I have received several comments and questions about the prices of my framed pieces. Most of the comments and questions revolove around the central question of "Why do your framed pieces cost so much?" I will attempt to answer that question below.
I know that the total price tag on my framed pieces puts them out of reach for many people. I think this is an issue with their frame of refrence (sorry about the pun). Actually, they don't cost that much when you look at what you get when you purchase one of the framed pieces.
Let me explain what goes into one of my framed pieces. There's the price of the print, the matting materials and labor, and finally the price of the frame and glazing (glass or plexiglass). Now for some additional detail.
First there is the price for the print itself. When I set the price of the prints, I have to include my time and effort in producing the print, the cost of the ink and paper used, and my time and other costs in capturing the initial image. As I explained in the Prints page, I use acid free, archival quality papers and archival quality ink in a very high quality printer to make the prints, and I print each image myself. If I'm not satisfied with the print, you won't see it.
The second parts of a framed piece are the backing board on which the print is mounted and the facing board, the visible matt. Both the backing board and the visible matt are made of archival, acid free materials, which cost more than the plain paper mat that comes in that frame from Michaels or Target. The visible mat has two purposes. Visually the matt sets the picture off from the surrounding frame and the wall behind it, and most importantly, the matt provides an air space between the printed surface and the glass or plexiglass glazing, so the print won't touch the glazing material and possibly stick to it. Using arhival materials costs more, but the materials and archival mounting techniques help to protect the print.
The third component of a framed print is the frame itself and the glazzing material (glass or plexiglass). The frame holds everything together, and it provides a complimentary or contrasting accent to separate the image from the wall. I use either Neilsen brand metal frames, recognized for their solid construction, or solid wood frames. For many of my pieces, I've chosen solid hardwood frames instead of veneers or painted softwoods. The solid hardwoods are more resistant to scratches that show the underlying unpainted wood, and I also believe the solid hardwoods, like the reverse beveled cherry or the wormy chestnut are just such a good fit for many of my nature scenes. Of course, the hardwood frames are expensive. I use only UV filtering glass or plexiglass to cover the print. The glazzing protects the print from both UV degradation, light fading or light induced color shifts, and from airborn pollutants. I tend to avoid using the non-glare varieties of the UV filter glass or plexi, since the non-glare treatment, a slight texture on the surface facing out, lends a little fuzziness to the finished piece. Non-glare UV filtering glass or plexiglass is available on request, on new pieces, or on the ones in my current inventory.
I mentioned above that labor is another component of the total cost of these finished pieces. I currently do not do my own matting and framing. I don't have the space to set up a proper framing work area, and I would really rather spend that time shooting new pictures, working on this web site or playing with my daughter. I rely upon two great framing shops in Falls Church for most of my framing work, and I am very happy with the service and prices I get from them. I am able to pass on the good prices they give me as I try to keep my prices low.
In summary, my prints are "too expensive" because I charge you for my time making the print and the initial image instead of just for the ink and paper. Using those archival quality, acid free matt boards is too expensive compared to the pretty cardboard mats at your local discount framing store. Having the prints archivally mounted, so that it is possible to swap the matts if you chose a different color or the matt gets damaged is an unecessary added expense when you have a roll of transparent tape in the kitchen drawer. Using high quality wood or metal frames and UV filtering glazzings is too expensive when you can pick up cheap frame with color distorting window glass at the discount store.
Yes, but my images are worth it. I make prints that you can enjoy now and for many years to come. I hope you'll agree.