Buying Fine Art Photography Prints As An Investment

The Value Of Fine Art Landscape Photography

The question for you, the fine art collector, to ask yourself as you consider purchasing a fine art landscape print ..… is there value in collecting fine art photography?

Up until recent years, photography has not been held in high esteem in the art collecting world. Artwork created by painters was considered more valuable due to there being only one painted picture. There can be only one original Mona Lisa and collectors value scarcity…. a one-of-a-kind uniqueness.

Due to the options presented with digital photography, an image could, in theory, be reproduced hundreds or thousands of times. The question then becomes… is there value in collecting fine art photography?

sun bursting on horizon and lighting up underside of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
"Mesa Arch Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

The Importance of Limited-Edition Fine Art Landscape Prints

Fine-art professional landscape photographers have come to recognize the importance of creating financial value for their artwork which is why they offer limited-edition signed prints. The digital negatives are kept by the photographer and they will not produce more than noted on the gallery page.

By definition, limited edition photography prints are the number of prints available for that particular artwork. The print has special meaning to the artist and they don’t want to offer it indefinitely. A limited-edition print means that the photograph will not be mass-produced by retailers using poor reproduction techniques.

Limited edition pricing can change during the course of the sales and can be tricky. The artist wants to maximize the lifetime value of a photograph but has to weigh that against the potential of the print selling out. A limited-edition print means that you, the buyer, will be displaying artwork that is unique on your walls and these types of prints usually hold their value more than open edition prints.

pink sunrise colors above mount moran at oxbow bend in grand teton national park
"Pink Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

What Determines if a Fine-Art Landscape Photograph is a Good or Bad Financial investment?

There are many factors to consider such as….. are you purchasing a photograph from a well-known landscape photographer such as Peter Lik? If so, the price may be higher as you are paying for “his name.” It is very possible that the value of a fine art photograph created by a well-known photographer will hold its own value or may go up over time but not as much as if you purchased from a lesser-known photographer who has not been “discovered” yet.

sunrise colors at factory butte in the utah desert
"Factory Butte Sunrise" - Click on Photo to Purchase

Risk Versus Reward

Are you considering buying a fine art photograph with the main purpose of it increasing in value? If so, you are truly wanting to “invest” in a piece of artwork. But do understand… with investing comes risk. Your artwork could go up in value … or not at all. The principles of risk versus reward are in play.

It is something similar to purchasing stocks….. do you want to purchase shares in Ford, an established auto manufacturer, or would you invest in a small start-up electric vehicle company? With the first, you are investing in a company that is well established with little downside risk but also little chance for a big gain.

The small more unknown company (or fine art photographer) has a greater opportunity for an increase in value but it also carries more risk… which you hope is balanced by a greater chance of a larger “pay-out” assuming the stock/photographer makes it big.

The value of a print by a well-known photographer will likely remain stable over time but the print may not go up in price either. You are holding your money in a “safe” less risky investment.

If a photographer is not as well known, then the print will cost less than one by a big-name photographer. But there is a risk with purchasing a print from a lesser-known photographer and that is the photographer you bought from might not “make it to the big time”. If that’s the case, then the print you choose to purchase will not radically increase in value over time.

But you cannot truly predict that even if you do research about the photographer. Future sales are unknown.

a panoramic view of a stand of birch trees with fall colors in Washington State
"Late Fall" - Click on Photo to Purchase

The Emotional Value of Investing in Fine Art Photography

The above comments look at one aspect of investing… from a pure dollars and cents side. You are purchasing something to hang on your walls that you will want to sell later at a higher value. But that makes you more similar to a stock day-trader … looking to sell and take your profits and go on to the next bigger and better thing.

The real and long-lasting value of investing in beautiful artwork for your home is the value it adds to your day-to-day life…to your home or office environment. Yes, you can view that landscape scene in front of you from an investment aspect … simply purchasing something to think about the resale value later. But should that be the true reason and the guiding force behind your decisions as to what you hang on your walls?

I personally think not.

Fine art photography’s deepest and richest value is found in the emotional and aesthetic value it adds to your life. Creating an environment that is attractive and comforting is an important aspect of building your mental health…... of helping you grow and thrive.

a panoramic view of Wilson Peak surrounded by colorful fall aspen trees in Colorado
"Wilson Peak" - Click on Photo to Purchase

What Kind of Fine Art Landscapes Should You Buy?

So, if the best investment value of fine art is to improve the quality of your life, then you need to give serious thought to the kind of art you want to purchase. This is truly the $64 million dollar question.

Does the fine art landscape photograph……

Speak to you? Call your name?

Remind you a trip you took or a trip you want to take?

Bring back memories of an event in your life or a special time in your life?

Or, are you someone who just loves the mountains or rocky coastlines and seeing those images transports you to a place that brings you peace and joy?

a panoramic view of a windblown sand dune in White Sands National Park
"Windblown" - Click on Photo to Purchase

The Bottom-Line Regarding Investing in Fine Art Landscape Photography

Fine art photographs can be a good financial investment as they can go up in value over time. How much they will increase in value is unknown and outside your control. But investing in fine-art landscape photography is more complex than merely looking at the dollar value and hoping you see a larger number in the future.

You have to ask yourself… am I purchasing this print to hang in my home so that one day I can sell it and put something else there or, am I purchasing this print to make my day-to-day life more beautiful and enjoyable?

Fine art photography should not be merely a picture of a moment in time that you can easily dismiss or artwork that one day you will “trade” for something better. Fine art photography is bigger than that….. it is an investment in the emotional side of your life…it turns bare blank walls into colorful canvasses that will add warmth and beauty to your day-to-day life…. helping you create memories that will increase in value over time.

Please view the various photographs in my Fine-Art Landscape Gallery…. I am certain you will find one that would be an important financial and emotional investment in your life.

a panoramic view of Angel Oak Tree in Charleston South Carolina
"Angel Oak" - Click on Photo to Purchase