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Limited Edition Photography

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1. How to promote high-quality photography

For several years, photographic art has become more and more popular, and the market has been growing at a tearing pace. At international auctions, art collectors bid millions for contemporary photographic art. Recently, the international Feuilleton excitedly reported on the record price of $ 4.3M USD for a photograph by Alexander Gursky sold at a Christie’s auction. This is to this day the most expensive photograph ever sold. The following list of record prices for photographic art reveals the intensive market movement.

List of the most expensive photographs

PhotographerPhoto titleYear oof shotPrice in USDYear of sale
Peter LikomPhantom20116,5 Mio.2014
Andreas GurskyRhein II19994,3 Mio.2011
Cindy ShermanUntitled #9619813,8 Mio.2011
Andreas Gursky99 Cent II Diptychon20013,3 Mio.2007
Edward SteichenThe Pond-Moonlight19042,9 Mio.2006
Cindy ShermanUntitled #15319852,7 Mio.2010
UnknownBilly the Kid1879–802,3 Mio.2011
Dmitry MedvedevTobolsk Kremlin20091,75 Mio.2010
Edward WestonNude19251,6 Mio.2008
Alfred StieglitzGeorgia O’Keeffe (Hands)19191,47 Mio.2006
Alfred StieglitzGeorgia O’Keeffe Nude19191,36 Mio.2006

Chart: Nowadays, photographs are sold at prices that were only realised for paintings several years ago. The booming market can be seen in the fact that all top ten sales were made within the previous six years.

The photography collector market is booming. Photography is finally being recognised for the artistic value that it has always been entitled to in the art sector. However, comparing the prices for paintings with those for photographs, there’s still significant potential for development. At the end of 2012, the average price for the ten most expensive photographs amounted to $ 2.55M USD, whereas the average selling price for the ten most valuable paintings amounted to $ 59.14M USD. But the gap is expected to continuously decrease. Apart from the professional collectors’ community, a semi-professional art collectors’ scene is developing to buy, sell and speculate in limited-edition photography. During the last years, more and more discount galleries have focused on “Limited Photography”. Nonetheless, today’s professional photographers have more opportunity than ever before to promote their art works

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© A. Gursky "Rhein 2" One of the most expensive photographs in the world

2. Success by limitation

In the past, was quite difficult for the buyer to estimate the value of a photograph. The reproduction of a photo on a normal print could have been conducted repeatedly and the limitation guaranteed by the artist wasn’t controllable. This significantly aggravated the collector’s buying decision. However, the limited edition photgraphic print is, apart from the artist’s popularity, the most important criteria for the value of the photo and chance of increasing its value.

Today, various forms of limited edition prints are available. Within the international art community, whose profit goes into millions, photographs are being sold as one-of-a-kind. Online discount galleries often scale their prices due to format and carrier material of the reproduced limited edition photograph. In general: The lower the number of limited reproductions the higher the value.

How you can make your own limited edition photography

3. One-of-a-kind is more valuable than a limited edition print

Some online galleries limit the art works to such high numbers of pieces that the effect of an actual limitation, being very important to the collector, cannot be achieved. An edition of more than 100 pieces cannot be called a limitation. A limited edition print that will be reproduced again and again can hardly increase its value. That’s why our customers prefer to keep limited editions short. (Our certification is available for a limitation up to 25 pieces). A French discount gallery limits the photographs up to 750 pieces for additionally selling unlimited photo prints. There will barely be the chance to increase value.

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Illustration: Edition and prospective price are contrary counterparts. In general: The smaller the edition, the higher the prospective revenues.

4. What guarantee of limitation does the client have?

The price for a limited edition fine art print depends on the strict compliance with the limitation. That’s why the guaranteed limitation is an extremely important criteria for the client’s buying decision. In order to facilitate the seller’s promotion and the client’s buying decision XXLPIX is offering a certification service. This ensures the decision on both sides and objectively documents the limitation.
Certified limited editions realise significantly higher prices.

With help of the certification process the artist has the opportunity to proof the edition by the certification of an international premium manufacturer. In return, the collector or art buyer will be ensured to get a limited edition photographic print or even one-of-a-kind. The seller can rely on the status of the art work with help of the included and registered proof of authenticity.

5. Limited Edition Art

Premium reproduction for limited photographs

Today photography melts into high-quality materials and thus creates an exclusive piece of art. Just like the premium market that offers photo prints laminated on alu-dibond and behind acrylic glass, the semi-professional art market tends to more high-quality materials as well. The first-class material impressions and the aesthetic picture melt into a total work of art. Today, there are various forms of reproduction suitable for attractive and limited photographs – only depending on the individual taste, genre and price.

The 5 most attractive forms of reproduction for limited photo editions

Photo print – The classic form of reproduction is still today an important part of modern composite products. As the quality of a photo print cannot be achieved by direct printing. Formerly presented in passe-partout and frames, today this form of reproduction has a minor position in the photo edition sector.

Canvas – The reproduction by canvas is an common form for aesthetic photography. By fixing the canvas on a wooden frame a three-dimensional effect will be created. Its closeness to paintings allows a higher association with art. Especially the gallery framing with a 4 cm wooden frame is suitable for one-of-a-kinds.

Alu-Dibond – The precise and highly technical material has already been a strongly demanded carrier material for photo editions. The high reputation of aluminum being a first-class material and its qualities for direct printing turn the alu-dibond into a perfect carrier for modern photography. Alu-dibond is being used for lamination as well as for direct printing and composite photo products.

