The price that should be asked for commercial work seems to depend more on competition than quality of work, if we are to believe what a great many people tell us. We don't think this is true in all cases, and we want to talk the matter over and see if there isn't a way to better price conditions where they are not right.

All will admit that the portrait photographer who makes the best work can get the most money for it - they do, so there is really no argument. Of course some are better than others, but a photograph of a piece of furniture or machinery has no expression can not be given an artistic pose or lighting, so what is to be done to command a higher price for this work?

I was talking to a photographer the other day, who is employed by one of the great steel industries, and the subject of color filters came up. He said: "I bought a set of Wratten Color Filters the other day that cost me $20.00 and am going to buy another set in a few days for photo-micrographic work. The firm want the best possible results regardless of expense, and I am going to give them what they want."

That made me think - in fact a great many things in that conversation made me think, and the conclusions I drew were that many manufacturing concerns are employing good photographers and instructing them to spare no expense in securing results. For instance, a good photograph of a piece of furniture may make an increase of thousands of dollars in the sale of that particular article, and it isn't reasonable to believe the manufacturer is going to begrudge a few dollars for the negative that will make pictures with increased selling power.

Whenever you talk of raising prices you can hear a loud chorus of "they won't pay it - you can't do it," but, nevertheless, it has been done and they did pay it and were glad of the chance. First of all you must convince yourself that you can get the results. If you don't believe, there is no need of going any further. You are in a rut and want to stay there, but if you want to make more money and are willing to be convinced, just make a fair trial of a Wratten Panchromatic plate and color filter, alongside of the plate you have been using without a filter. We say a fair trial because you may not have been accustomed to using Panchromatic plates or color filters.

First of all, you must load your holders with Panchromatic plates in absolute darkness. If you use a red light the experiment is of no value because, being extremely sensitive to red, the plate is fogged before the exposure is made. Make an exposure with the plate you have been using, taking for a subject a piece of oak furniture in which you wish to show the grain of the wood to best advantage. Then make an exposure on the same subject with a Wratten Panchromatic plate and a G Contrast Filter. This filter will increase the exposure eight times over that of the plate without a filter. Don't be afraid to give the exposure - you are working for a result and are going to be paid for your time, if the customer is pleased. Now remember that the Panchromatic plate is to be placed in a tray, the developer poured on in absolute darkness, developing by time, the time depending on temperature of the developer. The plate tank or a covered tray will answer, but you must know the temperature so you can give the proper time.

"Too much trouble," you say, but remember, you are working for better results and higher prices, and nothing is too much trouble if you can be paid for your work. Fix the negatives and compare the results. If your exposures have been correct, there is no comparison to the man who is looking for quality, and there are plenty of customers who want just such quality and will pay for it.

From An Artura Iris Print By Knaffl & Brakebill Knoxville, Tenn.

From An Artura Iris Print By Knaffl & Brakebill Knoxville, Tenn.

From An Artura Iris Print By Knaffl & Brakebill Knoxville, Tenn.

From An Artura Iris Print By Knaffl & Brakebill Knoxville, Tenn.

You are pleased with the result - you feel you can get better prices for Panchromatic work, but what price will you ask your customer when you show him a print from each negative? We will say, for example, you have been charging $1.50 for a negative, and so much apiece for the prints. You think you should ask $1.75 or $2.00 for Panchromatic negatives.

That's just where you would be making a grave mistake. You are at additional expense in time, material and apparatus, and you have made a study of color-separation to some extent, so you must also charge for using your brains - for knowing how.

If you ask $1.50 for your ordinary negatives and have made an improvement in quality that places your work beyond that of your competitor, charge $4.00, $4.50 or $5.00, and say it like you knew it was worth it.

Don't be afraid when it comes to asking what a thing is worth, and remember that your time is a part of your work as well as the material you put into it.

Many a man is making a mere salary out of his business because he is afraid to place the proper market value on his brains, while many others who make the same quality of work are more prosperous and more highly respected because they have confidence in their own ability and impart this confidence to their customers.