I AM always interested in the machinery of a photographic studio. The sales room is an interesting place, too, but I like to get behind the scenes and see the wheels of the actual producing end of the business go round.

There is always more or less in the method of production that is interesting and one often gets ideas that are so obvious to the man who uses them that he never thinks to mention them.

In the particular studio that I have in mind the proprietor always said, "Help yourself," to any one of the profession interested in his methods of working.

He had long since passed that stage of imagining that he could maintain a certain supremacy by secret methods of working.

A broad minded man soon learns that only by giving freely of his knowledge can he expect to gain knowledge. So when I said, "Mind if I go in to see George?," he quite naturally said: "Go to it, maybe we have some new stunt you can use.

That's quite a bit different from the way photographers once talked, but in the long run it's the best policy.

George is a good printer and always has a snappy assistant because he teaches him everything that he himself knows. It was a real pleasure to watch them turn out their prints. And I soon learned something.

When George finished printing from a negative he turned it over to "Billy" with some such instruction as: "7 x 11, 6 seconds or 10 x 14,10 seconds," and "Billy" in turn put the negative in a Projection Printer close by and made a print of the size indicated, giving the exposure as instructed.

Naturally I was interested. I asked some questions and this was what I learned: Practically every negative that went through that printing room had a print larger than contact size made from it. The exposure for the large print was judged by the exposure for the contact print. Some of them were made on order - some only on "sales prospects." I don't like the term "speculation."

I watched the printing carefully. I noticed that George's instructions in one or two cases called for the use of the Diffusing Disc. I also noticed that the larger bromide prints were of excellent quality and of course they were made very quickly.

"Smith must certainly have a good selling plan," was my thought but Smith himself couldn't see anything novel about it. "We have plenty of samples of large prints, not too large for mounts or folders, however, and when Miss Price takes an order for contact prints she always explains about the larger prints, how much quality they have, how suitable they are when one wants to give one photograph that is just a bit different; possibly to mother or dad or to the one girl or boy."

Smith had a lot more to say about the tact Miss Price uses in selling, but you will get the idea. Occasionally a sitter likes soft focus work but is having a picture made for the family and is afraid they won't like such pictures. In such a case a soft-focus print is made from the sharp negatives.

"But don't you have a lot of these prints left on your hands?" I asked.

"We don't have enough of them left for samples or window displays" was Smith's reply. "Miss Price is either a mind reader or just an extra fine saleswoman, I don't know which, but she sells the prints and people like them. And you know that every extra print over a regular order makes just that much greater profit.

"But if you happen to know of anyone looking for a receptionist just tell them they needn't look this way. I have just made a new contract with Miss Price and we are both satisfied with it. I'm going to keep her if I can."

There is a real economy in the use of Super Speed Film, especially in the photographing of children. It eliminates the waste from under-exposure and moved subjects - enables you to make fast exposures, fully timed.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Sidney Riley Sydney, Australia.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Sidney Riley Sydney, Australia.