At 20 years old in 1975, I employed 6 people full time in addition to myself. I ran a small portrait studio in Tucson, Arizona and ran two road crews to keep money rolling in. Each road crew used three people. The idea was a simple one. Offer a free 8x10 color portrait for the opportunity to sell them more.
The first guy in the road crew had thousands of pre-printed post card size cards that said FREE in each of the upper corners. The card read "In appreciation of your business, this establishment has arranged for you to have taken a fee 8x10 natural color portrait at the location in the lower right corner. A rubber stamp with changeable letters was used to stamp the date and location of the photo shoot. The first guy drove to a small town that did not already have a photography studio. A town with less than 10,000 residents. Then he made a reservation at a local motel for the following week. He then stamped the date and location of a thousand or so cards and distributed them around town. Most cashiers were happy to let him put them on the counter for customers to see. A few at the laundromat. Some at the gas stations, etc.
The second guy in the crew was a photographer. He arrived at the motel and slid the bed out of the way and set up his back drop, lights, and camera on tripod. People lined up at the door all day long and came to get their picture taken. He took 5 or 6 posed shots of each person and went to the next one. He advised patrons tht they would receive a notice in the mail to return to the same place in around 2 weeks.
The third person in the crew showed the customers the proofs. We used slides because of the superb color and ease of viewing. Customers chose which shot they wanted for their fre 8x10 and ordered a variety of wallet size, 5x7, additional 8x10s, and sometimes a larger 11x10 or a 16x20.
Customers paid and the pictures were sent.
I shot hundreds of thousands of portraits over a few years.
Minimal investment and a lot of fun.
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