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Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?

  
 
eyal
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


I have two shows coming up and have struggled with how to offer matted prints in standard sizes (11x14, 16x20) at an economical price point vs my current method of relying on sales from my site.

I can guess at what prints may offer higher yields but the cost of a finished matted print from my printer (BayPhoto) is too high to get multiples of various images to have on hand.

I know there must be a better way of doing this without an at-home printer and wanted to see if someone has solved this puzzle.

Ideally I would like to offer those sizes (but open to others) in a matted/signed format with a clear plastic sleeve. For comparison, Bay 11x14 on 1/4" foam board is $25 and 16x20 is $38

Thanks!



Apr 24, 2024 at 01:33 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


It's my experience that people at shows will happily flip through your matted prints and few will ever buy.

This is antithetical to logic, but if you focus on VERY nicely crafted, ready to hang options (don't cheap out on paper/frame/glass/canvas/whatever), people will take your work more seriously and actually go for the higher priced options vs a bin full of cheap prints. You want to remove every obstacle for clients that you can when it comes between your art and getting it on their walls. If you can send them home with a ready to hang piece, you'll see more sales.

To me, prints are simply a lose-lose...

- If there is a big price gulf between the cheaper matted prints and your really nice ready to hang stuff, that actually looks bad too...like they are "cheaping out" with the print or buying an inferior product
- If you up-price your prints, they will do the mental math of needing a frame and pass on it because now it's too expensive for the whole package

There's a bit of psychology here...take away the good-better-best choices for them, and TELL them what to buy by limiting the choices to only your finest work on materials that they'd be happy to have, and there is zero mental math comparison to do on their part...either they want the nice thing or they don't. Nicer pieces will also draw more people to you than a bin of prints.

(coming from a guy that is slinging $300 canvas prints regularly and has a huge overstock of matted prints )



Apr 24, 2024 at 01:38 PM
eyal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


RoamingScott wrote:
It's my experience that people at shows will happily flip through your matted prints and few will ever buy.

This is antithetical to logic, but if you focus on VERY nicely crafted, ready to hang options (don't cheap out on paper/frame/glass/canvas/whatever), people will take your work more seriously and actually go for the higher priced options vs a bin full of cheap prints. You want to remove every obstacle for clients that you can when it comes between your art and getting it on their walls. If you can send them home with a ready to hang piece, you'll see more
...Show more

Thanks for the quick reply Scott!

This isn't my first show but I too have leftover matted prints that I bought via BayPhoto and sold very few...

I've always been of the mindset that I would bring 'samples' of my framed, metal and canvas prints then take an order right there and then for whichever photo the client wanted and deliver it within 1-2 weeks.

I also started offering 4.25 x 5.5" note cards in the past year which did really well.

Just figured I might be missing something when it came to show sales but maybe not?

And in the meantime I checked prices for mats from the framer I use and they charge $20 just for a 16x20 mat with a 12x16 opening! At that price point, the finished matted print from Bay seems cheap in comparison.



Apr 24, 2024 at 01:42 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


eyal wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply Scott!

This isn't my first show but I too have leftover matted prints that I bought via BayPhoto and sold very few...

I've always been of the mindset that I would bring 'samples' of my framed, metal and canvas prints then take an order right there and then for whichever photo the client wanted and deliver it within 1-2 weeks.

I also started offering 4.25 x 5.5" note cards in the past year which did really well.

Just figured I might be missing something when it came to show sales but maybe not?

And in the meantime I checked
...Show more

I added a bit more to my post since your reply, but I agree, your Bay prices are good and really the only way I'd attempt to sell a matted print. No one, and I mean no one, will go out and do this on their own after they buy a bare print.

Bringing examples of different substrates is a great idea and I do that too. Once infuriating thing I've found is metal prints...soooo many people will ooh and ahh over them and yet no one will buy them at a show.

Then I turn around and donate them to local charity auctions and they get hundreds each. If nothing else they are eye catching in a booth, especially glossies.

Have you seen many sales with the "take the order there" method?



Apr 24, 2024 at 01:45 PM
akavalun
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


I buy the show kits from Clear Bags - https://www.clearbags.com/clearbags-16-x-20d-show-kit.html
Basic kit comes out to around $100 for a set of 20. Includes backer, mat, and bag. You have to mount the print, and the mat yourself, but double sided tape does the trick. I get my prints from H&H Color Lab, and they are about $7 a piece. Total cost comes out to about $12 per print, matted and bagged. These are meant to be a cheap option, but does the trick for me.



Apr 24, 2024 at 02:59 PM
eyal
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


akavalun wrote:
I buy the show kits from Clear Bags - https://www.clearbags.com/clearbags-16-x-20d-show-kit.html
Basic kit comes out to around $100 for a set of 20. Includes backer, mat, and bag. You have to mount the print, and the mat yourself, but double sided tape does the trick. I get my prints from H&H Color Lab, and they are about $7 a piece. Total cost comes out to about $12 per print, matted and bagged. These are meant to be a cheap option, but does the trick for me.


Thanks!

