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Photography for Sale: What to Know Before Buying a Photograph

Photographing the beauty of nature

As you browse art photography for sale, do you know which things to look out for?

There are a few important points to consider when you're buying photography. You don't need to be a gallery curator to buy a beautiful and authentic photograph. From price point to size to editions, there are different factors when you buy a photograph.

You'll want to know that you're buying a legitimate art piece. Not only that but your tastes and preferences are a big part of the purchasing process. Original art photography is a great way to beautify your home or office. When you buy limited edition photography, you're building up your personal art collection.

Not sure where to start and what you'll want to know ahead of time? Keep reading! You'll feel empowered and excited as you make your next photography purchase.

hall with different types of nature wall art

Buying Photography That Fits Your Life

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, you'll want to make sure you're excited. Are you feeling passionate about the art you're buying?

Art can make your home or office a welcoming and soothing place. Particularly landscape photography can have a calming effect in your space. Studies show that spending time in nature has amazing effects on our well-being. When you're at the office or at home, you can still enjoy the beauty of nature.

Inspiring nature images are a great way to bring serenity to your waiting room office. Or if you're looking to decorate at home, a landscape can bring elegance and calm to your safe space. When you buy photography, you'll want to make sure it's an image that really speaks to you. You'll be looking at this image frequently. Make sure you connect with the landscape or nature image you're bringing indoors.

Sunset landscape nature image above fireplace in home

Authenticity and the Artist

Take a look at the artist you're buying from as you browse photography for sale. Artists work hard turning photography into art. They'll share the same passion as you for nature.

Look for artists who value authenticity. This means when you buy from an artist, they'll provide you with extra information. Peter James' metal prints are all signed and numbered. Each print you buy comes with a certificate of authenticity as well as a unique serial number. Each metal print piece is only printed in editions of 100. This takes us to the next point you'll want to consider when buying photography.

Peter James Photographer

Limited Edition Photography for Sale

What does limited edition really mean? You may hear this mentioned a lot when looking at photography for sale. Limited edition means that there are only certain amounts, or editions, created. After those editions sell, the artist retires that image. A limited-edition fine art print is usually created in a run of 200 or less. Any amount of prints above 200 would be harder for an artist to do quality control.

When the artist isn't involved in the production, it's no longer a limited edition art print. After around 200, prints are considered "reproductions" rather than fine art prints. Limited edition photography prints in a run will all be of the same image. That means 100 will be made of an image, in the same size. No image in that edition will be different from the others.

When you buy a reproduction, the cost goes down, but it also means the quality may suffer. That's why limited edition images are sought after. They will be high quality, and will also grow in value over time. This is because there are fewer versions created, which boosts value with collectors.

Hanging nature wall art in dining area

Art Photography Materials

When you're buying a photograph, you want to consider the materials. Photography can be printed on different surfaces. Early photographs were printed on metal, such as daguerrotypes.

However, later on, paper became the most common. With technological developments, there are now multiple methods to print on larger materials. This means large-scale metal, paper and wood prints are available.

Let's take a look at the types of materials you'll want to consider:

Metal Photography Prints

Metal prints are the most durable and high-quality option for art photography. Metal can withstand quite a bit more than other materials. It is water-resistant, and won't wrinkle or crinkle over time.

Metal prints are easier to hang as they don't usually require framing. They're also eye-catching. Color will shine on the metal surface, and the color will last a long time. Because of the durability and color, they may run higher than paper. But they're also less likely to damage over time.

Paper Prints

Paper printing is great for smaller editions. However, as you get to wall art sizing, the paper may pose issues. First, you'll need to frame the work yourself. The larger a print, the harder it is to stretch it taut. You'll run the risk of wrinkling if there's humidity or water exposure.

Nonetheless, this may be a more affordable option for the short term, such as hanging a poster for an event. For fine art photography, this may not be the best investment.


Canvas prints are usually printed on canvas cloth. The print stretches across a wooden frame. Canvas can be exciting, as it adds texture to your image.

However, this can also be distracting since it can take away from the richness of the image. Canvas can handle more wear and tear than paper but doesn't have the durability of metal prints.

Printing on Wood

Similar to canvas, printing on wood can be exciting if you want rich texture. Woodgrain can create a more vintage, retro feel for your art prints. However, this can distract you from your photograph.

A fine art photograph will have enough richness and natural beauty on its own. As a result, wood prints may not be the best option. Particularly if you're looking for a large print, wood can be very heavy and pricy.

Nature forest art print above bath

Sizing and Budget

As you consider which photograph you'd like to purchase, have a think about sizing and budget. Unlike paintings, pricing in photography is usually tied to size.

That's because each size increase means more attention goes towards print quality. It also means more metal or ink is needed. Think about the space you'd like to enrich with a photograph. What size would work for your home or office? Consider the other objects in the room.

You'll also want to think about how much space the image "needs." If it's the focal point of your waiting room, for example, you'll want people to look at it. That might mean you want a bigger print for your office. If you're looking for a small print to decorate a hallway, that would call for a different size.

You can choose panoramic sizes for spaces that have extra space. For example, above your bathtub or in your home office. Standard formats will work great when you have more traditional wall space to fill.

large beach landscape fine art print in bedroom

Sizing Options

The largest print you'll likely want is around 4 by 8 feet. This size, the panorama format, is perfect for business and office settings. The size allows you to get lost in the landscape imagery.

You'll feel you're really outside, reaping the benefits of nature. This is a pretty big size, so it's the best option for when you want to make a statement. You may want a smaller option for your home. Around 40x80 or 40x60 inches may be a good fit for you in this case. These large images will bring nature into your home. You'll want to go for this size when you're looking to create a statement piece in your living room or bedroom.

Looking for an image for your hallway, over your desk, or as a housewarming gift? Prints around 30x60 or 32x48 or 24x48 inches will be a good fit. You can also look at smaller options for areas that need a pop of brightness. Opt for images around 18x36 or 16x24 inches. You can also opt for an even smaller print around 12x24 inches.

This is a great option if you'd like to share wall space with your art photograph and other prints.

sunset large photograph for living area

Try It Out First in Your Space

When looking to purchase your art photograph, look to see if you can do a mockup. Peter James gallery offers a mockup service.

You can follow a few simple steps and receive a mockup via email. You'll be able to see how the print will work with your space, as well as decide the right size.

landscape mock up wall print example

The Art of Buying Photography

With these tips, you'll be a pro when it comes to buying fine art photography. Next time you're browsing photography for sale, you'll know what to keep in mind.

Your tastes and interests are key. Likewise, decide on a printing material that works for you. Research the artist and authenticity. Then decide the right size before checking how your print will look using our free mockup service.

Interested in beautifying your space with a limited edition nature photograph? Check out our collection here.


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