This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1914" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1914.
Have you ever figured up how much of your paper is actually turned into salable photographs and how much of it goes to waste?
When you have estimated the cost of wasted paper, don't imagine that this covers your total loss from spoiled prints. The value of your printer's time and the cost of wasted chemicals must be added, to say nothing of the delay in getting out your orders.
The causes of spoiled prints are many, but the chief ones are: The printer's inexperience; faulty negatives; unreliable paper, and impure chemicals.
The first cause is readily controlled. Of course no printer can gain experience except by printing. But he can be taught to be careful, and even before he begins to make prints, can be given a good bit of training in the proper way to judge printing density of negatives and the effect of more or less color on the time necessary for a good print. Much of the ability of the printer depends on his care and the attention he gives to details.
The second cause - faulty negatives - often makes friction between printer and operator. And where the photographer does his own operating, and hires a printer, he must be more careful in watching the printing quality of his negatives, because the printer may hesitate to criticize his employer. Correct exposures and careful development are necessary to avoid faulty negatives. However, the most skilled operator will fail if he uses slow plates for short exposures in dull weather; if his plates haven't the body to give an image with true gradation; if his plates have a coarse grained emulsion, or if the quality of his plates is variable - lacking in uniformity. Be sure your plates will make uniform negatives of good printing quality.
Unreliable paper, the third cause of spoiled prints, probably accounts for more waste than either bad printing or poor negatives. You should use a paper that works simply; that has sufficient latitude to give prints of uniform depth and color; that is made in surfaces to suit your tastes or those of your customers, and that is so uniform in speed that your calculations for exposure and development are not upset by every fresh lot of paper that comes into your studio.
By A. O. Titus Buffalo, N. Y.
Assuming that you have a capable printer, that your negatives are good, that you use the most reliable paper, there remains the question of chemicals that are impure or of uncertain strength. Poor chemicals may injure a photographer's work at any stage, but in the hands of a printer they are sure to produce a number of spoiled prints. The only way to avoid waste from this cause is to use tested chemicals of guaranteed strength and purity.
It is a great mistake to buy poor plates, paper or chemicals, because they are cheap, or to employ help for the same reason. There is no saving in buying material at ten per cent. below the cost of the best, if in working this material, twelve percent. goes in waste. The extra price charged for the photographic products that are the best of their kind, is, as a rule, just the extra cost of making those products uniform and reliable. Uniformity and dependability are the most difficult qualities for the manufacturer to secure - and the qualities most appreciated by the careful professional worker.
The real success won and maintained on quality alone:The paper without a disappointment.
The man who makes photographs should be the one to develop his own business - to cover the field thoroughly and not overlook any opportunity to create a demand for his work wherever it can be used to advantage. But such is not always the case. Many manufacturers and advertisers have had to search for the man who could and would do their work, when the photographer should have been the one on the job soliciting the business.
Such work is not merely mechanical. Neither is it to be had, in all instances, because the photographer has the ability to make a good photograph. More often the idea conveyed by the photograph is of greater value than the photograph itself. And therein lies the secret of the work of many photographers who have developed this branch of photography to a point where it has become a most profitable part of their business.
Make a study of photography as applied to advertising and sell-ling - turn to the advertising pages of any good magazine for your lessons, and then work out your ideas.
The Kodak Advertising Contest offers you a reward for pictures that tell of the pleasures of Kodaking, while other opportunities may be suggested by the
Old fashioned bonnets and shawls add distinction to the portraits of a generation ago.
But, your own portrait in clothes that have gone out of style, only looks queer and out-of-date.
Keep the old pictures by all means, they will be a sacred possession some day. But it's equally important to have a new one taken when the old fails to do justice.
There's a photographer in your town. Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N. Y. following article clipped from an advertising magazine.