Choosing a photographer
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Or perhaps I should say, what is your market.  It is my belief that a Studio can only have one quality.  I cannot imagine the circumstances where the photographer would put on a cloth cap for his economy sittings and a silk hat for his deluxe sittings      I think you must decide what your market is and the price for that market and if the people cannot afford you, you can send them to somebody that they can afford.  What brings all this up? The new service that we are offering of negative retouching.

Once you decide that you are going to have negative retouching, have it on all of your orders and consequently build the price in to your first print price. So this will mean that your price list will cover the negative retouching on the first print, and then extra prints are less.  I do not think you can charge your customer an extra item for negative retouching, as it is an item that will create ill feeling and arguments.  I remember the days when we did negative retouching on black and white and the arguments that were a common place when we charged a negative retouching fee.  You will have to do what we eventually did, which was bury the price in your first print price, to cover all of your extra costs that there are in making that portrait.

If you want to go good, better, best, ah la Ramsey, you can still do this by pricing your sitting fee to different levels, for the number of photographs you take and the number of clothing changes you do.

However, it could be better for you to decide what your work is worth, price it accordingly to have the number of negatives you wish to take on the average sitting, and go for it.

First of all, I believe a technique to sell large portraits is involved and centered around transproofs.  You need, what I call, a push pull projector, in other words one that you load up with a slide each time and you push it across to show the picture.  You can pick up one of these from many second hand places for $40.00 or $50.00.

Then I believe you need a zoom lens, which you would probably have to get from Kodak.  This will fit a Carousel or something else, and you would probably have to have an engineer design a fitting, so this lens will fit onto your push pull projector.  This of course is probably going to cost another $40.00 to $50.00 and the lens, depending on what you can pick one of these up for, probably around $100.00.

I believe you need the push pull projectors so that you can treat the transproofs just the same way as you would showing proofs, in so much that you put them into two different piles.  This means you can go through them and put them from one pile to another, so that you have the possibles in one pile and the not possibles in another pile.  You of course show them all at 4011x60'1size, so they get used to a big image.  The minute you show the first one, which of course is the best one at that size, you don't tell them what size it is, but you tell them the price.  For example, this is the $5,000.00 size.  Every time you change the size, you tell them again the price and not the size.  You must tell them the price immediately, so that the calculator that everybody has running in their mind, does not get started.  You want to start the calculator at your price, rather than their price, so that you have established the value.

The calculator works in this manner.  Say you hear an advert from K-Tel advertising a record and they may say, it is a record of the Beatles.  Your calculator starts off and it says to yourself, "Oh yes, $9.95".  They then go onto say that they have included in it every Rock and Roll Star for the last 10 years, so your calculator goes up a little bit more and says, "Oh yes, $15.95". As well as that they say you get a booklet describing the life of Kenny Rogers and you say, "Oh yes, $19.95".  Then they come to the punch line and say, "All this for a super value of $10.95", and you say to yourself, "Ah, that's a good value".

Now the same thing applies with portraiture.  
you show them all the various sizes without mentioning prices, their calculator starts running at the level that they think that thing is worth.  When you come up with the price, they may be in shock and they will want to go to a smaller size, because the difference between what their internal calculators said and what you have said, has been too great.

So if you start off with the 40x60, and establish your price of say $5,000.00, a 10x8 at $300.00 is going to sound mighty reasonable.  O.K.  the prices I have used are a fraction more than what you would be charging, but you have an idea of the thinking and an idea of the sales technique.  Always mention the size by price rather than size.  Use transproofs so that you can get a good, clean, bright image.  Always start off with your largest print first, even if you never hope to sell that size and mention your top price.  This will make your other prints seem more reasonable.

With this sales technique you may be surprised at what you can sell.

Finally I think it is possible to get prints at these extremely high prices, if you have the ability to produce on the negative, the quality.  We will be announcing new services later and these will help you get those prices.

We then discuss Negative Retouching which had not been done since the introduction of colour.

Now with Digital printing & PhotoShop there is a complete new ball game as to what you can offer your let us look at the situation as it was in 1984 and the ways I suggested cashing in on this new service/skill... 

Some photographers may find that people that are as old as the writer, or older, that need a lot of retouching if they are wanting to produce quality portraiture, may have to change to a 4x5 camera, so that they have an image that is big enough to be retouched satisfactorily.  This I don't imagine will happen within the next 6 months, but as time goes by, more and more will be wanting to get that differential advantage.  Particularly producing prints for the over 45's... a market that up until now has been almost completely ignored.

These people have money to spend and may have a lot of money to spend.  I believe it is now feasible for somebody to do a Phil Charis type operation in New Zealand in each of the major cities.  You only need a very small percentage of the population to be your clients and at the prices you will be charging, will be placing you in that category, providing you can produce the quality. can probably only think of a maximum of half a dozen photographers that have the capabilities of producing this quality.  Even they will have to work at smartening up their image, to move into this group of people with money to spend.

