Investing in Limited Edition Photography
Top 5 Reasons to Invest in Original Limited Edition Photography Prints
A photograph captures a single moment: unique, temporary, and irreplaceable. The aim of photography, however, is not to hoard these moments, but to share them with the public—galleries, collectors, and anyone who appreciates fine art.
There is much stress placed in the art world on the importance and authenticity of one-of-a-kind works. For photographers and collectors alike, however, the scarcity and expense of singular pieces can be detrimental and off-putting. There is in fact much to be said for and many benefits of creating and collecting limited edition prints, which combine both desirable rarity and affordability.
Aaron Reed Limited Edition Collections
As a family-owned and operated business you will always work with me (the artist) directly, never disconnected office staff, wholesale distributors or pushy gallery directors. I believe in offering the highest quality photographic art available in the world today, while continuously going above and beyond for collectors of my work, providing exceptional and personal customer service. Whether you are simply looking for a single showpiece to transform a room or have a grand vision to fill your home or office with the world's finest photographic art, my level of dedication to you never wavers.
Here in my online galleries, you will find stunning limited edition nature and landscape photography collections showcasing the beauty of our natural world. From the unbridled wonder of trees to the repetition of abstracts found in nature and much more, I am confident you will find inspiring and uplifting art you will fall in love with.
Keep reading below to learn about the top 5 reasons to buy original, limited edition photography direct from the artist!
What Is a Limited Edition Photography Print?
As opposed to completely unique pieces, limited edition photography prints offer quantity without sacrificing quality. Many photographers will not sell one-off pieces, but instead offer a special run of identical prints, produced only once and with a specified number of copies.
Limited edition prints can usually be identified by information placed on the matte of a framed piece or on the back of an unframed or un-matted piece. Each limited run has a set number of pieces that will be made, and each print in a run is marked by its place in the printing order. If you see 25/30 written on a photo, it is the 25th print in an edition of thirty pieces. If you see 196/250, it is the 196th in a run of 250.
Accompanying this information, one will usually find the artist’s signature and a title, if the photo has one. These identifying marks help one differentiate a limited edition from an unlimited run, where pieces are printed according to demand with no set quantity, and various other types of reproductions where the artist takes little or no part in the printing process.
Limited editions tend to be printed in quantities of 500 or less, and once the last one is completed, no more will ever be made. To ensure this, the materials used to create the edition will often be destroyed. Limited edition prints thus maintain a degree of rarity, and investing in fine art photography prints can be rewarding to both artist and collector.
Because they are produced in some quantity, limited editions do not command the exospheric prices of unique works. The general rule is, the larger the print run, the less expensive each piece in that run will be. This makes limited prints accessible to a wider variety of collectors who will be more likely to purchase pieces.
Printing in quantity also means that different size prints of the same piece can be offered. Size tends to correlate with cost, so printing several different sizes further drives accessibility and affordability. Novice and hobbyist collectors will be able to afford the smaller prints, while professional galleries and dedicated collectors will have the option to obtain much larger pieces.
This diversity is also of value to the artist. The more people you can interest in your work, the more publicity and recognition you will get. This can drive sales of future works and help you get discovered by critics, museums, and other fine art forums and orgs. Plus, selling 500 less expensive works can easily offset the costs of printing them and meet or surpass the sum you could have accrued through the sale of a single unique piece.
The popularity garnered by producing limited edition runs can have positive effects on the value of the prints over time.
Even with upwards of 500 pieces being made, many who want these works will not be able to obtain one before they are all gone. If a photographer becomes more popular as time goes on, their early work will become more and more valuable. What might have been purchased originally for a few thousand dollars can end up being valued at tens of thousands a few years later. This means that for both photography lovers and anyone looking for sound investment strategies, limited edition prints can be a wise and easy option.
Supporting the Artist Directly
Limited edition prints also have a number of advantages over other, more ubiquitous reproductions. Reproductions are often handled by printing businesses, graphic design companies, or other publishers and art distributors. They are given some form of master print and handle duplication and retail on their own, with a portion of the proceeds going to the artist after sale.
Limited edition prints, however, are created in part or in whole by the artist themselves. Photography prints might even be made by hand in the darkroom by the original photographer.
Purchasing a limited edition print, thus, brings the buyer into closer contact with the artist and is a more direct form of supporting their work. This can make collecting a more authentic process and shows dedication and respect to the work and its creator.
Wider Variety of Mediums
Creating more than one version of a piece also means more freedom in the way the final product is presented. There are hundreds of unique ways to print a photograph, and with a limited run multiple different methods can be used according to the tastes of both artists and clients.
Aluminum, platinum, and various types of archival papers can be used to print photographs. Each has its own look, with colors, textures, and sharpness all being expressed in subtle different ways. Papers are especially diverse, offering various types of gloss and matte coatings which change the way prints respond to light and how they look in different spaces and from different angles.
Each collector will have their own ideas about which medium looks best, ages best, and best expresses the original vision of the artist. Limited edition print runs allow photographers to cater to these different preferences and explore the various characteristics and personalities brought out by these media.
Finally, limited runs are, in many ways, more collectable than individual pieces. A one-off piece means there is one work to collect, and you either have it or you don’t. The numbering scheme of limited editions means there is a measure of excitement and intrigue surrounding the specific piece a collector manages to obtain. Lower numbered pieces are highly valued, being among the first of the set of works to be created. Higher numbered pieces can also be desirable, with the possibility arising that you could own the final print of a work ever to be made.
There is also a variety of non-numbered pieces which can be collected. Pieces labeled A/P are known as “artist’s proofs” and are usually prints kept by the artist themselves as part of their personal collection. B.A.T., H/C, and P/P are various abbreviations indicating pieces used as print masters or pieces given to printers as gifts. All these types are exceedingly rare, produced in small numbers, and not intended for resale. Their scarcity makes them highly desirable for collectors and adds an extra level of excitement and intrigue to the search for the best print.
One of my most recently sold out pieces, Dragon's Breath, a part of my Tree Photography Fine Art Collection, sold out all 200 pieces in the edition. The first print sold for $2000 and the final prints sold for $16,000. This pricing structure raises the value for all the works throughout the collection as the edition sells out.
Limited edition photographic prints are more accessible, less expensive, and more customizable than one-of-a-kind works, without sacrificing quality, artist income, or inherent value. Collecting art should be about procuring pieces that speak to you, not just seeking out the rarest pieces. Fortunately, limited edition print runs allow for both, and are an important part of the fine art market for both artists and their patrons.