This is a question Eddie Gibb has been asking as he's been going around the countryside and I believe that he is correct that there is really no reason why people should buy photographs made by a professional photographer...

Unless a lot of people clean up their image.   Compare the way you dress to the way Eddie dresses.

Compare your studio to Eddies studio.

You'll probably agree that why would they visit your establishment unless they are desperate, why should they take you seriously if you don't look like the professional you pertain to be.

There were several photographers at the Direct Marketing Seminar in Auckland and one of them made a remark that there was a marked difference between the people at that seminar and those that we see at Photographic seminars in the way they dressed.   I also noticed that myself.

Eddie asks what sort o business are we in ? We of course are in the Memory Business

However just stating that fact by itself is not sufficient because we have to show people the way in which we use memory.

If we have photographs on display in our reception rooms we must show photographs of those photographs being used in their final location.

This means if you have a 30 x 140 photograph on display of your family or any other family you should do a photograph of that room setting to show that photograph in use, to show that it can be used because for all your customers know those large photographs may be for display only and may never be used on location.

Never assume your customer knows anything.... ..and remember the golden rule of Direct Mail Advertising...

  • Tell them what your going to tell them

  • then tell themand then tell them what you've told them.

You will only be a success if you can show everyone of your clients the best photographs you can produce every time.

If their proofs do not represent the best you can produce then you are doing dis-service to yourself , to them and to the profession as a whole. Every photograph you produce must be the best you can produce and no holds barred.

Often I hear photographers saying that your clients see all these fashion type photographs in every magazine they read.

We particularly hear this criticism coming from photographers involved in Advertising Illustrative photography when they are talking of the faults of wedding portrait photographers.

Unfortunately the average customer that walks into your studio door has not got the ability, the looks, or the body to get into those poses you see in these fashion magazines, they don't the clothes or the ability to make-up or the training for these sort of photographs.

However it does not mean to say that you can't incorporate into your deluxe sitting the services of a beautician to make this person up.

That you can't include a fashion co-ordinater to co-ordinate their clothes. Then let your imagination run riot with the type of photography you can create but of course be aware the photograph will look nothing like your client WAS before, which of course if the "New look" is enough won1t effect the sales.

The majority of beautiful women don't have to pay to have their photographs done because everybody will photograph them for free.

Eddie talks of specials that he has run where he has given a discount on 20 x 16s in that way they come in to buy large prints.

He also talks of people not necessarily wanting to buy large prints and end up buying 10 x 8s and often being unhappy with them.

He talks of people of buying for price only without any concept of size of prints.   He talks of people buying photographs that are far too large in the head size.

There is a simple answer to all of these problems in that you can use Franz Barta system (if one is as good as Franz was ) and just have the one price right through to 20 x 16.

This means that they can have any size as they like for the one amount of money

....         but remember you must be good and you must be known to be good to be able to do this.

To avoid your customer ordering a print that is too large for the head size you must be like Phil Charis and have a discussion with them before you take the photograph.

You must explain why you are having the discussion, how important the ratio of head size is in the finished photograph and even if they place the photograph high up on a l6ft stud in their lounge the head will still look out of proportion if it is too large.

Remember everything else is relative in the room and immediately you get something that is out of proportion it is no longer the beautiful work of art that it can be but a slight jarring note.

So be professional in your approach to your customer discuss the appointment with them before you start, discuss size, discuss where theyre going to hang it and produce the results accordingly.

But to remember to do these things you must be professional in your work, professional in your approach and professional in the work that you produce.

Good enough will NOT do.

How can you convince them to buy large prints, why should they buy large prints?

A lot of the problems, I believe, is tied up in the way in which people look in the photographs.

of the work that is produced, that is creating the problem....

So I feel a lot of the answer is tied up in negative retouching and print finishing  and when I talk of print finishing I don't mean slapping Exhibitex on the top of a spotted print, I mean retouching the' blemishes out of a persons face, easing the lines, making them look the way they would like to look.

You must also make the people look rich, make them look important, why shouldn't they look like a million dollars 

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They may never look like that again they certainly won't look any younger than a photograph that you've made that flatters them.

