This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1915" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1915.
Buying a man for what he's worth and selling him for what he thinks he's worth would not always be a profitable transaction in the photographic business. Many photographers are either too modest, have not taken a proper inventory of themselves or do not have enough selling ability.
Two photographers of equal ability, one in one town and one in another, may find there is a difference of 100% in the prices they ask for their work. Brown knows he is a good photographer - pays himself a good salary, works hard and gets a good price for a certain style of photograph. His work is worth it.
Smith thinks his work as good as Brown's - he pays himself no salary at all - why should he when he owns his business? He thinks the public will not pay half as much for work as Brown is actually getting for it. Smith isn't making as much money as he should so he thinks to economize by using cheaper materials. With cheaper materials his employes use less care; his pictures become "cheap" pictures.
What is the difference in the work of these two men? Why does one get twice as much as the other? It isn't in the material, for the difference in cost between the best and the cheapest is small. It is simply the price the man puts on himself - his individuality - and the confidence and belief in himself that comes of being a high priced workman.
The man who underpays himself eventually goes down hill. He may be a good workman but he can't put his best efforts into his work unless he is paid well for it. And he hasn't the nerve to ask a high price for the work of a cheap man. He is also compelled to do more work to make a living and consequently buries his individuality which is his greatest asset.
Anyone can make photographs mechanically and sell them as merchandise. But the man of ability who is able to put thought and study into the posing, lighting and general effect of his work may be said to have individuality. It is a part of the man himself and no one else can put a price on it.If you are wondering whether or not there is a real living in the business - it is time to put your best thought into your work and sell yourself at a profit. The satisfaction with which you examine your bank balance will be the best indication of your success.
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