Why are Prints so Expensive!!??
You may have been in a coffee shop or visitor center somewhere and inquired about the selling price of a photograph displayed, and been a little shocked at the answer you received. I know I've experienced moments where my heart seemed to skip when I look at a price tag in any fine art gallery across the US. You may also notice that even not so well known photographers will have their prints priced well into the hundreds or thousands, and you may wonder "Who do they think they are?". However truthfully there is a reason why photographic prints are priced so outrageously, and trust me, as a photographer it is the last thing I want to do for business to put the selling price on one of my images so high that no one in their right mind would buy one.
So why are photographic prints so expensive? Well....... To start with, prints themselves are expensive. Usually high quality prints are printed physically onto the surface of metal, canvas, or special paper that has actual crystal that has been ground up into the actual grain of the paper. All of these materials can be somewhat expensive... AND expensive to print on. I know that even from the cheapest supplier I have found, the average print might cost anywhere from $50 - $250 without shipping.... Which brings us to the next part... Shipping.
Shipping large prints is expensive as it is, however sometimes fragile prints that can easily be scratched or damaged are shipped in wooden crates or special packaging, or by special carriers. As you can imagine this can be a little bit more expensive than standard shipping.
But aren't these photographers still making a fortune off their prints? Oh man I wish... the simple answer is no. The majority are not. The reason is less to do with the cost of prints and more to do with the price point that someone will actually be whiling to buy a print.