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.
Waiting For Trade. There are far too many photographers who make little or no effort to work up new trade. They have a small display of pictures at the entrance; perhaps a display which has not been altered in anyway for months, and they sit and wait for customers to come to the studio. If such a photographer can make a living, how much is there in store for those who will make a strenuous effort to get their name before the public, and offer something which will entice customers to the studio. It may be unquestionably stated that not more than one person in twenty is photographed once in two years. If one in twenty could be induced to come once a year, the business of every studio in any community would be doubled. If you are responsible for the publicity which doubled the volume of business in your community, you will receive more than double the increase in returns.
805. The fact that people do not come into the studio more often is not because they do not want photographs. It is due more to the fact that they do not absolutely have to have photographs, and on account of the general rush and bustle of people in these modern times photographs receive but little consideration, unless the subject is brought forcibly to mind.
806. The preceding chapters, on Business Methods in the Studio, must be given very careful consideration, for they are of vital importance. With careless work one cannot expect to be successful, no matter how strong and effective is the advertising.
807. The first and most important factor in studio advertising is getting and keeping your name before the public. In this you must be persistent. If your name is Brown emphasize the fact that "Brown" is the photographer. Keep everlastingly pounding at them that "Brown" is doing the finest work, that "Brown" is doing the business. There are various ways of accomplishing this. The newspapers in your vicinity should be made use of first, for these are usually read by a large majority of the people, and you can, through them, most effectively call attention to your studio.
Newspaper Advertising. Large display advertisements are not to be recommended. They are not read by the average reader, and a far more effective way of being sure that your name is seen is to insert short reading notices with the regular news items. Such reading notices need not be long - a dozen lines many times are sufficient, and the most effective advertisements are those that do not appear as advertisements but as news items. Thus the reader is forced to read the ad. before he discovers it is really advertising.
809. Three or four different notices could be interspersed with the news items, each having a different thought or idea expressed. The reader when glancing through the local items and having read the different notices, cannot help but be impressed with the photographer's methods of advertising and in consequence, he remembers it longer than he would if a straight advertisement were inserted. Of course, one should occasionally insert a straight advertisement, but in the local columns and owing to your general method of advertising, which should always be interesting, any special advertising you may do will be read.
810. The following paragraphs will give a slight idea as to what one may say in these reading notices:
Have a likeness made by Hopkins before your latest costume shows signs of wear. If what his patrons say is true, his special new folder photographs are immensely popular.
The top-notch of artistic elegance has been reached in Schriever's latest photographic surprise. Picture to yourself a beautiful carbon portrait encased in an exquisite soft leather folder - like the famous "Roycroft" bindings and - well, they simply baffle adequate description. See them at the studio, 110 Wyoming Ave. Ask for the "Roycroft "Portraits.
Has convened in fall session at the Gold Medal Studio. Bring the little ones to see them and the play house. They may elect to join this aggregation of dimpled humanity.
Nothing contributes more to the artistic photograph than the ease and natural bearing of the subject. Keyed up to an unnatural pitch in anticipation of sitting under the searching eye of the camera, it is a test of the ability of the artist to disarm tense nerves and summon nature to the rescue. This, Schriever does to perfection. Judge for yourself at the studio, 110 Wyoming Ave.
817. One must not enter into newspaper advertising in a haphazard way. It is an art in itself. You should choose a paper with the largest local circulation. If you are to have your advertisement appear in each issue of the paper, it is very important that a change of wording be made for each day's advertising and that the subject matter mentioned should be timely; i. e., a few weeks before Easter to insert a "reader" calling attention to Easter pictures, the special styles, etc., suitable for this season of the year. During the holiday season call attention to a very acceptable gift for Christmas in the form of a special style picture you are making, etc.
818. Never allow an advertisement to be repeated for any length of time, especially out of season. For example: A reminder that a special style of picture makes acceptable Christmas presents should not appear in the month of January. One of the best forms of newspaper advertising is to secure personal "write-ups" which would, of course, appear in the body of news-matter. In one sense of the word these are not advertisements, yet they are one of the strongest forms that a professional man can use. It is a good plan to keep in touch with the chief reporters of your daily and Sunday papers and by favoring them by supplying photographs from time to time they will occasionally give you a good notice which costs you nothing.
819. Advertising is not necessarily of a direct nature. The doctor or dentist who wishes to establish a practice joins the local societies and clubs, and manages to be personally in evidence at as many social functions as possible; and in a similar way do other professional men take means to bring themselves into contact with their fellow townsmen who are able to do business with them and throw business their way. The best advertisement for a professional man is to become well known himself and those adopting this method of advertising may interest themselves in local matters and take part in social functions of the town or city. In becoming known, personally, the photographer's business will also become known. While it is good business to mix and become acquainted in this way, yet, under no circumstance, should you neglect the work at the studio, for the successful photographer is always to be found at his studio during business hours.
820. There is another class of advertising of good quality, which occurs when you are called upon to make pictures of some convention or gathering of any kind. A friendly reporter will often, if it is suggested to him, make mention in his report of the fact that you were professionally present; and the advertisement is good. Cases of different kinds may present themselves, and whenever you photograph any event of a special nature, you should see that immediate mention is made of it in the newspapers.
821. As a class of paid-for advertising during the baseball season, a notice of this nature may prove valuable if run in the news columns:
822. "At the opening game of base-ball between the Chicago and New York National teams, Mr. Geo. R. Smith made a very successful series of pictures during the game, including a portrait of Brown, who is regarded as the world's greatest pitcher. The pictures are on view at the studio at 735 West Jackson Blvd."
823. The amount of space occupied by this notice is worth much more than the same space in the advertising columns. For the commercial worker there is plenty of opportunity for much free advertising and there should seldom be a week that your name does not appear in the local papers in one connection or another, and you may also have one or two reading notices regarding some picture or special feature that you are offering, so that the public may at all times know that you are "up and doing" and always ready for business.
824. One who is a liberal advertiser with newspapers will be visited by all kinds of canvassers for advertisements. Promoters of bazaars, special church or school programs, will offer pages of their programs or hand books; perhaps the local school publishes a monthly magazine, with a limited circulation, and the editor will desire that you insert an advertisement; the local real estate agent who desires to print a list of properties to let and for sale - with someone else to pay for the advertising - these and many others will call and waste time. They are only to be encouraged, when you can clearly see that it is policy to accept their offer on account of the orders you will indirectly receive, regardless of the actual advertisement, which usually is of little or no account from a business producing standpoint. Usually one is better off to exclude all such mediums from his list.
825. Many of the best studios employ an experienced advertising man to take care of their advertising. This is not so expensive as it at first may seem and if everything is taken into consideration you save money thereby. First of all, few men can prepare proper copy for advertisements; second, when one has the ability it requires special thought, which means time; and last, but not least, by an arrangement with your advertising man, you can turn down many objectionable advertising solicitors by simply referring them to your advertising agent who has exclusive charge of all your advertising. It is his business to inform them in a pleasant way, that "the appropriation for the present month is already exhausted and I have no doubt my client did not know this. Under the circumstances we will have to pass the opportunity by this time," or something to that effect. At any rate he will handle them in a way that you could not do so gracefully and his services would not cost you more than from $10.00 to $25.00 per month. If he is at all clever, he will save you this amount on poor advertising.