Participant of the Park City Kimball Arts Festival This weekend the main street is surrounded by pictures and works made of different materials.
And just as they see this variety of creations, they also see a wide variety of prices, starting as low as $15 and topping out at over $12,000.
Putting a monetary value on artwork is a tricky aspect of the business since artisans often spend hours planning, purchasing materials, and creating their works.
In some cases, those hours also include traveling to far-flung locations to find their subjects, which local fine art photographer Richard D. and Patrick Brooks Brandenburg do
Pick starts determining his prices, which range from $20 for unframed notecard-sized works to $1,800 for a wall-sized landscape, when he thinks about his audience.
“There’s a thin slice of people who are interested in your work, and that’s just the way it is,” Pick said. “But the (group) of people who buy my works usually consists of people who have had similar experiences as I have when I make my pictures. Something about my images tell a story or have some kind of emotional response to them.
Much of Pick’s work is done in the field, whether in national parks or other open spaces.
“I value the experiences I have more than the by-products of those experiences, which are my images,” he said. “But when I think about prices, I definitely look at the costs I have — paper, ink and framing, which is one of my biggest expenses, because I put a lot of emphasis on presentation.”
On top of that, Pick said he makes educated guesses about how to price his works, which are limited editions, based on the images.
“In my field, creative photography is priced higher than what I would call representational photography,” he said. “My landscapes are on the more creative side. I love birds and do bird photography, and I would say they’re more representational. So I don’t charge a high price, because someone with really good technique and knowledge can take them. The bottom line for me is my buyers are the time I put into my work. And I hope the effort is appreciated.
Pick also bears in mind that there may be some people who are moved by the image, but cannot afford to buy the work for $250 or $600.
“So I like to have some small things, notecards, small prints or unframed works,” she said. “Notecards are usually $20 notecards and unframed pieces start around $100.”
Brandenburg, like Pic, relies on fairness when pricing his works.
“There is market value and precedent,” he said. “You have to respect what other people working in the same field are doing, because you can belittle them. And you can’t belittle yourself. You have to respect yourself and your artwork.”
Brandenburg’s prices start around $650 for unframed and signed works, and this has a lot to do with the care he takes in creating his work.
“Especially with photography, you have to do limited editions, more of a kind of business that’s not mass-produced,” he said. “You have to have different sizes of works that attract people. I always appreciate it when people buy my art.
In keeping with the idea of working in the field and respecting others, Brandenburg wants its prices to be stable and fair.
“I want to be honest with people, and have them trust me that they’re getting a good deal,” he said. “I don’t do very small pieces, because I don’t want someone who buys a $5,000 picture to think they have access to the same picture for $200 or $100. And when I sell a framed piece, I add the cost I paid for the frame.