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If these people walked into your Studio, you must ask yourself, do you have on your price list a portrait that you can get in an excess of $1,000.00 should they wish to spend this much, and does the portrait and your establishment look like it is worth an excess of $1,000.00.  These people are not fools and will not pay $1,000.00 for rubbish, so the product and yourself have got to look like it is worth an excess of $1,000.00.

There will be articles in future Newsletters from Jane Conner about how to sell retouching and what you should be looking for in lighting etc.  Read them carefully.  We hope to run seminars on what the photographer must do and the sales person must do to make retouching profitable for your studio.  The market is there, we can now produce the finished product, all you have to do is to be able to take it and sell it.

Do not forget if you are sending a print in for negative retouching there must be a proof acompanying it, so the retoucher can see what is required.  If there is no proof, we will automatically do you an extra 5x4 and charge you for it.

So to reduce your costs and if you have the proof, send it in.

KODAK PROMOTION (This could apply to ANY Promotion)
The Kodak promotion, of which we have enclosed a brochure, is aimed at Family Portraits and looks like it could be a really good one to get you through those months of July, August and September.  Kodak are going to be promoting it nationally.  They have engaged an advertising agent to draw up the whole promotion, they have cut the registration down to a really economical level of $50.00 and what's more, have already organized balloons, carrier bags and handbills.

I can see all sorts of possibilities with the first of these items, balloons...
Every child loves a balloon, so I would get some Helium and blow up large quantities of these balloons and give them away to every child that can be seen, along with a handbill telling about the promotion.  Go to your local Kindergartens and Day Care Centers and give away the balloons.  Give a guarantee on the balloons so that if one bursts, all they have to do is call by your Studio to get another one, it might even make interesting reading in an advert.... Our balloons are guaranteed for 3 months, if you lose them or burst, just call by the Studio to collect another one.... Of course you have to specify that each child must be accompanied by an adult or to the contra, each adult must be accompanied with a child, another form of advertising, but it
keeps your name in front of the public and makes them aware of the portrait promotion and the competition.

Kodak say 13x18, we say 13x10.
Kodak copied this promotion almost directly from England, where they gave away a 7x5 print.  This would of been good for the lab, but I said no, make it a 13x10 (5x4) and so whilst the brochure reads 13x18, they will an actual fact be 13x10 prints that have been advertised as being give-aways.  Yes it does mean that you will have to give a free sitting and a free 5x4.  However, there are many ways around this to turn a loss situation into a profit situation and if you remember all of the Lyle Ramsey's seminars, the majority of his promotions were based on this concept.  Since then we have had the advent of transproofs and when you add this as a powerful selling tool, you could be laughing all of the way to the bank.

Remember this is a free sitting and a free 5x4.  Your client has paid nothing, so you are under no obligation to let them take the proofs, previews, originals, call them what you may, home at no charge.  It has been proven in studies overseas, that if you can go to the home and project onto the wall where they want the photograph to go, you will get a much larger sale.  This of course assumes that you have plenty of room round the image, so that you can make them big.

One photographer I know makes his clients sign for the proofs when they leave the Studio and if they are not returned within 3 days, the contract says that they are sold and they will assume the full charge.  Of course this particular Studio is not a volume operation.  They do use the telephone a lot and they do telephone their clients saying do not forget tomorrow is the day you have to return the proofs, and I think if you are going to this sort of operation, this is something that you would have to do.  I do not believe you can do this sort of thing without reminding your client, without creating ill will.

Do not forget when they call to pick up the proofs, try and get 2 people there and try to project some of the better ones, because if they go out with a fixed size in their mind, it is much easier than trying to sell them up later.

Do not forget to treat these people as if they are full paying customers and give them the full treatment.  Do not push them through a sitting every 5 minutes.  There is no use taking thousands of photographs if you do not have time to do proper selling and if your workroom cannot handle the load.  Work out how many you can handle and book that many per week.

It is my believe that if you go in for this promotion, you are going to have to be looking at handling at least 5 extra family groups per week.  That means a minimum of 60 family groups during this period and I think this is what you have to aim for, for this promotion to be what you would call a real good success.  I feel you are going to possibly have to try to aim for an average in excess of $100.00, preferably aiming for the higher level of $200.00 to $300.00 per sitting.  There are many Studios who will double or treble this minimum of 60, 50 start thinking about it now and start working out ways that suit you to promote this promotion.

I feel the best opportunities for promoting this promotion are what I call the direct method, in other words, going to the families rather than to the whole community through the newspaper.  Wherever there are families, get some brochures.  Wherever there are families, put on displays, to make a real effort to turn a loss period of your year into a profit period.