Artura StudioLightMagazine1918 142


By Geisler & Andrews New York, N. Y.

Home Portraiture - Film Results

The many requests for information as to the best way to make a beginning in home portraiture, the most approved method of advertising and the equipment to use, has led us to go into the subject at some length. Special stress is laid on the use of initiative, as great importance attaches to making the right start boldly, after which the good workman has plain sailing. - Editor's Note.

There are a great many capable photographers who would be doing a good home portrait business to-day were it not for timidity - a sort of stage fright, as it were, that makes them hesitate to make a beginning.

If you would enjoy swimming you must get in where the water is deep. Until you have made your plunge the water seems cold and you hesitate, but once under you feel fine and strike out boldly and with confidence.

"How am I to go about it - how can I get samples - what is the most dignified method of procedure?" These are the questions invariably asked by the man who wants to make home portrait work but hesitates.

The way to go about it is to make a line of samples, and this requires some sort of preliminary start - speculative, if you choose to put it that way, for it is the same as complimentary studio sittings, only the shoe is partly on the other foot.

In the one case you invite a sitter to the studio while in the other you must seek an invitation to use the home for a sitting.

We have even been asked the question, "Where can I buy home portrait samples?" This would be unethical. A sample print is of no value unless it is a sample of your work. And your samples should be portraits of people well known in your own town.

No doubt you have a number of patrons with whom you are well enough acquainted to secure permission to make negatives in their homes. Suppose you do find it necessary to give away a few prints in your first attempts. You have used some one's home for your experiments and you have saved the cost of a model. If you make some good negatives and can use the prints as samples, you can count yourself ahead of the game and gaining experience. And possibly you can sell a few additional prints.

Once you have a nice line of samples you will find the rest easy. If your first work is successful you may not even have to look for your next sitting. As a rule one good piece of work immediately secures several more sittings for you. And so the ball starts rolling. The woman you please with portraits made in her home will show them to her friends because they are a novelty.

Home Portraiture Film Results StudioLightMagazine1918 144


By Geisler & Andrews New York, N. Y.

The well-to-do class should furnish two-thirds of the photographer's revenue, but they don't buy photographs as they should. They have everything to make attractive pictures. They live in artistic homes, dress attractively, possess interesting personalities, appreciate the things that are refined and beautiful and have the money with which to enjoy life.

These people could come to your studio more easily than you can go to them, but they don't care to. Your studio work is commonplace to them. There is nothing about it that is distinctive - anyone can buy it.

They would buy photographs at high prices if they were sure they would be different from the rest. And the only way to be sure of this is to have them made in their own homes. Their discriminating taste has made them want pictures with the added note of home interest. And the fact that they can be given this special and individual treatment and that they must pay for the extra service makes them all the more willing. Photography ceases to be an ordinary commercial process just as soon as this note of home interest becomes a part of the picture.

The more distinguished and influential the subjects you select for your sample work the more weight they will have with others from whom you wish to secure business. Mrs. White likes Mrs. Brown's portraits, and if Mrs.

Brown is able to pay $40.00 a dozen for such work Mrs. White thinks she is just as well able, and does it.

But if the business doesn't come of its own accord, what then? You say it sounds just like a story book, but what if the story doesn't come true? What is the dignified way of soliciting business from those who have not learned of your ability as a home portraitist?

Individual solicitation is the only logical means that will meet with success, and it must be high class solicitation. You can't expect to get results from a form letter. It is too cheap and impersonal. Neither will ordinary printed matter reach the mark for which you aim. A personal letter, carefully thought out and neatly typed on the best of stationery will get attention. Be sure your letter is grammatically correct, reads smoothly, is convincing and to the point, and be sure you don't say more than is necessary.

This sounds easy, but it isn't. Don't be easily satisfied, whether you write the form of letter that is to be followed or have an experienced writer do it for you. Go over it very critically yourself and then have someone else criticize it for you. Your opening wedge depends upon the first impression. If it is not a good one you may have difficulty in getting the right start.