I used to mount and mat the prints but found ones I kept would warp over time.

Bay will dry mount onto the foam board. If I went with a 16x20 print from them mounted on styrene then added the bag and mat from here, I'm at the same price as the finished product - about $38. Not bad when I sell matted 16x20s for $200

I may just get a few of each of the more likely to sell ones and hope to pull ahead based on that delta of sale price to purchase price.

Scott- are you printing canvas and selling on site? What size?



Apr 24, 2024 at 03:16 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


eyal wrote:
Thanks!

I used to mount and mat the prints but found ones I kept would warp over time.

Bay will dry mount onto the foam board. If I went with a 16x20 print from them mounted on styrene then added the bag and mat from here, I'm at the same price as the finished product - about $38. Not bad when I sell matted 16x20s for $200

I may just get a few of each of the more likely to sell ones and hope to pull ahead based on that delta of sale price to purchase price.

Scott- are you printing canvas
...Show more

Yes, I typically mix up the sizes. Biggest I've sold at a show was about 40" wide, and I play with aspect ratios a lot...a more pano type aspect tends to work well with this style.

I only print and sell "framed canvases" which give it a floating effect (example here https://streamable.com/hhze1p). I can pump my profit margin since these look much more "finished" and wall ready than your typical standalone canvas. These sell like hotcakes. This style is my favorite because it adds some texture to overly clean digital shots, hides noise, doesn't glare like a glass-framed print, doesn't wrinkle over time, and doesn't require any extra work by the buyer to hang. Many people comment that it looks like an oil painting, which I disagree with, but they find that appealing, so more power to them

There's really no average size, but people seem to gravitate towards 20-30" on the long side when they have the option.



Apr 24, 2024 at 03:23 PM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Are you doing more craft shows or more upscale? Like a gallery or something?

Craft shows, reasonably priced matted 5x7 or 8x10's in a plastic sleeve used to do pretty well, larger canvas serms to do Ok. Of course, you'd probably need a printer and matte cutter to do a lot of that, getting your matte board etc from a distributor helps a lot imo



Apr 25, 2024 at 12:55 AM
jforkner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Advice from my friend who makes his living from craft shows:
• Large canvas prints (24x36, 30x40, 24x48, etc.). No paper.
• Gallery wrap (ready-to-hang, no framing necessary). He prints & stretches his own.
• Scenic images relatable to local area (e.g., we live in foothills near Yosemite - images from there are popular).
• Nothing contemporary sells in our area.

Jack



Apr 25, 2024 at 07:40 AM
eyal
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


AmbientMike wrote:
Are you doing more craft shows or more upscale? Like a gallery or something?

Craft shows, reasonably priced matted 5x7 or 8x10's in a plastic sleeve used to do pretty well, larger canvas serms to do Ok. Of course, you'd probably need a printer and matte cutter to do a lot of that, getting your matte board etc from a distributor helps a lot imo


Two craft shows coming up

Did a bit more thinking and the sweet spot seems to be 11x14 matted prints with the kit from ClearBags which comes to about $5 each for sleeve, mat, linen tape, backing and then an 11x14 print (image 8.5x11) from Bay for $6 each. I'll just mount the print to board then add mat and sign. Going to do a run of 15 at the smaller show to see how they do before the bigger July 4th one.



Apr 25, 2024 at 08:37 AM
 


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eyal
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


jforkner wrote:
Advice from my friend who makes his living from craft shows:
• Large canvas prints (24x36, 30x40, 24x48, etc.). No paper.
• Gallery wrap (ready-to-hang, no framing necessary). He prints & stretches his own.
• Scenic images relatable to local area (e.g., we live in foothills near Yosemite - images from there are popular).
• Nothing contemporary sells in our area.

Jack


Thanks for this! Yeah, based on above comments, I'm leaning towards more canvas prints with float frames which I never offered before. Will likely get one large one for the booth to display.




Apr 25, 2024 at 08:38 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


eyal wrote:
Two craft shows coming up

Did a bit more thinking and the sweet spot seems to be 11x14 matted prints with the kit from ClearBags which comes to about $5 each for sleeve, mat, linen tape, backing and then an 11x14 print (image 8.5x11) from Bay for $6 each. I'll just mount the print to board then add mat and sign. Going to do a run of 15 at the smaller show to see how they do before the bigger July 4th one.


I did a major craft show years ago. Honestly the plastic sleeve and the matte seemed to sell more than the actual photo, I tried printing on hahnemuhle, high quality so people could frame it, and boy, did that not do any good. Would have been better off selling matted sleeved lesser photos on cheaper paper, sleeved so people could spill their drink on it and not have it damaged as they peruse the show.

