It’s no secret that most artists will sell giclee limited edition prints of their artwork. Artists do this in order to make their artwork more accessible to the general public and to help keep the lights on in their studios. While there's certainly nothing wrong with limited edition prints, some collectors want artwork that is truly an original one of a kind without any reproductions what so ever. For fine art collectors who want a truly unique high-end photograph, a fine art photographic commission may be the best way to get the exact piece of artwork that you’ve been looking for. This article will explain the ins and outs of commissioned fine art photography. If you are a serious artwork collector, contact me to find out more about my one of a kind fine art photography commissions.
How to Commission Fine Art photography
The first step in commissioning a piece of fine art photography is to find a photographer’s work in which you admire. You can find a good fine art photographer in a variety of ways. A good starting point is to visit a local gallery to see if there is anything that strikes your eye. If you do not find artwork that you like locally, you may consider taking a trip to a city that has a large art community such as New York, Santa Fe, LA, Carmel or San Francisco. Art fairs are another great place to find fine art photographers. Check out “Artfair Calander” for a list of fine art shows around the United States and globe.
Finding a Fine Art Photographer Online
Another place to look for fine art photographers is the internet. Your internet search will go much better if you know the type of print that you are looking for though. For example, if you know that you want a black and white photograph, plug that into your search. If you want a color photograph of the southwest or mountain landscape, plug that into your search. These simple google searches are a good starting place to look for a fine art photographer and don’t require you to leave your home.
One issue with doing an internet search for photography is that there are a lot of photographers out there who call themselves a "fine art photographer" even though they have little or no experience printing and selling their artwork. Taking a photograph is very different from producing a high-end piece of fine art photography. Just because someone is a good photographer, does not mean that they know how to produce a good print of the image or understand various substrates. If you find a photographer online, try to understand as much as you can about their process and the amount of experience that they have in printing their artwork. Read their bio and don’t hesitate to reach out to them to find out more information.
Make sure the photographer is a Professional
Before spending any amount of money on an artwork commission, you need to understand the professionalism of the artist or photographer. Any photographer worthy of a commission should have a deep understanding of their craft and be a full time professional. This will help ensure that your artwork commission goes as smoothly as possible. Choosing a professional fine art photographer will also ensure that your down-payment doesn't just disappear because the photographer is already established, operating a successful business and their reputation is at stake.
How do photography commissions work?
Once you find a photographer, you will need to contact them to inquire about an artwork commission. When reaching out to a photographer, give them as much information as you can about your desired commission as possible. Do you have an idea of how you want the final print to look? If so, include that information in your initial contact. If the photographer has an image that you’d like the commission to be based off of, include that info as well. Alternatively, If you trust the photographer, you can give them full creative license to create your artwork.
In most artwork commissions scenarios, the artist will take a reasonable deposit to begin the art process. Once the artwork is completed, the artist may ask for a second deposit with the final payment due upon artwork delivery. A price and contract will need to be agreed upon by both parties.
Depending on the photographer and the contract, you may get to choose from a variety of images for your final one-of-a-kind print, or the photographer may have full discretion in choosing the image for the commission. This information should be stated in the commission contract.
Fine Art Photography Commission Contracts
A contract should be involved in any artwork commission. The contract should be signed by both parties and outline all of the artwork conditions including the total price, payment schedule and how and when the artwork will be delivered. The contract should also clearly state that the commission is strictly a one of a kind original and that no reproductions will be made. Lastly, the final print size, framing, substrate type and delivery method should also be outlined in the contract.
Average cost of a fine art photography commission
The cost of a fine art photography commission can vary drastically based on subject, location and photographer. The scale of the artwork and substrate that it's printed on will also greatly influence the overall price. Due to the previous statement, there is really no way to provide an average price for a photographic artwork commission. If the photographer has to travel or build a set, these factors will obviously influence the price of the commission. Some photographers will bill their cost in addition to the final print, while others will include those costs within their initial quote. It is important to make sure that the contract clearly states how the expenses will be billed, that way there are no surprises at the end of the project.
To paint a clearer picture, an inexperienced photographer may only charge a few thousand dollars to deliver a commission that may or may not be high quality. A professional photographer with real world shooting and printing experience can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars or more because they understand the value of their work as a one of a kind print. Limited editions help bring down the cost of any given piece of artwork. When a photographer commits to a commission, they need to take into account the fact that they will not receive any additional income from that print which is why a photography commission from an established photographer will cost much more.
One of a kind landscape, wildlife and equestrian photography commissions by Mike Wardynski
If you're in the market for a one of a kind piece of artwork, I’d love to shoot a commission for your home, office or business. I take great pride in my artwork and will undertake your project as if the final print was going to hang in my own home. When you hire me for a commission, I forfeit all production rights of the delivered artwork and destroy all proofs. This leaves you with a truly one of a kind photographic print.
Fine Art Commission Consultation
My artwork commissions include client consultation on the subject, print substrates and framing options. Once the photograph has been captured and processed, I will create a mockup of the final print on your wall with a variety of frame options for you to choose from.
With two decades of experience in the field of photography, I have a deep understanding of technique, light and the overall execution of a fine art photograph. When undertaking any commission, I consider the season, possible changing conditions and the subject matter in order to achieve the best photographic results. I go above and beyond to produce the highest quality artwork for my clients and you can rest assured that I will do the same for your art piece. Using an ultra high resolution camera, I'm able to produce very large prints with incredible quality and detail.
Contact me to discuss your fine art photography commission. I look forward to hearing from you.