Sorry for the lengthy post. Iíll start with a short summary so you can bail out early if youíre not interested. Iím planning to offer prints for sale for the first time and Iíd like to hear from other photographers about how you decided some of the details of what you would offer. I know there is no right or wrong way to do this. Iím just having trouble making some decisions and Iíd like to know your thoughts.
My background: I did some B&W darkroom printing about 5-6 years ago, but once I figured out I was spending a ton of money printing mediocre (at best) photos, I decided I needed to re-focus my efforts on improving my photography. Since then Iíve taken some photos Iím proud of, but Iíve hardly printed anything. My goal for this year (call it a resolution if you like) was to finally go through the last five years of photographs and start printing the best ones so that I might get them shown somewhere. After struggling with proofs from online print labs for the first half of this year, I decided Iíd have more control and less frustration if I printed at home. Now I have an Epson R3000, Iíve made some test prints, Iíve picked a paper that I plan to stick with, and Iím very excited by the preliminary results.
Before I offer anything for sale, I plan to finalize my proofs on 13x19 paper so Iíll know which images Iím happy with (and so Iíll have a portfolio to show off). The images come from a variety of sources (6, 12, and 21 MP dSLRs and a few 35mm transparencies). I will make sure the quality is at least good enough for nice 12x18 prints or else I wonít sell the image at all. Some can go bigger. I also want to put together a website where the photos can be viewed and probably offered for sale. This is where the questions start.
1. For the prints you offer, do the sizes you list represent the actual image size or the paper size? For example, if I offer a 6x9 image printed on 8.5x11 paper, would you expect that to be described as a 6x9 print?
2. Do you only offer matted prints or do you also sell the print un-matted? I like the idea of selling everything matted, but that means more work for me and I would have to sell them at a higher price to make up for it. I want my prints to be affordable (but not cheap) and I donít want to complicate things with too many options.
3. Do any of you print small sizes at home and have larger prints made at a lab? If so, are the larger prints made with the same ink and paper as your smaller prints? Iíll be using Ilford Gold Fibre Silk at home but my local lab only offers Epson Premium Lustre. Iím not sure how important it is to maintain consistency across the different sizes.
4. Iím also not sure how big I can print and still be satisfied with the quality. It would be expensive to make large test prints of each image to find that limit, but that seems like the right thing to do. How do you decide the biggest sizes to offer?
Please feel free to expand beyond these questions if you have any other advice for someone in my position. I realize this is all very optimistic and I probably wonít sell much, if anything, but Iím trying to plan things as if Iím going to be successful. Donít worry, Iím not going to quit my day job.
Thanks in advance for all your help, and for all the help Iíve received already. I only recently joined this forum, but Iíve learned a lot from reading existing threads over the last few months.