inkjet. It means "spurt" if I recall correctly ... :-)

    White House Custom Color (http://www.whcc.com does canvas wraps that look good. There are a few others, but give them a shot..

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    It comes from the French word,“Gicler,” meaning to spray or squirt. Basically, any Fine Art Print made with a Fine Art Inkjet Printer using archival inks and high quality archival or museum paper or canvas can be described as a “Giclee.”

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    anyone use mpix for these canvas prints?

    i will check out whcc.com aslo. thanks for the reco.

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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    I have people buy prints of my landscape all the time; while I mainly print on canvas I also still offer paper prints as well. Then there are the DVD sales which allow for a larger selection of images (non-printable) on a disk.

    I guess it really all depends on the end-user. I've been doing work recently with a local car dealer where they brought 4-images for their showroom (all of the specific vehicle) plus an image license for their website. I just got a call from the owner asking for another print for her house.

    I'd echo Godfrey's question "Who are the clients?". Based on my experience I'd offer that just because we've gone into the digital age it doesn't mean prints are dead.

    Just my 2¢ worth...


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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    I've found it takes a mix of product. In my situation I have a small gallery where I sell only my work in the form of giclees, paper prints, notecards, DVDs, BluRay discs, and I also do printing for several local artists and photographers. It also helps that I'm located within a small community of art galleries, thus the traffic incoming is very specifically interested in buying art or at least looking at art. It is a very difficult business and takes some time to carve out your niche and a following.

    FWIW, I print gallery prints and giclees on an IPF 83000, notecards on smaller Canon and Epson desktops. I produce my own BluRay discs using still and video clips of UT/AZ parks and down converted DVDs, as well. Before I added the DVDs, notecards, smaller matted prints it was a somewhat unpredictable business. At least I now know that the sales of the small items will keep the doors open, covering the basic overhead. I also found that really large prints on display have a dramatic and positive impact on print sales of all sizes. I display one Monument Valley image that is 3'x9' and a Bryce Canyon shot that is 30"x64". In particular, large panoramic prints grab people's attention and the result is that my gallery, as well as the others around me, become places the locals bring visiting family and friends to give them a visual taste of what they can see in the Southwest.
    Last edited by Charles Wood; 7th June 2011 at 19:26. Reason: additional information.

  10. #10
    AtLProPhoto
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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    Working in the wedding industry I sell a ton of prints, but also, as of late I also have request for digital wedding albums on Ipad so there is a definite shift toward going all digital. As digital frames come down in price and portability I wouldn't be surprised if we one day have digital frames hanging over the fireplace in place of our canvas' today.

  11. #11
    devidmicheal
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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    The truth is that most people do not pay the extra money on museum-quality prints of the paper, and are content to print on glossy photo paper and that the market is highly competitive.

  12. #12
    bcullen
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    Re: who buys prints these days?

    Well it still has a market but has obviously declined compared to how things were fairing probably 8 to 10 years ago.

    Now, people are always on the computer making it easy for digital files to be accessed and should you wish to get your face out there, the social networking site is just a click away.

    Gone were the days when the only way to do it is to photocopy your picture and distribute it, really.

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