A Guide to Collecting Fine Art Photography
Unless you’re a seasoned collector, the whole process of investing in a photograph can be confusing. This is a guide to show the different styles of photography and how to know what will make a beautiful investment piece.
The most common professional photographs you see on a daily basis are what is called commercial photography. These images can be beautiful and/or thought-provoking, so why are they not considered fine art? Simply put, it is because the intent of commercial photography is to sell something. From conception, the very best commercial photography is still made with sales or advertisement as its primary goal.
The other genre of photography we see often is photojournalism. Images created in this genre are typically printed in news publications of varying types. These photographs are solely created to document events realistically and accurately. Like commercial work, many of the resulting images can be attractive, moving and surprising. However, they are not viewed as fine art photography because they must remain as unbiased as possible; therefore, the photographer’s opinions and biases must be removed from it.
The above being said fine art photography can be many different styles! From there, it is up to potential collectors to find the right piece for them.
How Rare is a Piece?
The rarity of an edition is a big consideration when purchasing. The number of photographs produced will drastically drive a price up or down. A collector can expect a small limited edition series to be more expensive than an open edition (unlimited prints).
A potential buyer should also look at the edition number of the piece they’re interested in. As each print is sold and taken off the public market, the price of each subsequent photograph will increase. If one can anticipate the popularity of a photograph (or the artist) from the beginning, then they can buy early and watch the monetary value of their piece rise.
Our Prints & Guarantee of Authenticity
At Couleurs by Réhahn, the quantity of editions is held to a maximum of 15 photographs per size (the gallery produces two sizes: Large 90cm x 60cm and Giga 150cm x 100cm). The most popular and best-selling works are often sold-out or nearly out of stock by the time they reach the secondary markets. The value of editions increases considerably as prices in secondary markets are established by the original buyers.
Because this special printing material (and process) is only available in Europe, all production happens in Germany with completed editions being shipped to the customer directly. As Réhahn’s works are all print and copyright protected, collectors are given Certificates of Authenticity, which include location information of other editions of the same work.
When the first copy of an original large metallic 60x90cm photograph is sold, the starting price will begin at 1500 EURO. Each subsequent photo will then increase in value as the editions become rarer.
For example, the second edition of the same size photograph will sell for 2000€ and will typically increase in increments of 500€ thereafter.
For collector’s editions in size 100x150, the 1st copy will sell for 3000 euro and will usually increase in increments of 1000€ for each subsequent copy. This standard price increase will sometimes shift based on the photograph being sold.
Occasionally, when a photograph is sold at auction the price of the same edition will also increase beyond the auction price for the following copies. The price may also increase for the larger Collector’s Edition based on the speed with which the smaller size sells.
Fine art photography is constantly evolving based on the popularity and rarity of each edition but we hope this explains the value of the investment.