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.
786. The show-case should be given as much consideration as the reception-room, no matter what the standard of work of the studio is, or where it is located. A display of some kind should be placed at the entrance, if it be not more than one picture. A hundred dollars spent in an attractive display case at the entrance to the studio, and in making the hall stairway which may lead to the reception-room appear attractive, even though it may be simply papered or kalsomined, will add very materially toward inducing customers to come to the reception-room. The show-case, the hallway, etc., must be kept clean, and everything done within your power to remove any unsightly or objectionable features.
787. Many studios are located above the first floor, and therefore require some display at the entrance, while other photographers are fortunate enough to have a ground floor studio, with front windows for display purposes and therefore have quite an advantage.
788. As much space should be devoted to display purposes as possible, consistent, of course, with general conditions. At least one show-case 3x4 feet in size, or one covering the same area, should be used. It is better to have a case of this size and change the pictures in it often, than to have a large case and not change the display more than once a month. These display pictures should be thoroughly representative of your ability, and a few such pictures exhibited at a time is far more valuable than to attempt filling the show-case with more ordinary pictures which might not be so fully appreciated. When possible one should make it a rule to change the display at least once in two weeks - once a week will be far better. When it becomes known that you make these changes often the public will soon get into the habit of witching for the new picture display, and will go out of their way to see what you have new in the case.
Object Of The Display. Your show-case should be so arranged that the people will become fascinated by it, and to such an extent that they will venture into your studio - your opportunity then begins. The photographer's own work is his greatest advertisement - the quality must, therefore, be of the highest class you arc capable of producing. Examples of your work should be exhibited then in a conspicuous place, so as to attract attention of passers-by. The case should be a neat one, and the glass and all other parts of it kept perfectly clean. The majority of people act upon impulses, and if you have a clever display, and one that is frequently changed, people will irresistibly enter your studio, where otherwise they would simply pass by.
Arranging Display. The inside of the case, on which the display is placed, should be a large board, covered, preferably, with black felt or broadcloth. This board should be removable. In fact, it would be advisable to have four such boards and then arrange four different displays. A display should be placed in the show-case in the morning, another one should take the place of the first display on the following morning, and so on until all four displays have been exhibited, each one remaining in the case for a day. On the fifth day place the first display in the case again, and alternate in this way daily for a period of one month, when an entirely new display may be prepared and the same system of changes be carried out.
791. Another method employed by some photographers is to simply have two background boards, on which to place the pictures, and to change the display once a week. Either of the above methods is adaptable for the average studio.