Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Pro Business Discussion => Topic started by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 17, 2017, 11:18:43 AM

Title: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 17, 2017, 11:18:43 AM
Ok, not sure if this makes sense, have not encounter it anywhere before, but here it goes:

Say you started selling an edition limited to 50, sold one or 2-3 already... can you decide to re-limit it to, say, 9 (and raise the price accordingly)?

My thinking is that it wouldn't harm the original buyers, as it would make their pieces more valuable. The only problem I see is if one day a buyer of, say 4/9, comes across a print labeled 1/50.

Thoughts? Anyone done this?
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on April 17, 2017, 12:04:46 PM
Ok, not sure if this makes sense, have not encounter it anywhere before, but here it goes:

Say you started selling an edition limited to 50, sold one or 2-3 already... can you decide to re-limit it to, say, 9 (and raise the price accordingly)?

My thinking is that it wouldn't harm the original buyers, as it would make their pieces more valuable. The only problem I see is if one day a buyer of, say 4/9, comes across a print labeled 1/50.

Thoughts? Anyone done this?

Hi Slobodan,

Interesting question. My first feeling is, don't. While I do understand why you'd want to do it, I would hesitate to change the rules during the game, even if it would not hurt the existing buyers. These things tend to develop in unexpected ways, and as I see on Wikipedia, there is possibly a legal risk; "In the United States limited editions are regulated under state consumer protections laws."

While undoubtedly intended to protect against the opposite, i.e. printing more than agreed, I'm not sure if/how the jurisprudence has developed, especially because different States seem to have different laws in this respect.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Otto Phocus on April 17, 2017, 12:07:53 PM
I am not in that sort of business, but is it reasonable to expect that if people won't buy a copy of x/50 that they would decide to buy the same product if it were x/10?  I wouldn't.

I would imagine that if a seller has a x/50 run and only sold 2-3 that there is not that much interest in the product.

But I agree with your concern with an earlier buyer having item 3/50 and another buyer having the same product now labeled 4/10
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: JayWPage on April 17, 2017, 12:12:07 PM
I think one can take issue with the whole idea of how a "limited edition" often plays out in fine art photography. It starts with numbering the print as 1/50 or 1/100 or what ever, unless you have actually printed 50 copies, really you are only indicating your intention at that time to print only 50 copies. I think you can equally say there is a problem if you die after printing only 9 copies and they are numbered 1/50, 2/50, etc. up to 9/50 and in fact they are actually much rarer than indicated.

Wouldn't it much more realistic to just number them as No. 1, no. 2, etc. and state your intention to print only 50? In fact, if there is a chance that you may have to change printers and move to a different ink set at some point in the future before you print the 50 copies, shouldn't you refer to it as an "Open Edition, limited to 50 copies".

But then that wouldn't really be catering to the market would it...
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: DeanChriss on April 17, 2017, 12:13:32 PM
The only problem I see is if one day a buyer of, say 4/9, comes across a print labeled 1/50.

That's one of many things I considered before deciding not to go down the path of limited editions. To go the other direction (increasing the number) lots of people offer a different size, different paper, slightly different processing, etc., to create another "edition", which can have a different maximum number. While that may be legal it seems a bit shady to me, and thwarts the whole idea of something being limited in any meaningful way. I don't think it helps in the situation you describe. You could make another edition with only 9 prints maximum, but with the other edition still out there with copies left to sell I'm not sure how a price increase could be justified.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 17, 2017, 01:12:05 PM
... You could make another edition with only 9 prints maximum, but with the other edition still out there with copies left to sell I'm not sure how a price increase could be justified.

As Jay mentioned, the thing is that there were never 50 copies printed (well, in my case), just a promise there won't be more than that.

Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 17, 2017, 01:19:43 PM
I am not in that sort of business, but is it reasonable to expect that if people won't buy a copy of x/50 that they would decide to buy the same product if it were x/10?  I wouldn't.

I would imagine that if a seller has a x/50 run and only sold 2-3 that there is not that much interest in the product...

Different markets. Thus different scarcity preferences, among other things. Say one edition was intended for the art-fair crowd, which is defined by geography, local purchasing power, demographics, etc. And another edition (rarer) is for, say, a world-wide, upscale online platform.

Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Stephen Ray on April 17, 2017, 01:43:29 PM
Did you initially print 50 and number them or are you really producing editions of one-offs? What exactly are the attributes defining your edition of 50?
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BrownBear on April 17, 2017, 02:08:25 PM
Interesting question.  I talked it over with a painter friend who makes an honest (and good!) living with his brushes, including not only large commissions, but original works and prints.

He has in fact re-limited certain print editions that didn't sell well.  But after lots of consulting with his agent and several marketing specialists and brokers in the art world.  He handled it with a carefully worded and attractive "letter" to the original buyers on high grade card stock, telling them that in fact their #3 of 50 was now #3 of 10.  The point of the card stock was so that it could be included in the framing behind the print by the owner, a form of verification of the new numbering.  By his account all owners have been delighted.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 17, 2017, 02:33:28 PM
Did you initially print 50 and number them or are you really producing editions of one-offs? What exactly are the attributes defining your edition of 50?

No, there were never 50 copies printed. What defined an edition of 50 is a mark on the back of the print as x/50. I often verbally explained to buyers that it means the promise of not more than 50, and that, in practice, it might be much less, in case I stop printing in the future, for whatever reason. All of my limited editions were either large-format canvas, aluminum or plexi prints, and printing immediately all 50 would be prohibitively expensive (e.g., an aluminum edition of, say, 36"x48" would cost about $17K-$18K to print)
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Wayne Fox on April 17, 2017, 03:08:50 PM

Wouldn't it much more realistic to just number them as No. 1, no. 2, etc. and state your intention to print only 50? In fact, if there is a chance that you may have to change printers and move to a different ink set at some point in the future before you print the 50 copies, shouldn't you refer to it as an "Open Edition, limited to 50 copies".


When you label a print 1/50, etc. you are stating your intentions to produce just 50, and doing it in a way which is transparent and non debatable.  I”m not sure how you sell a print labeled 1, and then also make some type of statement that you only intend to print 50.  Why not just label it 1/50?

Labeling simply by the number printed offers no “value” proposition to the buyer.  And in fact, the two terms “open” edition and “limited” edition are polar opposites.  you can’t have a limited open edition.  It would also be difficult to change an open edition to limited edition. 

I’ve struggled with this as well, since the entire concept of limited editions seems artificial, yet quite accepted. (and created in the world of non photographic art).  If you don’t offer limited edition work, most art shows and festivals won’t accept you.

I see no issue changing the limit as long as all the current owners are notified and supplied documentation as to the new status of their purchased piece.  I'm puzzled by the logic, but I have on one occasion been questioned by a buyer about purchasing a piece and making sure it was the last piece produced ... so even though a few were sold, his would be labeled 5/5.  I thought about it, but the math didn’t make any sense, because he wasn’t willing to pay enough to offset the future sales potential of the piece.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BrownBear on April 17, 2017, 04:00:13 PM
I left out one more important point from my successful painter friend:

Reducing a "release" comes with a peril.   In fact he's only done so twice and regrets both.

His reasoning? 

Unsold prints in archival storage are an investment against eventual discovery and demand. As his "value" has gone up over the years, so have his prices. He reports significant contacts from clients in search of particular prints from the past. He's only too happy to have them in his archives, ready for contemporary sales. Sales of course made under his contemporary pricing structure. He's currently getting 10x what his earlier prints fetched, and only too happy to sell old prints at current rates. In his final words "If collectors are going to profit from the increased worth of my work, why shouldn't I?"
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Stephen Ray on April 17, 2017, 06:26:31 PM
Some of my personal rational on Limited Editions -

1) Why the edition number?
If I were the artist, my number would be rather few. I don’t have 13 galleries to justify 950 plus 50 artist proofs. If I did, I would reevaluate how I arrived at 1000 in the first place;-)

2) What exactly is the product description on the website or in my handouts?
If I were the artist, my edition would be a single print product. A different print product would be a different edition. 

3) Size(s)? How many of the edition are small, medium, large?
If I were the artist, my edition would only be available in a finite number of the separate sizes.

