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.
Large Work. Banquets, Etc. - As to the class of large work, let us say that this is becoming very rapidly a distinct profession in itself, and requires good business ability outside of the regular photographic ability. It is as different as newspaper photography from the ordinary photography. While it requires considerable practice and skill to get the best results in using bags for banquet work, under the exacting conditions that prevail, it also requires considerable maneuvering to get the hotel work to do, to get the information about dates of future banquets, to get ahead of the other fellow who is free with his fees to the stewards, head waiters, etc., to convince the manager that this is a free country, that hotels are public places, and that he has no right to favor one photographer more than another.
Special Apparatus. Then, hotel work takes not only generously large outfits of flashbags to always have enough in reserve to cover several banquets at the same hour, but it requires special cameras, and sometimes special lenses, in order to get prints in which all heads are large enough to draw forth the two or five dollars from the respective owners. Most of the big flashbag operators in New York have as many as fifty to seventy-five bags each and they have several suitable cameras for the work.
Time To Make Exposure. The invariable custom is to make the exposure when the guests take their seats, and then show finished prints before the dinner is over and before the speeches begin. This is the harvest time for these photographers. They frequently take in as much as $500 from a single banquet, and seldom less than $50.
Cost And Profit. The expense for powder, or electric envelope cartridges which most of them use, for a large banquet is not over $1.50, for assistants not over $5, and for plates and developing only a dollar or two; so there is an immense profit in this work. Most of this work is done on speculation, and for this reason the greatest difficulty confronting the photographer is to get ahead of all competitors by being on confidential terms with the hotel management. This will enable the photographer to know about dates for banquets. There are plenty of good opportunities for this work, and in New York City there is enough of this work to support fifty such photographers during the entire season. The conditions in other cities are somewhat similar.
A Commercial Group. In Illustration No. 91 we present a smokeless flashlight group picture of the professional photographers of Pennsylvania taken at their banquet held at the Hotel Walton, in Philadelphia, during their state convention. The picture was made by Mr. W. H. Rau, of Philadelphia.
433. The smokeless flashbags used in making this excellent picture are the results of exhaustive experiments on the part of Mr. Rau, whose eagerness to secure pictures by flashlight, less the offensive after-smoke, has resulted in
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 02
"Putting on the Degree"
See Paragraph 436
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 92a "Swimming Pool"
(Flashlight) See Paragraph 436 the successful flashbag apparatus used on this occasion. Mr. Rau's success with these flashbags has been the means of encouraging manufacturers of the old style machines to seek similar improvements, with the result that today the Prosch Manufacturing Company has placed upon the market the simple and practical flashbags previously described.