This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
732. In large studios it is customary to promise work finished in two weeks from the date proofs are returned. The general public have become accustomed to this rule, therefore they do not expect an earlier delivery.
733. Where a large amount of work is to be handled or finished in a small studio, it is not advisable to promise work in a shorter time than two weeks. This will give you ample time to finish the work well and will also enable you to handle a large amount of business during the rush season, and, independent of this, you can make and finish rush orders without interfering with the progress of the regular orders, and yet get all work finished on time. If you adopt the two-weeks plan, which means fourteen days, you must arrange the finishing so that the work is delivered to the office on the thirteenth day all prepared for delivery. This can only be accomplished by establishing a system in every department. A proper system is important and applies to the one-man studio as well as the larger studios where considerable help is employed.
734. Whatever system is adopted it should be followed to the letter. The following system is employed in the majority of successful studios, and with alterations to suit conditions will work well in any studio. This system provides for the methodical handling of the customer from the making of the sitting to the finishing of the work.
First. If any particular style has been selected at the time of sitting it should be recorded in the studio register. In many instances, when dealing with good trade, there is no particular style selected and customers leave the selection to the photographer, or wait until the proofs are returned before placing their order. In either case the customer is registered just the same in order to give the negatives a register number.
Second. All plates exposed should be developed the same day they are made and allowed to dry over night.
Third. The negatives should be gathered up the first thing in the morning and taken to the office for registry. On the left hand side of the upper edge of the plate may be written the register number and on the opposite end the name, leaving a blank space between until the proofs are returned, when the order is recorded in this space. After the negatives are registered they should be sent to the proof retoucher, who smooths over the really rough places only. This is important, for many times proofs are condemned and an additional order is lost because the face looks coarse and rough in the proof, while with a few minutes work in smoothing up the rough places, the proof looks improved and the customer is better pleased.
738. After the negatives are proof-retouched they are at once put out to print, and right here is an important consideration. Do not be careless about your proofing, but print as carefully as if you were making finished prints. Have all proofs printed evenly and to the same depth, so that they will all appear at their best. Each proof should be numbered on the back to correspond with the number on the negative. After proofing, all negatives of the same number are placed in one envelope and the number written on the envelope, which is then placed on a shelf reserved expressly for proofed negatives while the proofs themselves are sent to the office where they are sorted and placed into " return " proof envelopes. These envelopes for general use, may have printed on the outside the name and address of the photographer as well as special instructions regarding the proofs. Suggestions as to the wording of these instructions will be found in Illustration No. 95.
739. Before placing the proofs in this envelope, however, the back of each proof should be stamped with a rubber stamp bearing the photographer's name and address. The
"MOTHER AND CHILDREN" Study No. 34 - See Page 582 Brainerd & Co.
Illustration No. 95 Proof Envelopes See Paragraph No. 738.
Illustration No. 96 Diagram of Special Proof Envelope.
See Paragraph No. 741 envelope containing the proofs should be enclosed in a manila or white envelope, and this latter sealed and addressed to the customer, who. in turn, is supposed to return the proofs as soon as possible, in accordance with the instructions which arc given on the proof envelope.
740. Where the more exclusive trade is catered to, or even in a general studio where high-grade work as well as the commercial styles are made, it is advisable, with the best work, to present your proofs in a more exclusive manner, and some specially neat envelope should be employed that will give a further good impression as to the value of its contents.
741. In Illustration No. 95 we present a very suitable folder, which is made of regular folder cover-stock of a deep green color. The line drawing (Illustration No. 96) shows the pattern required for cutting this envelope, and the illustration shows the envelope folded, bearing the proofs ready for delivery. It has the appearance of a pocket-book when folded and it is neat and novel and goes a long way towards being an improvement over the commercial proof envelope. This proof-folder can be obtained from almost any reliable card manufacturer. Of course, they will need to be made to order; or you can make them yourself if you wish. If you have them made, it is advisable to have the name and city printed in white ink on the face and on the back you may print the following: Proofs from the Smith Studio, Scranton, Pa. While any size folder may be made, the illustration and line drawing show a folder for cabinet-size proofs. When using this proof-folder for mailing proofs always enclose it in another white envelope.
742. As some customers prefer calling for their proofs in person it is advisable to hold all proofs until the close of the business of the day, when those that have not been called for may be mailed out.
743. Many photographers prefer the customer to return the proofs in person, for it gives them an opportunity to point out the good qualities in the different negatives and offer other suggestions that may lead to an increase of the original order. Therefore it is advisable to inform the customer after making the sitting, that if so desired the proofs may be returned in person and that if you can be of any assistance in the selection of the best negatives, you will be pleased to help. In many instances your customer will be pleased to have your judgment of the negatives, and it is up to you to select the best and as many of them as is consistent. After receiving the orders at the studio, or when the proofs are returned by mail, accompanied with the order for the number of pictures wanted, mark on the back of each proof ordered from, the style in which the picture is to be finished and the number of prints to be made from that particular negative, also the style of mount and any other data for the information of the retoucher or printer, including the date proofs were returned and the date the finished pictures are promised.
744. If your different styles of mounts are arranged in alphabetical order so that you can refer to them by letter, it will simplify matters and supply sufficient data to indicate the order. Where more than one negative is ordered from, each proof ordered from should be lettered following the register number. For example: Mrs. Jones returns four proofs from which she wants six prints each. You will record her order on the back of the proofs as follows: No. 84767-A - 6 Plat. - B Mt. - 4/8 - 22; while the second number would be No. 84767-B - 6 Plat. - B Mt. - 4/8 - 22; the third 84767-C - 6 Plat. - B Mt. - 4/8 - 22; and the fourth proof 84767-D - 6 Plat. - B Mt. - 4/8 - 22. This would indicate that Mrs. Jones, whose register number is 84767, had ordered two dozen platinum pictures, style B mount and her order is from four negatives, 84767-A, B, C and D. The order was recorded on the 4th month and 8th day and the pictures were promised on the 22nd, which is two weeks from the date of return of proofs. These proofs are placed in the proof drawer and when time permits, usually towards the close of the day, the negatives corresponding with the proofs are looked up and they are brought to the office where the order is recorded in the studio register.
745. Having, at the time of making the proofs, placed all negatives bearing the same number in one envelope, all that is required is to look for the envelope containing that particular number corresponding with your proofs and you will find all of the negatives in this envelope. The negatives corresponding with the selected proofs are gathered from the envelope, while the remainder, or what is known as "discards," may be placed in a wooden box. A case in which dry plates have been packed is very convenient. The "discards" should be placed in this box very carefully, as the customer may order from some other styles later. Each box of "discards" should, when filled, be dated and stored away for at least 6 months after which you will be safe in destroying them, or, better still, sell them to some dealer who makes a business of buying negative glass. It is a good plan to scratch the surfaces of the negatives, thus destroying the image, before selling these negatives.
746. When all of the negatives corresponding to the proofs from which orders have been received are collected, these negatives, together with the corresponding proofs placed between them, are taken to the office. Here each negative and its proof are placed in a negative envelope on the outside of which should be written the order number, the name of the customer as well as the style and number of pictures ordered from that negative. At this same time the increased order (if any) is also recorded in the studio register so that the order on the proofs and negatives correspond exactly with the order in the register.