4) Is print pricing “tiered” or incremental? How is this calculated?
If I were the artist, my edition would be priced incrementally whereas tiered charts present unjustified price leaps.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Cornfield on April 22, 2017, 05:29:17 AM
I think issuing limited edition prints is purely for the photographer's ego.  There may be a select group of photographers in the world who's work is sufficiently in demand by buyers and collectors to justify producing editions.  I doubt any buyers of prints from an average photographer/seller takes any notice of edition numbers.

If a photographer is prepared to produce a limited number of prints (printed in one batch) and then destroy the original file, there may be some merit in this.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Farmer on April 22, 2017, 06:18:33 AM
A different perspective.

I am a buyer of art.  Photos, graphic prints, embellished graphic prints, original paintings, and sculptures.

Scarcity of an item does impact its value in terms of the marketplace, but also for the purchaser (it's nice to know you have either the only one or one of just a few).  Not everyone feels that way, but if buyers of art are honest then anyone beyond a poster has some ego factor involved (and that's not a negative).

So I pay a certain price for a photo, or a graphic print - I pay more for an embellished version (which realistically is unique because no two embellishments will be identical).  I pay more if these are limited editions (and the degree of limit affects that, too).  I pay more for original works and the most for unique original works (non-unique original works include, for example, my two Nanimal sculptures that just turned up - they are hand produced but based on an original moulding but limited editions - in a way, they're a little like embellished works but higher on the chain).

So, re-numbering?  I wouldn't do it.  It affects the provenance of the work (because it may call into question the different numbering of two pieces which otherwise appear to be the same) and that tends to devalue all of them.  What I would consider is making a new edition, much more limited, that is valuably different in some way.  Perhaps a higher quality substrate or some embellishment.  That provides you with a higher value item if you believe there is a market for it without muddying the waters for the already sold pieces.

If I were a collector of your work and had the lesser value item, I may be tempted to "upgrade" or simply add the higher value one, too.  Once people have 3 or more of an artist/photographer, it's reasonable to say they're collecting it and as a seller you can leverage that to encourage them to grow that collection (rather than venture somewhere else).
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 22, 2017, 08:26:23 AM
I think issuing limited edition prints is purely for the photographer's ego...

I appreciate the sentiment. However, 99% of art fairs stipulate that prints have to be limited editions. Furthermore, scarcity and value (or perception of) are known concepts in economics. And, as Phil demonstrated in the post above, (some) buyers do pay attention.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BrownBear on April 22, 2017, 12:13:11 PM
If I were a collector of your work and had the lesser value item, I may be tempted to "upgrade" or simply add the higher value one, too.  Once people have 3 or more of an artist/photographer, it's reasonable to say they're collecting it and as a seller you can leverage that to encourage them to grow that collection (rather than venture somewhere else).

That's an extremely valuable insight not only about serious collectors, but also a source of inspiration and strategy for marketing.

We're somehow more likely to buy paintings or sculpture than photos.  I've never quite sorted why that would be when we value photography so much. Saying that, we have one particular painter we especially like.  To the point that we have 14 of his pieces on the wall.  Our favorite sculptor suffers in comparison, as we have only 4 of his works.

But here's the point- Both make sure that we are among the first to see their newest work.  As marketers they know we're more likely to buy, even if we already own "lots" of their work.  They'd have our attention if they showed up with limited edition prints or castings. But unlimited reproductions?  Meh.  Maybe for Christmas gifts or something, but we wouldn't be displaying them.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: calindustries on April 25, 2017, 01:28:27 PM
This is the tricky part of photography, and more-so if you are working digitally. Back when I was wet printing it was obviously harder to "exactly" replicate, especially when there was a fair amount of dodge/burn/toning being done. In fact, the way I was taught to edition back in art school was to do ALL the printing and then go through and, obviously weed out any print that is different (and I was taught that ANY difference was unacceptable, ever so slight). THEN you could mark your edition all at once.

This get's much more muddied in digital age when most of your post work is done before you push it through your printer (or digital-C print, etc) and make it much easier to get a homogenous group of prints, and make it much easier to go back and replicate prints without as much work.

That being said, I think that an edition is an edition, completed up front, regardless of the cost (and sorry, as much as this is a financial burden, I don't think an intended edition is an edition until all prints are done and signed off on).

