The editorial in the July issue of the magazine "MORE"  makes some rather interesting reading.

They say that whilst the sixties felt why bother with all the fuss and worry of a wedding, they thought let's just live together, it will be okay, but the eighties generation isn't going to be fobbed off with that sort of nonsense. They want the full bit in church, white gown, veil, 240 Dollars worth of bouquet, limos the lot.

This means the wedding business is not going to die.  She goes on to say that party dresses, formal wear etc.  are all back in the school balls.  Not only that, but they are being held in top hotel ballrooms with the guy hiring a glossy limousine to transport the date to the function.  If this the case, it could be worthwhile looking at your local schools and seeing if this is happening there, and if they are dressing up like this, surely its right in line for photography.

At this rate we will be back Deb balls and all the business they generated.

You may remember in the last newsletter I mentioned what ghastly photographs uncle's take, particularly if it happens to be the uncle of the Prince of Wales.  I ask you to remind me to show you a photograph of it as I visited your studio.  

I no longer will have to show you the photo, the damn thing is coming out in a postage stamp.  Look for the 35c Health stamp and ask yourself whether you couldn't do better.  The posing, the expressions, the background, its all things that give photography a bad name.

NEWSLETTER FOR OCTOBER                        Volume 80

If you're trying to make your image of your business slightly up market, when next you have a look at your reception room, display window and all the other things you look at in a cold dispassionate basis once a week, look to see if you have any items on sale.

There is a great temptation if you have stock that is not moving in the way of frames or albums, to put a reduced price sales figure on it and pop it in the window or in your reception room.

It is my belief that if you do this, you are lowering the tone of your establishment, and I quite frankly think you'd be better to send those goods off an auction mart, preferably in a town close by, and let them be put up for auction.  You may in actual fact be surprised at the money you get from an auction, it may be in excess of what you were going to reduce it down to.  The other point is, of course, that irrespective of what you get for it, you get it immediately, it is not on display in your establishment for up to several weeks or months, and you are keeping your complete display clean, tidy and with high quality stock, without any suggestions that some of your stock is either old, sub-standard, or will not sell.

Keeping track of Sales
I would probably purchase a cash register, I would also make sure that I purchased one that allowed me to divide my business up into a minimum of 30 different departments.  Now 30 is probably more than you will need, but it is best to get sufficient rather than have just half a dozen, which you are struggling with.  This of course means you have plenty of departments, you can put onto a key any particular promotion that you do, you could itemize out the different weddings from different sources, different types of portraits you're doing, the different teams, many many opportunities of finding out where your money comes from.

These cash registers, of course, you don't have to pay cash for, and you can pick them up on hire purchase, or by leasing them.

If I may quote from the October issue of Management, where they are interviewing the 1985 Operator of the Year, Ashok Bhasin, the owner of two McDonalds restaurants in Wellington, he states: "McDonalds insist that the entire business is tightly controlled.  We work on very low bottom lines, so that we have to be conscious of controls. To check wastage and eliminate over-ordering every item is counted daily. Weekly statistical reports verify that the right quantity of fries are obtained from every kilogram of potatoes, the right number of milk shakes are obtained from a litre of shake mix, the right number of serves of mustard from each bottle.

The company allows a margin for error of cost against income of only 50 cents in every $1,000.  That's the only amount we can afford not to be accounted for."

He goes on to say many many things which are relevant to any business, but the main essence in his interview is the awareness that they have of costs.

We are inclined to think in photography, that we are working with larger profit items than McDonalds will be, working with hamburgers, but you may be surprised at the bottom line on each of your units.

Just how much profit do you make from a 5x4 or 5x5?

Unless you know this, how can you decide whether to put up your prices or not. How can you decide whether to carry on with weddings or to concentrate on those to get more income.  Is your portrait business subsidizing your wedding business?

And so on and so on....

We must all become aware of just what our costs are, and what the profitability is.

There are many cash registers out now with 30 or more keys.  This of course, under most circumstances is more than most photographers need, but at $1700 they are quite reasonable.

Okay, perhaps they are not quite reasonable, but you can spread it over 12 months with most shops and they will give you time to pay, because times are hurting and cash registers aren't going as well as they should be, but most people will talk turkey.

