This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1922 " book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1922 .
THE small town photographer, especially the man in a small town which is fairly near to a large city, constantly confronts the same problem that every merchant in the small town confronts - how to keep business from going to the city.
It can be done and is being done in many places, but the photographer who holds business to the small town must not neglect any of his opportunities.
The greatest of these is his display case. It can display small town photography or it can display city photography, or it can display both, and quite often the latter plan is best.
There is always a fascination about a display of good photographs. People will stop and look at the small town photographer's display when they might not have time to look at the display case in the city, which is one point in the small town photographer's favor. But if there is nothing about the displays to attract there is little chance of keeping business from going to the city.
The city, in itself, is not an attraction for the buyer of photographs. There are small town or suburban photographers who actually draw their business from the cities, which proves this fact. Too often the photographer makes up his mind that he can't compete with the city photographer, and so he doesn't try.
The display case is very important because it reflects the tone or quality as well as the class of work the studio is doing, and so it creates a favorable or an unfavorable impression as the case may be.
If the small town is a factory town and the display case has been made to appeal to the factory employee, it is quite often the case that the photographer aims too low.
The factory employee is often well paid for his labor and has considerable pride, which may lead him to seek moderately priced pictures at a studio having a reputation for high class, high priced work. The display case which is intended to attract this class of trade may only attract a foreign element which wants cheap pictures. This indicates that the display advertising has undershot its mark.
From An Eastman Portrait Film Negative By Tho8. H. Ince Studios Culver City, Cal.
It is much better to aim high than low. A display may feature portraits of very high quality and good style and at the same time not create too strong an impression of exclusiveness and high price. It may be accomplished by a card giving the cost of a small, moderately priced style of pictures or by the card and a single print of moderate price. Or the impression may be conveyed by an occasional display of one style of moderately priced pictures.
It is not possible to compete with city photographers, however, unless good styles of work are displayed, the displays changed at frequent intervals and the class of people whose pictures are displayed is the class of people whose business you wish to secure. This last point may bring forth the query, "How can the studio show such samples when it does not have such people for its customers?"
The answer is - get them.
It is taken for granted that the photographer has the ability to do good work. It isn't reasonable to suppose that a poor workman in a small town can compete on even terms with a good workman in a city.
First of all then, make a bid for a good class of patrons by making your studio attractive. It does not need to be expensively furnished but it should be home-like and in good taste. It must not look like a cold business establishment, a store or a factory. Give a refined woman a free hand and she will see that it is decorated and furnished in good taste without great expense. Costly furnishings are not necessary. 1 have seen a studio made beautiful with a few pieces of old fashioned furniture, white paint and rag carpet rugs.
When you feel proud of your studio then get the people you want into it and make good pictures of them.
Invite them in, of course.
Don't worry about orders at first - you must have samples, so make them. If the work is good you will get orders.
The sample prints you make will then attract other people of the same class.
Your studio will soon be talked about and if you keep your displays fresh and attractive - keep on displaying pictures of the best people in your town - keep your styles of lighting and posing and the general appearance of your portraits right up to the city styles, you are not likely to be worried by city competition.
From An Eastman Portrait Film Negative By Thos. H. Ince Studios Culver City, Cal.