Talked to a photographer a couple stalls down a lot, he seemed to be making a good living off craft shows (surprising how much you could make off these) he'd drive his long van (Sprinter?) up to Michigan even to go to the different craft shows, sleeping in it at times to save on motels. I think he sold a lot of 5x7 in an 8x10 matte and 8x10 in 11x14 matte, sleeved, $29-$39, and had larger canvas, maybe $300 for poster sized. As an example, he'd been to Africa, but I don't think he had much if even a single print of African animals for sale in his booth, it was much more local icons

It doesn't tend to be a sophisticated crowd, really, if you have any local symbols those can be huge, the more iconic local stuff seems to sell. Your profile says Massachusetts, so you might be able to sell fall foliage there, since its more iconic, idk about around here, though. Nobody cared about my dragonfly photos, for the most part



Apr 25, 2024 at 10:57 AM
eyal
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


AmbientMike wrote:
I did a major craft show years ago. Honestly the plastic sleeve and the matte seemed to sell more than the actual photo, I tried printing on hahnemuhle, high quality so people could frame it, and boy, did that not do any good. Would have been better off selling matted sleeved lesser photos on cheaper paper, sleeved so people could spill their drink on it and not have it damaged as they peruse the show.

Talked to a photographer a couple stalls down a lot, he seemed to be making a good living off craft shows (surprising how much you could
...Show more

I'm fortunate to live in a very picturesque town that its inhabitants love. Lots of local landmarks and been shooting exclusively in our town for nearly 15 years so have built up a nice reputation/client base.

Just looking to expand on these craft shows which I do rarely but have made several thousand at Christmas ones solely on notecards



Apr 25, 2024 at 12:08 PM
atnpro
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Visited a local art show recently. A guy who was doing Chinese ink painting was busy all the time and got 20 to 30 people lined up to buy his stuff that went from $15 to $25, mostly small simple paintings of a bird or a flower. It seemed that all photographers were struggling to sell anything.


May 13, 2024 at 08:48 AM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


atnpro wrote:
Visited a local art show recently. A guy who was doing Chinese ink painting was busy all the time and got 20 to 30 people lined up to buy his stuff that went from $15 to $25, mostly small simple paintings of a bird or a flower. It seemed that all photographers were struggling to sell anything.


Welcome to photography



May 14, 2024 at 06:43 PM
eyal
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Just wanted to circle back after the July 4th/5th fair. Had great weather and awesome turnout.

I purchased a Canon Pro-Graf 300 and used Red River Ultra Satin 4.0 for 8x10 and matted 11x14 prints. The 8x10s were put into a Clear Bags sleeve with a firm backing. The 11x14s I printed as full sheet then used pre cut mats from Clear Bags as well.

Ended up selling 51 8x10s and 17 matted 11x14s as well as 200 Note Cards (which I have printed elsewhere) and 2 float frame canvases 'off the wall'. Also got 3 online orders after the show.

I also had an easel thing with older matted prints from prior shows that were half off and sold only 2 of those. That is how I used to approach shows with matted 16x20 to 20x30 but now realize the smaller prints are far better options.

It was also great being able to print more 8x10s the morning of day 2 based on what had sold well on day 1.

Overall, it was a very successful show and I hope to do more in the future. I think my small prints easily matched or exceeded what I get from Bay Photo.



Jul 06, 2024 at 03:43 PM
armd
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


eyal wrote:
Just wanted to circle back after the July 4th/5th fair. Had great weather and awesome turnout.

I purchased a Canon Pro-Graf 300 and used Red River Ultra Satin 4.0 for 8x10 and matted 11x14 prints. The 8x10s were put into a Clear Bags sleeve with a firm backing. The 11x14s I printed as full sheet then used pre cut mats from Clear Bags as well.

Ended up selling 51 8x10s and 17 matted 11x14s as well as 200 Note Cards (which I have printed elsewhere) and 2 float frame canvases 'off the wall'. Also got 3 online orders after the
...Show more

Great information. Would you mind sharing how you priced the images, which ones (subjects) sold better, etc. Thanks!



Jul 06, 2024 at 07:29 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Not great information because you fail to say what the prints cost you to make and what you sold them for. Also how much time you spent printing, packaging, and time at the fair selling them.


Jul 06, 2024 at 08:19 PM
chez
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?




Imagemaster wrote:
Not great information because you fail to say what the prints cost you to make and what you sold them for. Also how much time you spent printing, packaging, and time at the fair selling them.


I lose 5 cents for every print I sold…but I’ll make it up in volume. 😊



Jul 06, 2024 at 08:34 PM
eyal
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Prints for shows - most economical way to offer matted prints for sale?


Not including cost of replacement ink as I am still on the original starter pack:

8x10s cost me $1.48 each and sold for $20 each (3 for $50). Cost will go down to $1.03 each with moving to orders of 100 vs 50.

Matted 11x14s cost me $7.46 and sold for $45 each (3 for $100). Cost will go to $5.46 in future.

Time was minimal. Waiting on printer and putting together the 8x10s is trivial. 11x14s took slightly longer but not much.

Subjects won't mean much as I do landscapes in a seaside town so the items that resonate wouldn't necessarily translate anywhere else.

2-day festival 10am to 5pm each day. Grossed over 4k. That includes few large float frame canvas prints and then had several online orders from people who came by. I put a 25% off code for all larger prints.



Jul 06, 2024 at 09:10 PM
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