Remember the story about clock faces you would not hang a wrist watch on the wall so that you knew the time.  A clock that you hang on the wall has to be able to be read from a least 6ft with ease so.  This is the way in which you can discuss photographs to people that the head should be big enough so that you can see the expression in everything like this from a reasonable distance otherwise you may as well put the photograph in a photo album.


Do not confuse the way in which Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Accountants operate in giving you appointments.

Doctors you always have to wait.
Dentists send you out notices telling you to come in on a certain day at a certain time.

Accountants are always very hard to get in to see.
Lawyers have to fit you in and you usually fit in with them but remember all of these things are either for your health or your wealth.

Where these things are at stake you will make sacrifices with both your time and your life style.   So you will fit your life around a Dentist or Doctors appointment.

If your going to be wiped out in a court case you certainly will find time to fit that into your busy schedule.

But a photographer most times they are considered to be nuisances and unless you can build up a following where they consider you the same as a Doctor where they will cancel a Doctors appointment to visit with you then I am afraid you are just going to have to fit your appointment book around the lives of your clients.

You are in the Service Business and therefore your business should be designed to meet that of your clientele.

If your clients find it convenient to shop with you between 12 noon and 8pm in the evening that is the hours that your business should be open.

Eddie says its a riot every Friday night in his reception room with so many people packing in.   This to me means that his hours of business perhaps should be from some stage in the day through to 9pm every night.

If this is the only time that his clients can get in this is the time that his and everybodys business should be open.        However everybodys business is different and you must study your clientele and find out what hours suit them to shop in your place of business then design your business accordingly.

Remember they do not have to have their photographs taken.

If you have to stay open till 9pm every night and I do not believe it would be every night, I believe that it should be very easy in every town throughout New Zealand (and City) to get the staff that you want to work those odd hours.

You can get some mighty good staff to work with you from say 6pm till 9pm.

Those hours would suit almost any married woman in New Zealand with small children because her husband would be home to look after the children and there are some mighty good sales people out there who would welcome the opportunity to work three hours a day and there is nothing to stop them using their telephones at home during the day to make the appointments for that particular evening.

So be flexible, open the hours in which you can do the maximum business because I believe that is what you should be in a business.... flexible.

Most of the retail trade is open on a Saturday morning these days because thats when the public want to shop.

In the States, a lot of shops are open on Sundays and do a roaring trade.

Life styles are changing, concepts are changing, keep up with that change or go out of business.

20 x 16 verses 5 x 4
Eddie was concerned about when his clients took home 5 x 4s that the image size was fixed in their minds.   They came back and ordered smaller prints because of this fixation.

Of course there is one train of thought that these should be projected for them before they see them and of course there is an equally strong argument for letting them take them home and projecting them when they come back.

I think trans-proofs may change this whole concept because they certainly cannot take the trans-proofs home with them and the brilliance of colour that you will get with the trans-proofs certainly will have an impact on your clientele that you can't get with the Paxiscope so you'll probably find that when these trans proofs become available round the end of November that it may change the complete concept of how to do business.

Don't forget the concept we have been pushing for years that you should have in your studio a sample of a Family Album that you've made up and your adding photos too, to give to your grandchildren.

You pull your customer over and show them....

'Hey, look at what I'm doing for my grandchildren' It will get your customers thinking and you are showing ways of using photographs.

You are showing your family tree in photographs.

There was a complete outline on this in a newsletter some months ago so refer back to that for the complete story.

Micheal Kordas Book ‘Worldy Goods’ mentions on page 61....

This is basically why the majority of photographs have never been completely accepted to be hung on the walls of peoples homes.

You must make your photographs look more like paintings to overcome this sixth sense resistance.

This is the reason Phil Charis’s portraits look like paintings.

This is the reason Phil Charis never has a toothy smile on display.

Can you name me one of Rembrant’s paintings that has a toothy smile? If that was good enough for Rembrant and thats the style people accept, why not investigate it, it could be the means to double your income.