As a majority of my work is on the commercial/editorial side and not in prints, I don't come across this issue very often myself any longer. I do, however, when selling prints that are not editioned sign them as A/P (artists proof). I know it doesn't mean much, but I think it gives the buyer a sense that it came through my studio and has met my approval.



When you label a print 1/50, etc. you are stating your intentions to produce just 50, and doing it in a way which is transparent and non debatable.  I”m not sure how you sell a print labeled 1, and then also make some type of statement that you only intend to print 50.  Why not just label it 1/50?

Labeling simply by the number printed offers no “value” proposition to the buyer.  And in fact, the two terms “open” edition and “limited” edition are polar opposites.  you can’t have a limited open edition.  It would also be difficult to change an open edition to limited edition. 

I’ve struggled with this as well, since the entire concept of limited editions seems artificial, yet quite accepted. (and created in the world of non photographic art).  If you don’t offer limited edition work, most art shows and festivals won’t accept you.

I see no issue changing the limit as long as all the current owners are notified and supplied documentation as to the new status of their purchased piece.  I'm puzzled by the logic, but I have on one occasion been questioned by a buyer about purchasing a piece and making sure it was the last piece produced ... so even though a few were sold, his would be labeled 5/5.  I thought about it, but the math didn’t make any sense, because he wasn’t willing to pay enough to offset the future sales potential of the piece.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Wayne Fox on April 28, 2017, 01:31:24 AM

That being said, I think that an edition is an edition, completed up front, regardless of the cost (and sorry, as much as this is a financial burden, I don't think an intended edition is an edition until all prints are done and signed off on).

While I agree that in principle this is what the term sort of implies, and while it sounds good in theory, the idea of printing all of the prints of an edition up front is both economically and logically a non starter, unless you want to sell very small editions. this creates a new challenge of having to be incredibly prolific if you want to have any success because then your images sell out quickly. As mentioned if you want to participate in any art festivals or other venues (which work with artists of all mediums) they generally require your work be limited edition. 

Printing hundreds of prints before you even know if the public will agree with your opinion regarding desirability would be incredibly expensive, and then storing perhaps thousands of prints ... not sure how you would do that.

There seems to be an illusion that this is the creation of photographers, but the concept of limited editions is something that is widespread in the entire art world, including painters, sculptors and most other art mediums.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BrownBear on April 28, 2017, 11:59:37 AM
Printing hundreds of prints before you even know if the public will agree with your opinion regarding desirability would be incredibly expensive, and then storing perhaps thousands of prints ... not sure how you would do that.

That was the dilemma of my painter friend setting out on his career. He does small editions (20) but is incredibly prolific. So he has ended up sitting on LOTS of prints for a lot of years.  And having a whole lot of money tied up in them.

As I said before, he has simply raised the price of his stored past editions in pace with his current runs.  And they continue to sell, even increasing in pace.  There are so many now that he stores them in two large oak map cabinets.  Very nice, BTW.

He has brass plaques labeling the two map cabinets now. They're named Piggy Bank One and Piggy Bank Two.  He's looking forward to the day there's a Piggy Bank Three.

He made a lifetime career commitment to his painting.  He recognizes that he won't be painting at the same pace in old age, but is counting on the Piggy Banks to help support his declining years.  Seems that the commitment part is certainly working out for him.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: leeonmaui on May 18, 2017, 08:04:36 PM
I have been in the fine art business for 20 years.
I have handled both limited edition prints and original works of art.

Each limited edition you release should be accompanied by a disclosure, many publisher make a certificate of authenticity to satisfy this need, as long as the leagally required information is included in the certificate, this would normally be ok. Selling limited editions is some states require a disclousre, this is to protect the buyer and to fully express and inform them of what they are purchasing. Some states do not.
At any rate publishers us various methods to define the body or run of an edition.
Changing the limited edition run from 50 to 10 or any other amount is not something that would be considered normal or proffesional.
Issuing a fancy card stock letter to the collectors that bought a signed and numbered x/50 which has now been conveted to a x/10 or x/5 or x/1000 or whatever is most likely illegal in the context of a courtroom.
It would be ok to run a small edition of artist proofs and release this as AP x/10 or whatever (generally 10% of a print run can be reserved as artists proofs, but there is no fixed amount)

Youre really better of just continuing the edition of 50 and moving on.

