The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What ARE pictures worth?

This is Jeff Giannonati, from somewheres around Buffalo (SD). The picture was shot at the Regional High School Rodeo at Tipperary Arena in Buffalo in 1984. Event winners advanced to the So Dak State HS Rodeo at New Underwood. Jeff fell short that year.

I have a number of images that are of similar quality in all aspects (good exposure, good action, unusual action). I have a lot more generically good rodeo shots. In most cases, I know who's in the shot. All were taken in the late-'70s-early-'80s.

I have decided to attempt to market some of these images. One of the questions is: What is a fair price for a technically proficient rendering of a moment like the one above preserved at 11x14 inches on "archival" paper printed on an inkjet with "archival" ink?

Most of the shots that express all that's going on in the one above were taken at western So Dak youth rodeos. That gives me a starting market of about one or two persons for each of about 100 photos--that is, those who appear in my best shots, or their mothers.

Some of those folks will want prints. How much can I get for one? What'll they pay?

In addition to coming up with a price that will satisfy everyone involved, I have to find a venue through which to get the prints in front of people who might like to buy them. I'll letcha know when I have an idea. Until then, I identify with the next shot of Jeff's Bareback Bronc experience of that day in 1984.


guy outside cafe said...

Bob, I have seen Jeff in this very position numerous times since 1984

Bob Newland said...

You mean he actually pursued this avocation after high school?

guy outside cafe said...

ahhh I don't believe that is the type of behavior I was referring to.
If you get the photos in some type of viewable form I would love to look at them

Bob Newland said...

I get it now.

You can see quite a few (mostly uncorrected and uncropped) at

DDC said...

The thing i hate most about photography is trying to price photos. You've got some incredibly unique stuff here.

I'd probably price them at $45 for an 11x14. It's a lot less than I think they're worth, but I've found that people just aren't willing to pay much more than that.

I actually have my 11x14 sports shots priced at $15.99 and I only sell one once in a blue moon. That's a little different situation though, since your rodeo shots have actual historical value and would be marketable to people that aren't actually in them.

Photography has really changed as a business in the last 5 years or so.

Bob Newland said...

Thanks for the input, DDC.

I'd consider $45 for a print, if someone, say, saw this discussion and offered to buy a print.

But anything I do actively to get the attention of the specific people most likely to want a print costs resources. So by the time I get a print sold, I might have more than $45 in it in the recent past, let alone the expense that's now 30-some years old.

I'll probably end up selling a few prints at way less than I should, because 1. Some of these images could be something a family would enjoy very much, and 2. I like the idea that someone might pay me even a pitiable sum for my work, which I've always priced way under its true value.

DDC said...

I know that $45 is insultingly low, I'm just not sure what the market would bear on the shots. I would get a couple of your best shots framed (maybe some old barn wood or similar) and put them for sale for $300-350 a piece. If you cam find the right places to sell them, I think they'd do well.

Be sure to include a card with a description of the shots so people would understand that they're locally shot.