Acrylic glass – Is without any doubt the most fashionable carrier material for photo art. Since the development of modern high-glossy has found its way into large format reproduction of limited editions, acrylic glass is a must-have. The art works – printed directly on acrylic glass or laminated on the back – impress by a plasticity emphasised through the acrylic glass. This form of reproduction is absolutely essential for modern edition photography.

Composite products – A photo print laminated on alu-dibond and covered with acrylic glass is not only the most fashionable and expensive form of reproduction. The high quality of this completed piece of art can already be seen by the first look. The production of an edition print having such a high quality can take up to three weeks. The premium sector of the photo art, one-of-a-kind generating millions, are being produced this way. For those who want to set a high-price-position of their art works this way of reproduction is a must-have for limited editions.

You make the decision on which carrier material your limited edition shall be realised. An XXLPIX consultant can support you.

6. Guarantee for buyers by edition certification

With the XXLPIX production certification the buyer receives a lifelong guaranteed documentation of the production process for the “Limited Edition”. The production data will be placed on the back of the photograph and can additionally be accessed in the XXLPIX online database. This guarantee will confirm the reliability of the certificate of authenticity which implies all characteristics of the limited edition – authenticated by XXLPIX. Thus, the buyer won’t just get the artist’s guarantee for limitation but also the guarantee of the producing company.

The certification of the production guarantees the edition and increases the value of your photographs.

The following art work characteristics will be documented on the certificate of production:

  • Title
  • Artist
  • Year
  • Edition
  • Format
  • Form of reproduction
  • Date
  • Production location
  • Edition number

Tutorial: How to create your own limited edition photography

7. Advantages of certificated production for the photographer

Due to the fact that the market for limited edition prints is booming and demand increasing, it is significantly important to differ from mass production or unlimited editions. As only by the certification and documentation of the finally produced edition through the manufacturer, the work of art will, combined with the certificate of limitation, receive the proof that it is worth of being collected and thus doesn’t belong to mass production. In addition XXLPIX vouches for reproduction with museum quality. Within the international photo art community these reproductions represent the highest artistic level.

5 attractive target groups for limited photography

Professional collectors A species of art buyers that can rarely be found in photography. The classic collectors build up a collection and try to complete this – often a life`s mission. Buying and reselling photographs is not their main intention, rather the wish to complete a certain era, style of art or photographs taken by a single artist.

The Gambler Equipped with plenty of money he bids on international auctions in the premium segment of modern photography. Due to the lack of attractive financial investments the trade of modern photography is receiving a constantly increasing amount of money. The gambler buys and sells photographs with the intention of making a profit in the short and mid term.

The Lifestyle Buyer Photography is modern and trendy. In our sophisticated and modern service based society media people have discovered for themselves and their intentions the strong expressiveness of modern photography. The lifestyle buyer’s apartment as showroom for the exclusive taste will today be decorated with limited photography. Prestige, exclusiveness and the desire to separate from the rest of the society are the buying motives.

The Hobby collector Has entered the hype of collecting contemporary photography. He has started with buying limited edition print art in online discount galleries, improves his sense of art and increases his effort by a growing enthusiasm. He is getting more and more interested in smaller editions, far away from the mass production in the web.

The Art Lover A sympathetic collector of limited photography. His decision bases on the personal taste, emotional bond to the artist or intellectual interest.

Who else is collecting limited photography?

In addition to that there are several other target groups buying limited photography. These are among others professional resellers, galleries but also companies, (local) authorities and of course museums.

Your limited edition photography art work

Artistic photography is more popular today than ever. Record prices are being raised at international art auctions every year, and more and more photographers are discovering a steadily growing number of enthusiastic collectors and lovers of modern photography with their works as a one-of-a-kind or limited edition.

XXLPIX supports artists and photographers in the realization of limited art. Through high-quality materials, first-class workmanship and forgery-proof certification of the edition, XXLPIX creates the prerequisite for a future increase in value and the successful marketing of your photography.

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Learn more about limited edition photography

Examples for reproducing modern limited edition photography

Example 1

Photography, XXLPIX® Canvas print
Size 120 x 80 cm , Gallery Frame 4 cm

Print run : 3 copies225 GBP
Certification (unique)29 GBP
Documentation (3 x 12 GBP)36 GBP
Total309 GBP

Example 2

Photography, XXLPIX® Direct print on Alu-Dibond®
Size: 120 x 80, Alu-Dibond White 3 mm

Print run: 3 Copies325 GBP
Certificate (unique)29 GBP
Documentation (3 x 12 GBP)36 GBP
Total390 GBP

Example 3

Photography, XXLPIX Direct print on Acrylic glass®
Size: 120 x 80, Thickness 8 mm

Print run: 3 Copies620 GBP
Certificate (unique)29 GBP
Documentation (3 x 12 GBP)36 GBP
Total685 GBP

Example 4

Photography, XXLPIX print on bound Acrylglas and Alu-Dibond®
Size: 120 x 80, Acrylic glass 3 mm, Alu-Dibond 3 mm

Print run: 3 copies861 GBP
Certificate (unique)29 GBP
Documentation (3 x 12 GBP)36 GBP
Total926 GBP

All prices excluding VAT.

Create limited edition prints from your photography