To get bold prints from flat negatives, cut a piece of tracing-paper about the size of the negative; with a little dab of paste in each corner, attach it to the back of the negative. "With a No. 2 Faber pencil lightly touch up the lights on the paper, softening the strokes by rubbing with the ball of the finger. Great care must be used in doing this to avoid harshness or unnaturalness in the lights. Turn the negative over, and by looking through you can decide whether there is enough or too much lead on the paper; in the latter case, remove the surplus with a common pencil - rubber; cut this to a sharp point, and you can obtain the utmost accuracy and gradations in your retouching on the paper. A negative thus doctored should be printed under ground-glass; and thus a soft, bold print can be obtained from a weak, flat negative. Care, practice, and judgment are the chief necessaries to obtain success in this manner of manipulation. - John L. Gihon.
294. The method I adopt to conquer all the difficulties is this: eschewing retouching with brush or pencil on the film, risking the further deterioration of the negative, I make light finish the task it has, from want of time or bad quality, insufficiently done, and in such a manner that no hand can hope to rival its delicacy and precision, and this is the only plan that a lover of his calling can justifiably pursue. A cliche produced under the conditions before made will present the high-lights of the face, the light parts of the costume, white lace, white lace collars, sleeves, etc., in violent contrast with the darkly shadowed parts of the face, under the eyebrows, under the chin, portions of the hair, dress, and accessories. I take the negative and place in contact with the collodion film a sheet of thin, yellow-colored tracing-paper the size of the plate. This I rest against the glass square of the window, so as to cause the light to traverse the two. I then sketch with a pencil the outline of all those parte which are too strongly intensified on the negative and require tinting. I then remove the tracing-paper and cut out with the fine point of a knife the pencilled parts corresponding to the dark parts'of the cliche; and I lay down in the printing-frame this tracing, which may be called the tinting - paper, and cover it with a sheet of sensitized paper, and expose to diffused light. It is here that the judgment of the printer is brought into operation, for some of the apertures will require more or less exposure to rectify the defects of the negative, and which should be covered up with any non-actinic substance until the whole of the uncovered portions of the sensitive paper have acquired the necessary tint, the yellow - colored tracing-paper preserving the rest from the action of light. Some of the outlines of the tinted portions may be lightly pencilled on the back, to facilitate the adjustment of the sen-sitive paper to the negative in the printing-frame, the shutters of which are then closed, and the whole is exposed to the light until the print has acquired the necessary force, when it will be found that the tinted parts have now all the details of the photographic image in a moat surprising manner, not otherwise obtained. It is as if those parts previously exposed had been rendered more sensible from some contaminating action; there are no lines nor over-lapping, but the image is beautifully modelled, and the first tinting disappears in the pro-duction of a complete picture, the agreeable result invariably obtained when the operation has been carefully executed by any person worthy of the name of a photographic artist - Adam Salomon
295. That it will be seen that much may be done to modify the nature of a negative.It may be still more elaborately changed, and additions made.- to it by the pencil pencil and various means. A patent has been obtained for a process which consists in holding the plate over a gas flame or lamp until it is fairly smoked, and than with the stump and brush working up such additions and alterations as are wished for in the way of backgrounds and accessories. An artist may produce very tasteful results in this way, but it has caused some very evil effects to be offered to the public.
Here is a hint for producing improved effects in portraits or landscapes, and no patent for it. I hope it will not be cast away because it is cheap. Place a piece of glass on the collodion side of the negative, and, looking through the two, you will see what effect is wanted, and where. With sepia, Indian-ink, or any water color, paint upon the plain glass the effect you wish it to be upon the finished print - say clouds, or anything that is pleasing. This is all supposing the negative to be taken with a white background, or masked. Then take a piece of sensitive paper fine in texture by a transmitted light, and print that which you have painted upon the glass; you may darken the centre where the portrait falls in a vignette form, if you wish it, so that no mask will be required. When this print is fixed, wax it, and then use it to print in the effect in the print after the portrait is printed. This prepared negative, I will now call it, on paper, will do for any number of varied portraits. - John Eastham..
296. The practice of touching up negatives on the back has long been resorted to with more or less success by photographers, and when skilfully applied is of great value as a means of enhancing the effect of their work. The method generally adopted for the purpose of producing a surface adapted to receive the lead - pencil or other material employed, is to cover the back, or a portion thereof, with tracing or other thin paper; but it is open to the objection that, unless the back be covered entirely, and the progress of the printing necessarily impeded, a line is produced wherever the material is brought to an edge. In the plan I am now about to describe this disadvantage does not obtain, as the edge of the retouching surface may be softened off to any desired extent. The process is as follows: Place the negative to be operated upon face down on a pad of blotting-paper, and distribute a small quantity of emery powder and a few drops of water over the portion you wish to modify; then with a piece of glass (I use a cube of about an inch and a half) grind the back with a circular motion. This, when sufficiently done, will give a grain of about the same quality as that of an ordinary focussing - screen, and one eminently adapted for working upon with black-lead pencils. Clouds may be put in by an artist very effectively with a blunt piece of black-lead on the back of landscape negatives, the lights being heightened with Indian-ink. Of course