This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1918" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1918.
By Geisler & Andrews New York, N. Y.
Make your appeal to the prospective customer, keeping yourself in the background.
Mrs. B. A. Customer',
City. Dear Madam: - Your family and friends would appreciate an out-of-the-ordinary portrait of yourself - a portrait less formal but far more interesting than could be made in a photographer's studio. There is now, in your city, a photographer whose services you may secure for the making of portraits in and about your own home.
The element of individuality - the charm of home surroundings, give to these intimate portraits a note of personal interest otherwise impossible to secure in a photograph.
We trust that you will be sufficiently interested to allow our representative the privilege of calling upon you, at your convenience, with specimens of portraits we have made in the homes of a number of our patrons.
Yours very truly,
The Pyro Studio.
Telephone 829. Signature-------This isn't necessarily the best letter you could use but it makes your announcement in a dignified way without bragging about yourself. It is only intended to start a train of thought in the right direction and would be of no great value if not followed up.
Suppose you mail a dozen such letters to as many good prospects. You may hear from the most interested one of the twelve. After a couple of days you should telephone the other eleven. Or better still, have your receptionist do the telephoning if she has tact.
Mention your announcement, asking if it has been received and try to secure an appointment, not for a sitting but for showing specimens of the interesting work you are doing in the homes of your patrons. "Specimens" sounds better than "samples." And you must have good specimens.
Suppose your receptionist, or some other young lady of good appearance, who is also well spoken, makes the calls and arranges for the sittings. Have her touch on prices only when questioned, and then only as though prices were of secondary importance. You have selected prospects who are well able to afford pictures at the prices you ask, and you pay your prospect a compliment when you assume that a pleasing portrait is the first consideration.
We can't tell you how or where or when to make home portraits. If you use one of the methods of artificial illumination advertised so extensively, most any time or place will answer. If you use daylight you may find certain parts of the house will be better suited to an afternoon than to a morning sitting.
These are things you must find out for yourself, and your solicitor can help you. If the prospect is interested the solicitor may have an opportunity to go over the house with the idea of suggesting the most suitable location for the photographer to work in, not forgetting the light, airy upstairs living room or sun porch.
ARTURA PRINT FROM SEED PLATE NEGATIVE
By Geisler & Andrews New York, N. Y.
Equipment should add dignity to your profession, should be in keeping with the home in which you are working. Possibly your beginning may be made with a camera you now own, but if your prospects for a continued business are good, invest in such an outfit as the F. & S. Home Portrait Outfit No. 2.
It is even more important that you have good equipment for work in the home than for studio work. It inspires confidence in your ability as a workman and you will be more readily recommended to your sitter's friends.
As to material, we can only advise you to follow the lead of the most successful home portrait workers in the country. They use Eastman Portrait Film. Ask them why and they will give you a dozen reasons - all good ones - but the most important reason is that Film gives them negatives of better quality than it is possible for them to secure by the use of plates.
Go to the "movies" and you will see all sorts of "stunts" in lightings that you have been taught were impossible in photography. You have seen them and possibly you have thought there was some sort of fake practiced. How are they made?
The answer is simple: Film, the thinnest of negative making materials - practically no room for the light to spread - practically no halation. This also accounts for the success of many a home portrait negative, made under almost impossible conditions. It is in such work that you expect to see halation.
But it also accounts for quality in the negative where halation would ordinarily exist but would not be seen. A fine network of lights and shadows is present in the smallest highlight, but because of inherent halation of the glass plate the shadows are usually destroyed. Film preserves these minute shadows and the actual quality of the highlight is preserved.
The halation which destroys this fine highlight detail is none the less destructive because it is not actually seen. The effect of it is plain enough and the lack of quality is seen, but the fault has been looked upon as an unavoidable one; a defect of the photographic process to be overcome only by reducing the brilliancy of lightings - by resorting to low-toned, flat and mushy lightings which most any material would reproduce.
It was either that, or brilliancy at the sacrifice of detail - until a professional film was placed on the market. The home portrait man has been the pioneer in the use of film. He had to have it.
And it has given his work the prestige it well deserves.
To use plates for home portraiture is to do a difficult thing in the most difficult way and to materially limit the scope of your work. Use film, forget tradition and make exposures when your ground-glass image pleases you. The results will be startling and original, will give you an incentive for developing boldness and initiative that has been denied you in your studio work. You will gain confidence, will broaden, and you will add a quality to your work that can only come from the use of Film.