This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1911.
We are very apt to imagine that if we were only doing business in some other town or country, we would find things very much easier, but human nature is pretty much the same everywhere, and the problems that confront us for solution appear about the same regardless of latitude or longitude.
The President of the Professional Photographers' Association of Great Britain in his address before the second annual congress of that body, analyzed in a most practical manner a number of situations that confront the workers in this country. In discussing the taking of orders he remarked: "A good receptionist can easily double a business - she is almost worth her weight in gold.
"If possible she should have nothing to do but receive customers and book the orders. If the receptionist retouches, say, as well as receiving customers, she will most likely consider retouching her principal work, and will get rid of the customers as soon as possible in order to get back to it."
If you have ever had a printer waiting for a bunch of negatives, you will appreciate the situation of the retoucher, and will not wonder that she slights the customers when she has a large number of negatives ahead of her. The President also cited an occurrence on a visit to one of the city studios that is not without a parallel over here:
"On opening the door a bell rang and the receptionist jumped out from a curtained off place; I asked to see the proprietor and was informed that he was engaged, so I said I would wait.
"Now the receptionist did not know who I was, I might have been a very promising customer, but she took no further notice of me, and back she went to her hidey-hole.
"In about three minutes the bell rang again and a lady and gentleman walked in; and had evidently been having their child photographed and were much pleased with the results. They ordered two dozen cabinets which the receptionist booked without a smile and bowed them out. If that girl had been my receptionist I would have sacked her on the spot. She could have got anything out of those people, she had only to show them a specimen or two, and they would have ordered, but, after all, was it her fault?
"I don't think so. It was the fault of her employer and he paid for it.
"A receptionist must have time to talk to people."
He also offered a good suggestion in the selling of enlargements:
"I find the enlarging lantern very useful in helping customers to make up their minds what size enlargement they want. If you show them different sizes on the screen they almost invariably order the largest."
Speaking of prices and price cutting, he exemplified the attitude of the public by the following story:
"I happened to overhear a conversation in a tramway car between a man and his wife who were evidently going to be photographed with their family. They were debating to which of two photographers they should go, and mentioned the names.
"I know as far as the quality of their work was concerned that there was nothing to choose between them. At last the wife said: Well, John, it's not every day we get our pictures taken; we'll just go to the best man' - the best man, mark you, being the one who charged the most. The ordinary public know very little about good or bad photographs; they take the photographer at his own valuation."