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Now, if you have a cash register, this means that you instantly get an itemization of your sales.  For example, if your sales are portraits, wedding, schools, teams, promotions, frames, passport, commercial, albums and so forth, as you add up the sale to your customer you can press all these keys one at a time of course, and you put beside the grand total and of course on the printout that you get, exactly how much is being allocated to each department.

Now, that's one side of it, you know how much money is coming in.

On the other side, the money going out, there is no real reason why you can't use the cash register as a method of keeping track of your purchases, so that if in the first case, your money coming in is on the first 10 keys, there is nothing to stop you having the same headings on some of the other keys for the same sections, So when you send an order to the lab, enter this into the cash register as a portrait or wedding, add the films on, so that you've got a cost of everything that is going out. When you get a stock of frames in, enter into your cash register You can have keys for rent, power, telephone, car etc.

Now, if all these things are done as the sales are made, and as the goods are purchased, this means at a drop of a hat you know how much profit you're making in every section.  This means that if you want to find out how much you've made on frames, you get a total for money in and money out for frames, add on what frames you have in stock and there you have it.  What profit, if any you've made on frames.

You of course know what your fixed costs are because you have itemized them all out on the cash register keys, and as the accounts come in, you key them in, and low and behold you know exactly what your costs are right up to the very moment.

Now, to find out your total sales of course, when it prints out the total, you do have to do a little bit of more arithmetic than if you were just using this as a method for accepting your cash, but look at the advantages, you've got all your costs at a touch of a finger at any one given moment.

Of course, the keys that cover the money you spend will have to be covered up, and it would be very simple to make up a small metal cover for that, just to drop in over those keys, so that your staff have just the other keys they can see and they can use.

If you have got any questions about this at all, don't hesitate to ask the writer.

Adrianne's Wedding
The day before we left for the States our daughter, Adrianne, was married...

Rod Elmore had the pleasure, or unpleasant job of doing the photographs and did a fantastic job as Rod always does.

We took the film from the photographs that were taken before the wedding (yes they had the formals done first), rushed them off to the lab and had 10x8's back to the reception.  It of course created quite an stir amongst the guests and the quality of the colour printing even I was proud of.  They were done on a first off basis with no testing and made us believe we could start trusting our video analyzer again.

Trans Proofs
Trans proofs are flowing through the lab in great style and a good idea I learnt from England I will pass on to those that are interested.

Charles Green from Edgeware just outside London uses two projectors with a dissolve unit to show his trans views.  This makes for a smooth change from one picture to another which cannot be achieved any other way.

He has a third projector with slides of his range of frames photographed with a piece of black velvet in the center so that he can project the frame over the photograph at any size.  This saves him having a large range of frames on display and can switch on the third projector at a moment and project it.  He has his projectors concealed so that he can stand beside a wall, reach through a wall, press the necessary buttons and they show through three holes in the wall just like one would experience in a theatre.  It made for a very, very professional presentation.

Book Every Wedding
Charles books every wedding by showing couples that come in to enquire a tray full of wedding photographs and he tells me he books every wedding that he wants with this technique.

English Photographers
Charles Green is one of the photographers I first met in America and he is certainly one of the photographers who is keen on learning more.

One of the other photographers I first met in America was Peter Dyer who just received his Fellowship in the English Assn.  with a submission of wedding photographs.  Peter has been to New Zealand for two Xmas's running (his first visit was approximately 3 years ago).  He has made contact with quite a few New Zealand photographers.  To those Peter sends his best wishes and looks forward to seeing you all again.

Don't let your uncle take your photograph.  Particularly if you uncle happens to be Lord Snowden.  Chances are that Arthur Dixon will get hold of the photograph, publish them as a greetings card and you will have a shocking painted background, quite nice one of you and the misses but the kids -shocking!  That is of course if you happen to be Charlie and Di

Picked up a couple of cards at Gatwick Airport and I don't know what Snowden's forte was but it certainly wasn't portraiture   ...   I think if I had of been in his shoes I would of probably had an electric Hasselblad and burnt off half a dozen 220 rolls and out of that I would of got something of them looking right.

Next time you see me ask to see the cards, you won't believe them either.