If you want to test the waters on a limited edition, it is far better to release a small body of artists proofs say ten pieces labeled AP 1/10- AP 10/10 then there is no harm done to the regular edition or your collectors or your reputation as a publisher.
You could then release a regular edition in almost any size you wanted.
A typical disclosure includes this information:
Title
Artist name
Size of the print
Media
Printed at
Printed on
Year released
Clarification of signature IE: hand signed by the artist, and where it is signed, front back left right corner etc
Numbering of the edition
Number of artist proofs
Number or printers proofs
Number of HC
Number of other designated pieces
Total number of pieces in the edition
Whether any other editions of this piece exist and what they were
Whether the piece has been used in any format such as licensed matirials or advertising or promotional print matter for the artist.
Address of the publisher
The required information is fairly inclusive and legally binding.


At any rate, thats my take on it.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Deardorff on May 28, 2017, 05:18:20 PM
I believe what you want to do is fine. Contact previous buyers and let them know their 1/50 will remain One of Ten as you will not be printing past the 10. No problem with numbering and the certificate can be included with the prints sold.

Many reasons to quit printing an edition. Fatigue, health, just plain tired of printing the darned thing. Whatever it is you have no obligation to print the full 50 and handling it this way only makes sense - as long as you don't go back later and decide to pring 40 more once the image suddenly gets hot in the market.

Or, you can keep the 1/50 and just quit printing more after the first ten and say nothing. A certificate/letter on the numbering compared to the total printed makes sense. If nothing else keeping the same numbering and not finishing while keeping quiet leaves you the option of re-interpretation of the image later to finish the edition. If Ansel Adams had printed Moonrise as a limited edition would we have ever seen the stark and graphic dark sky editions he printed as he progressed with the image over the years?

Worst case would be to become another Thomas Kinkade where a "limited edition" can be more than 33,000 prints. Every size, surface treatment, etc he would put as a "limited edition" and number accordingly. A scam on the purchasers as your 18 x 33 print was an edition while your neighbors 17x32 was another "edition".

What you are looking at is much more honest.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: leeonmaui on June 01, 2017, 04:06:23 AM
Aloha,
No no no,
Deardroff is completely wrong!
When you release an image in a limited edition format, you are bound to that release.

You can re- release more prints in different format, one that could be reasonably discerned as different by a lay person, re releasing an image in a different size or media is an example...
But simply changing the numbering and informing your collectors that you have done this is at best dumb and at worst illegal.

Anyway the simplest thing to do is just only print what is called for in the original numbering scheme and move on with it...
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BobShaw on June 01, 2017, 10:11:28 PM
Printing hundreds of prints before you even know if the public will agree with your opinion regarding desirability would be incredibly expensive, and then storing perhaps thousands of prints ... not sure how you would do that.
Completely agree. Silly economics in a digital world.
The famous Australian photographer Ken Duncan produces limited editions but customers can buy any size. If they decide that they want a bigger size later then they can return the edition they have which is then destroyed. So printing a mass of the same size to possibly deteriorate is just bad business.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Stephen Ray on June 02, 2017, 02:37:26 AM
Maybe consider the following scenario…

Photographer decides upon a particular image for a print product to offer in a limited edition of 1000 and begins the process of proofing production prints in their various sizes of 50cm, 100cm, and 150cm. These become genuine artist proofs and there may be many, say 50.

1) Photographer orders approx 1000 50cm prints (less the number of earlier artist proofs) which conveniently fit on 3 rolls of 50 inch FujiFlex from the photo lab. Photographer receives a tremendous cost saving benefit due to economy of scale. 

2) Photographer devotes time to sign and number ALL the prints while they are still on the roll(s). (Good time to also host a “release party” for the occasion.)

3) Photographer stores the rolls in a safe place and declares there now exists a signed and numbered bona fide limited edition. Photographer may go to such length to get the edition notarized and insured.

