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.
Publicity. If there is a program issued, or a special time-table printed by the Railroad Company he should try to have his name appear on the folder as official photographer. This will prove of valuable assistance. By making himself known in this way the people will immediately have confidence in him, and be perfectly willing to deposit the full amount asked for the pictures.
491. The price for such prints will depend largely upon the size of the plate used. It is better to sell prints from only two or three negatives and charge a good price for them, than to take orders from a half-dozen negatives, selling the prints very cheaply. There is much less work in finishing from the fewer number of plates, and the excursionists will appreciate them just as well as a larger number. They will seldom buy more than one or two prints, so one might as well charge a little more for each print and thus secure larger financial returns. If a 5x7 camera is employed it is customary to sell the prints for about 35 cents each, or if a set of three is made, charge $1.00 for the set; 8 x 10 prints usually sell at 50 cents each.
492. In soliciting orders it would be a good policy to have a couple of excellent views on hand, which were taken on previous occasions, so as to give the people an idea of the class of work and the quality of the pictures which they may expect. Few excursions consist of less than two to three hundred people, and one should plan on securing orders from not less than 25% of these, which will give profitable returns for the day's work. The pictures should be finished and delivered at the earliest possible moment.
Conventions. Quite often there are conventions of different characters, varying in interest to the general public. The more general or more national the nature of the convention the greater are the possibilities of selling photographs to the larger daily and weekly papers.
494. If one can secure the exclusive right of making a photograph of the convention in session they should do so. As an example of the possibilities in this direction we show, in Illustration No. 95, a reproduction of a photograph made of the Strike Conference held in Scranton in the fall of 1902. This assembly was of national importance, and the results of the conference were eagerly watched for in all parts of the country, as it had to deal with thousands of miners. The result of this conference settled one of the greatest strifes between capital and labor that this country has ever experienced.
495. The photograph reproduced in Illustration No. 95 was the only one made of this assembly of noted lawyers and some of the most influential men of the United States. The first attempt at securing a picture was made on a Friday morning. The photographer had secured permission to make the photograph, with the understanding that the picture was not to be made until a certain hour, when the judge would make the announcement that a picture was to be made. The photographer had his 14 x 17 camera set in position, his flashlight apparatus properly located, and the machines loaded with powder, when to his dismay the judge dismissed the gathering for the noon recess and the various members arose and left the room. The error was due to the judge forgetting to announce that a photograph was to be made. The following Monday (November 17th) the photographer had typewritten slips handed to each member, stating that a photograph would be made at the noon recess, and that each person was requested to remain seated for a few moments. This time the judge did not fail to make the announcement; in fact, he gave a special recess at 11 o'clock, for the purpose of having the photograph made.
496. No difficulty was experienced in getting an excellent exposure. The plate was developed, a bromide print made, and the photographer immediately went to New York and sold a print to Collier's Magazine for $75.00.
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 95
Press Photography - "Strike Conference"
See Paragraph 494
Photos by A. S. Dudley
Illustration No. 96
California Earthquake - Reflex Camera Work
See Paragraph 500
497. Taking into consideration that this was the only photograph made of the convention, it is a very easy matter to estimate that the returns to the photographer from this one negative were no small amount, for each member was anxious to get prints, which sold for $5.00 each. The photographer could, however, have secured $200.00 from Collier's as easily as he did $75.00, for they wanted the picture and would have been willing to pay any price to get it.
498. Of course this opportunity does not come to everyone, yet if you will be on the alert there are opportunities presenting themselves every day, which, if taken advantage of, will bring returns of some kind to the press photographer. He is always sure of making his expenses, and often secures extra large commissions.