Limited Edition Prints

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Limited Edition Prints

Postby kat180 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:31 pm


This isn't strictly a printing question but Im having trouble finding out just by searching online and thought you guys might be able to help me- as I think many people on here print their own limited editions of photographs and artwork for sale.

I have found out that many places seem to sell limited edition prints in different sizes- my question is, in labeling them, if it is the same image, regardless of size, do they all become part of the same print run?

I have joined a place that wants to sell prints of my work a3 and a2. But say I do, for example, a limited edition of 40 prints of this one image. Would I then print and label 20 a3 prints (1/40- 20/40) and then 20 a2 prints (21/40-40/40)?

Or do I have to separate them out into 2 issues of limited edition prints? And say limited edition of 40 prints in a2 (and label them 1/40 - 40/40) and a limited edition of 30 a3 prints (labelled 1/30 - 30/30)? And if the two sizes are labelled separately this way, would I then say overall there is limited edition of 70 prints?

Sorry if this is confusing! I hope someone can help clarify for me! :)

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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby Kevgermany » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:49 pm

Alain Briot did a lot of tutoriaals on this and most other aspects of selling your work.

His prints are all 'limited editions', but I don't think he's sold out a single limited edition print yet. His limited prints are available in different sizes, and he sets the limit lower, the bigger the print is. Afik, he has a different numbering sequence for each print size. (Makes sense - do you want to pay a lot of money for an A2 limited edition print of which maybe 10 exists, and get it to find it's marked 2 of 510 - the other 500 being A4 versions...?). I think it's really a marketing gimmic. Many of his articles were on his site and luminous-landscape, but he seems to have pulled most of the ones on his site, and has put them on a CD, which is available - for a few dollars, of course. Good stuff, though.

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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby The Crofter » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:15 pm

kat180 wrote:a limited edition of 40 prints of this one image

Be careful about offering limited editions. The problem is that you are legally bound not to produce (sell or give away) ANY further straight prints from that image. You could find yourself in hot water if, in a few years time, you offer another limited edition set. An original purchaser would be justified to sue you -and quite rightly too.

In my mind a limited edition is produced as an investment. The knowledge that only 100 prints of an image (signed and numbered) are in existence ensures that the value should (!) increase over time, probably more likely if you are an established photographer but never say never. As the years progress some copies will be lost or destroyed which further increases the value.

However if you have several similar but not identical images, perhaps from a different viewpoint, then a limited edition from each is in order. I don't feel that different sized prints constitute a "difference" so think you should number the whole run sequentially regardless of size.
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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby Kevgermany » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:48 am

Very good points from Pat.

I think it's important that you are explicit about the scope of the limited edition. If you state up front, x @ A2, y @ A3, z @ A4 of a specific image then everyone knows where they stand. Keeping a register of the print numbers and who they go to also helps with control - unless you intend to produce the whole edition in one print run - expensive, unless you can sell all the prints quickly. Briot prints to order, so in an edition of (say) 300, he may have only printed 100 by the time he gets your order, so you'd end up with number 101. And the whole edition may not be sold/printed. This also complicates things as one print may be from a newer printer than another - so may be slightly different as regards colour, paper etc.

Are we going to get 'collectors' in the future searching for prints from a specific printer/paper combination.....?

I'm afraid the fine art/collector's world is beyond me. I either like something and would hang it, or I don't. An ex's mother had a signed, framed, numbered limited edition Picasso print on her wall - in pride of place. They were all very proud of it. This philistine hated it.... Just as well she's an ex, we'd never agree on art. About the only reason I could see for owning the print was as an investment. Used to drive me nuts looking at it.

Sorry if I've offended anyone, it wasn't intentional but that's the way I feel.

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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby bez » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:02 am

I started limited editions of 50 thinking I could charge more for them (although they're not expensive) and would never be lucky enough to get beyond #10 or so. Now I regret it because two images have exceeded that number, so I can only sell unsigned prints, although this hasn’t affected the price I can charge, or the demand (in fact I have stopped the top seller at #45, and will charge much more for the last 5 [like airplane seats] should anyone specifically want one - so far the Getty Museum hasn't contacted me :lol: :( )

To answer your question I don’t think there are any hard & fast rules, and to some extent you can define the edition in any way you like – ie. a particular size; on a particular paper etc. although as Pat says you should be careful, and quite explicit about what people are buying.
You could always resort to ‘Artist's Proof’ if the edition sells out :roll:
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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby Alexendera » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:19 pm

Strange you didn't got any help from internet.There are so much information on internet about this topic.Search once again you'll definitely get some help.:)
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Re: Limited Edition Prints

Postby Vincent » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:34 pm

Ansel Adams never sold limited editions of his work, the only limitation was on how many prints he could physically produce. Having said that, he never made any compromise on quality, all his prints were produced by himself.

My own way of working is to produce a very small number edition (20 max), value your work and charge accordingly. I release the first five prints (1 - 5) at the set rate, if they sell quickly then I raise the price on the next five (6 - 10). This reassures the first five customers that their investment is good. I increase the price again on the next five prints (11 - 15). Once I have sold fifteen then I sell the next 5 prints for a much higher price, in one case four times the original price.

Don't make the mistake of producing a large edition, this will undervalue your work.
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