4) When a so-called “collector” purchases a size larger than the 50cm, the original 50cm with a particular number is destroyed and a new, larger print is produced and is signed and numbered accordingly accompanied with a C.O.A. I know some collectors request or demand particular edition numbers in a particular size and sometimes with a personalized C.O.A. and often with particular framing. In the meantime, many of the readily available 50cm prints are flying off the shelves of the gallery(s) and website due to their relatively low price of “collectible” acquisition and the convenience of packaging which is rolled in a custom tube ready for a shopping bag or shipping service. 

The 3 rolls of material was about the least costly of this photographer’s investment. An extravagant C.O.A. with a holographic component and required legalities, marketing efforts, gallery display space, frames, packaging, etc., could easily cost much more than the print itself. The print is only a certain part of the limited edition “product.” 

Therefore, I believe it is feasible for a photographer to invest in as little as a single roll of premium material and print an entire, carefully conceived limited edition by themselves in various sizes and be done with the print production. Meanwhile, be ready to move on to the next prospective image venture and learn from any previous merchandising dance.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, having a true, signed-by-the-artist edition could be considered money in the bank for the artist’s company and / or heirs in the event of the artist’s death. If printing one-offs to fulfill an edition, where would the artist’s signature now come from? A photoshopped signature could be a legal mark but would the print have the same perceived value as one with an original signature by the artist?

IMO, it’s never been easier or cheaper to produce A LOT of very good prints.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: framah on June 02, 2017, 12:45:56 PM
Interesting that some of you seem to think just because you decide to have a LE of 1,000 prints that you need to print all 1,000 of them  at one time.

With the digital printing process, you only need to print what ever you sell. Unlike the old days of offset lithography where all 1,000 HAD to be printed at the same time, this isn't necessary with todays technology.

The file doesn't degrade so the 1,000th print is the same quality as the first print.
You can still have a LE quantity of 1,000 but only need to print as the need arises.

In the old days, you used to say" It's a million seller!!! I have a million of  'em in the cellar!!! :o :o


As to the OP, personally, i don't think it is a good idea to change the size of the LE. All this does is to teach you not to be so optimistic about how good your work is and not put overly large numbers to it. Plus, it sends the message to your customers that you aren't as popular as you or they thought you are.

"Sorry, I overnumbered the edition and have only sold 15 out of 100 in the last 5 years so now i'm just going to lower that pesky number so what is out there is worth more!!"

Yeah, not really helping your image.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: BobShaw on June 02, 2017, 07:21:14 PM
The file doesn't degrade so the 1,000th print is the same quality as the first print.
You can still have a LE quantity of 1,000 but only need to print as the need arises.

That certainly works for me as I produce a file. The issue seems to be for a lot of people that they don't actually have a file. They print out of Lightroom or Photoshop or something and through particular nuances the prints are perhaps not the same.

I did take on board what Stephen Ray said about the legacy value of the reproduced prints, but would still print as required, especially if the limit is large.

Print processes are constantly improving is one reason.
In answer to the question though, i think re-limiting is a bad idea.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Stephen Ray on June 02, 2017, 11:16:12 PM
Quote
The file doesn't degrade so the 1,000th print is the same quality as the first print.

Not necessarily true.

If the photographer artist choses to produce one-offs over time to eventually get to 1000, what happens when the print paper company decides to cease production of the media at print number 100/1000 or the print machine manufacturer changes ink formulations or the printing person makes a serious mistake when using color management or rip/print settings or the print provider is altogether changed at some point? The digital file is somewhat tantamount to printing plates but try taking plates to a different press and pressman at a different time in the future.

A pet peeve of mine – Some photographer artists seem to want to “improve” the file over time. Imaging the Beatles deciding to tweak the mix of Sgt. Pepper every few vinyl disks as they rolled off the assembly line. First, George Martin and the record company wouldn’t have it. Second, the original release of the album would not be considered as the edition. It would be considered as individual editions of the tweaks. Yes, the individual tweaks could be highly collectable someday but what is one’s current or future level of “likes?”

The file is not the edition nor the product. The prints are part of the product and it’s logical and cost effective to print the entire edition over a single duration.

I used the edition number of 1000 because I personally know of only one landscape photographer who successfully issues and sells works of 1000 in fairly large sizes. IMO, a more realistic limited edition number for a landscape photographer with limited exposure would be from 16 to 32 prints in a large size and even that could be a tough sell but the work could, possibly, be truly collectable. With more exposure, the artist’s editions could grow.

