Mr. Atkins is of the opinion that a part, at least, of the portrait-making profession needs a jolt on a subject that affects its pocketbook. What he has to say does not concern the man who pays himself a salary and has a reasonable profit when his books are closed at the end of the year, but it may be of help to the man who works hard, who thinks he is making a profit, who finds he isn't but who doesn't know how to go about it to correct the error, Mr. Atkins does not suggest the fixing of selling prices. He has employed a cost system in his business and has found the point below which his photographs cannot be sold at a profit. He contends that the lack of cost systems not only works a hardship on the photographer without them but on the competitor who knows his costs. He believes in healthy competition but suggests co-operation in determining minimum prices below which photographs cannot be sold at a profit.

- Editor's Note.

Now that all business is contending with actively changing conditions and the adjustments incident thereto, it is a most fitting time for the portrait-making photographic profession to arouse itself to the urgent need of better business co-operation.

While we have our national and amalgamated associations, the benefits derived from them are largely educational. We need also organizations the purpose of which should be to further the interests of the profession in a business way. Everywhere there are manufacturers' associations, business men's associations, employers' associations, for this purpose; and employees of nearly every industry are organized for the purpose of improving their working conditions and for securing a minimum pay for their work. For the same reasons, professional men, owners and managers of photographic businesses should have their local associations. The need of business co-operation is self-evident.

I shall make no attempt to enumerate the many benefits to be derived from local associations, but in every community where they do not exist, they should be immediately formed, and the moving spirit should be one of good fellowship, co-operation and mutual help. The question of a minimum price, based on costs, at which portrait photographs should be sold would be a subject which could properly be brought before such organizations.

I do not believe in hampering healthy business competition, but I do believe (and I think the profession will agree with me) that there should be a minimum price, based on costs, at which portrait photographs should be sold.

To charge a certain price (based on costs) per square inch per dozen prints, would be a businesslike way of solving this question. If for individual pictures a minimum price were charged of 25c per square inch per dozen prints for 4x6's and larger sizes, then the minimum price per dozen for 4x6's would be exactly $6.00, for 5x8's $10.00, for 6x8's $12.00, for 6xl0's $15.00, for 8xl0's $20.00, for 10xl4's $35.00, etc.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative. Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative. Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

The charge for prints smaller than 4x6's should increase somewhat as the size decreases. For instance, as a 3 x 4 print is one-half the size of a 4 x 6, the price per square inch should increase one-half of 25c or to 37 1/2c, making the minimum price per dozen $4.50. If so small a size as 2x3 is made, the price should increase over the 3x4 rate to not less than $3.25 per dozen. A liberal discount - say 50% - should be allowed on pass-port prints, postcards, and similar work on which no proof is shown. Minimum prices once determined, a rate card could be compiled and supplied which would obviate any possible confusion.

The charge for making group pictures should increase over the price for individual pictures for 4x6's say, 25c per print for each additional person more than one, for 12 or more pictures, with an increased charge per person for larger sizes and a decreased charge for smaller sizes.

The price for less than dozen lots should be, for one picture one-third of the dozen price, with one-twelfth of the dozen price added for each additional print wanted up to one - half dozen, and with one twenty-fourth of the dozen price added for each print over six up to twelve, with the result that the price for three pictures would be one-half the dozen price, and for six pictures three-fourths of the dozen price, and with the final result that twelve pictures on this basis would amount to exactly the dozen price.

Duplicates: If you have made so good a picture that duplicates are wanted, they should be charged for in dozen lots at the regular dozen price then prevailing. If only a part of a dozen is wanted, the first print should be charged for at one-sixth of the dozen price with one-twelfth of the dozen price added for each additional print wanted up to eight, and one-sixteenth of the dozen price added for the balance up to twelve, with the result that a full dozen figured on this basis would amount to exactly the dozen price.

This whole plan of charging should be for unmounted prints. At the time of delivery, an effort should be made to sell as many suitable frames for them as possible, and for the balance of the order, the most suitable folders for those particular prints should be sold at cost plus overhead. For if the customer is given to understand that only a small charge will be made for folders, the chances are improved for selling higher priced pictures.

The charge for retouching extra negatives could also be figured on the square-inch basis, depending on the size of the print or negative, with an extra charge per person for group pictures. At 5c per square inch for retouching extra negatives, the charge for single heads for 4x6's would be, practically, $1.25.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

Eastman Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Frank W. Schaldenbrand Detroit, Mich.

I do not maintain that the figures I have used to illustrate with should be necessarily adhered to; but I have proposed herein an easily understood and workable plan. It is a businesslike and scientific method of arriving at prices.

The successful application of this plan of necessity requires genuine co-operation through local associations, where there would be an interchange of ideas and the benefits of just criticism obtained.

[Copyright. 1919, by Edgar Mason Atkins.]