This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1923" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1923.
So it is wise to picture shoes in pairs in different positions, to get the right point of view, use a long; focus lens, have an attractive background and to be very pains taking in placing your lights so that you will give roundness and form to the subject.
In short you must make a portrait of two shoes in which your lighting holds all of the tone values of the leather, your lens gives texture detail and your background is sufficiently subdued to make your subject stand out and away from its surroundings.
The idea of the two shoes in different positions is that one can be positioned for general effect and the other to show the side and sole or details peculiar to its style.
Shoe manufacturers may differ on these points, but these are things you must learn by contact with your customers. We merely wish to make the point that if you make the best picture of a piece of merchandise that it is possible to make - if you photograph each article with the same care that the portrait photographer uses in making a portrait, you will create a style of work the quality of which will create a desire that will bring you business.
Modern commercial photography is no longer a mere copying of design and detail, though much of this work is still required and is being done. It is, in fact, because of the general conception among merchants and manufacturers that a commercial photograph is more or less of a map-like representation that more photographs are not required.
Convince a prospect that you can put life and style and interest and realism into pictures, whether they be pictures of jewelry, clothing, hardware, furniture, food products or any of the dozens of classes of merchandise that are commonly advertised, and you will create a demand for photographs. You must, however, be able to demonstrate that you can do what you say. You must be able to show by pictures that you have made your claims good with other customers.
Suppose you have a worthwhile prospect who is impressed by the pictures you show him, but who can not visualize a similar picture of his product. I believe I would offer to show him. I would learn all I possibly could of his product - how it is sold, how used, how displayed, what essential points should be emphasized and what subdued. Then I would create the necessary atmosphere about it and photograph it in an unusual but a natural way that would give the picture desire-creating interest.
A sweater of itself is not so interesting, but on a good looking model who carries a tennis racket under her arm, it has added interest and suggests its use.A cannot photographed in the studio is one thing, while a canoe in the water with a background suggesting good times is quite another.Even the automobile is much more attractive when photographed at the roadside with possibly a lunch kit on the running board, the door open and a beautiful spot to picnic nearby.
PORTRAIT FILM NEGATIVE, VITAVA PRINT
By Lee Saylor-Harris Studio Chicago, III.
A lamp photographed on a library table, a lighting fixture on a wall beside a picture, a chair outlined against a wall with a handsome rug beneath it, a vase containing flowers, silver or linen or glassware on a table, silver on a sideboard or buffet - all of these are mere suggestions that may be varied to suit practically everything that comes under the head of saleable merchandise.
The worth of such pictures is in proportion to their cost of making, but no far-sighted business man will haggle over prices if you can make pictures for him that will increase his sales.
Precedent has been largely cast aside by the manufacturer and the merchant, and salesmanship and advertising are as different from what they were a few years ago as a horse car is different from an autobus or a flying machine. Photography must keep pace and that means a considerable change in commercial work.
Possibly you have kept the pace. If you haven't you will find it worth trying. Just because a thing always has been so is no reason that it always will be so.
If you have talent, put a spotlight on it and sell it to your customers in the form of attractive, appealing pictures.