To be sure, the business models are all over the map and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to what becomes a hit or miss.

Again, the print itself is probably the least expense of the product.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: GrahamBy on June 09, 2017, 06:18:50 AM
Here's another way of looking at it: the point of limited editions in photography is to produce artificial scarcity, but scarcity is always relative to demand. The point is to sell the idea "this will one day be valuable because more people will want one than there are to go around."

By re-limiting the edition, you are announcing to the world that in fact, at the moment, not so many people want one.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Otto Phocus on June 09, 2017, 08:57:52 AM
This thread has taught me one thing -- don't pay attention to limited editions as evidently, from some of the comments posted here, there should be no expectation that the photographer will/should adhere to the limitations as advertised.

If it sells well, the photographer can always just change the size slightly and redo the "Limited Edition".  Sort of an unlimited Limited Edition.  ???

If it does not sell well, the photograph can always lower the number of the limitation to make the non-selling product appear to be more rare.  "congratulations on being one of the few people to buy my photograph.  I am lowering the number of the editions to match the lower demand so we can both feel better about the low sales.  Instead of selling 1/10th of my editions, by the use of math and whiteout I can now claim that I sold 90% of my editions.  But please continue to consider my photograph a good investment. "   ;D

I don't think that was the original intent behind Limited Editions. I thought the intent behind Limited Editions was to control the supply independent of the demand. If as the demand increases, the supply increases, it ain't no Limited Edition any more.

Maybe in the digital world the term Limited Edition is obsolete?  Especially if it is now printed on demand. As previously pointed out there may be no difference between print 1 and print 10,000.

An educational thread to be sure.  I will make sure to look thrice the next time I see a limited edition even if it is numbered.
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Wayne Fox on June 11, 2017, 11:14:57 PM
All limited editions should be accompanied by a non ambiguous statement in writing regarding the exact terms of the edition. It should explicitly state what the edition consists of including sizes and number, finishes etc. And in fact the edition should be truly limited in nature in some manner which offers some value to the buyer. (whether perceived or real is another discussion) Good practice also suggests keeping a record of what has been sold to provide solid provenance of the limited nature of the work.

Certainly there are many flexible items, i.e. whether the edition is limited to a single size prints with the option to produce another edition of different sizes, whether the edition is limited to a single production technique with additional editions from other techniques etc.  However all of these "conditions" dilute the concept and I would think most buyers would see through it.  There have been a couple of big time law suits because photographers produced work using different techniques that were dismissed in court.  I'm not sure what the original terms of the edition were, but even though the photographers "won" the legal suit, their ethics are pretty questionable.

I think most simply limit the number of prints regardless of size or finish to a preset number, which makes it quite clear to the buyer what they are getting.

One pretty grey area is excluding smaller prints and other uses such as in books etc.  I think many exclude these items,  as long as the terms are stated clearly the buyer certainly was informed.

I believe most photographers who create limited edition work honor their conditions.  Of course, most are never sold out. Many create limited editions because they are trying to get into art festivals and most art festivals require it.

As I said before, limited editions are a creation of the overall art market.  Photographers are just trying to play in the same playground
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Rand47 on June 13, 2017, 10:37:58 PM
Here's a shaggy dog story about perceived value.  It might not seem as though it has relevance to this discussion, but I think it does.

My brother once had a very nice redwood dog house he no longer needed.  He put it out in front of his home with a sign that said, "Free redwood dog house."  It sat there for a couple of weeks, no takers.  So, he went out and put a sign on it that said, "Redwood dog house, $200.00."  The next morning it was gone.  Someone had stolen it.

Why not leave the edition at 50 and raise the price anyway.  The perceived value goes up with the increased price.  The previous buyers got a bargain.  You have no issue to deal with.

Rand
Title: Re: Re-Limiting a Limited Edition?
Post by: Deardorff on July 03, 2017, 12:09:59 PM
Since you have already started, do you know who purchased the first few prints? (if not - why not?)

Contact those purchasers and provide each with a certificate stating the 1/50 has been revised and their image is now 1/9(or your new number).

Then hold to that number and include the explanation and certificate with each of the nine you produce.

If the image suddenly takes off in value don't go back on your modified number of prints.