This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Portrait Too Flat. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that Schriever Lighting produces little or no shadow, and there is, for that reason, danger of over-exposure. The flatness should be overcome in the lighting, by arranging the opaque screen at a sufficient distance from the subject to cut off the direct rays of light from the side of the face you want in shadow, and also by turning the face a trifle from the light, moving the camera in the same direction that the face is turned, to retain the same view. It is advisable to give a trifle less exposure for this lighting than would be necessary for a regular Plain Portrait Lighting, and it may also be advisable to use a slightly smaller stop. Be careful, however, not to use a stop too small, for while a slight stopping down of the lens assists in accentuating the shadows, if stopped too far, however, it would result in a wiriness, making the image too sharp and hard and destroying the atmospheric effect.
High-Lights Harsh. This might be due to the subject being placed too near the source of light, and also to the use of too small a stop. If the subject is placed well back under the light no trouble should be experienced in overcoming harsh high-lights. As a general rule there is little danger of harsh lighting effects when making this particular style of portrait.
Lack Of Gradation In Shadows. This is due to improper use of the opaque screen. The screen should be placed between the camera and the subject, to supply a soft gradation into the shadow, on the shadow side of the face. Avoid extreme overexposure, as this will destroy every particle of shadow.
Relief From The Background. To produce relief from the background it must be at least four feet from the subject. In cases where the room is narrow it is almost impossible to do this, the only remedy being to use the lens wide open, as this will throw the background out of focus and give the necessary relief. If the room is extremely narrow, lower the curtains on the skylight in proportion to the width of the room. This will give more diffusion, and less harsh light on the subject and background, thus supplying more relief from the background.
Lens Too Long Focus. Little can be done if your lens it of such long focus that a cabinet-size plate cannot be used in your skylight room, so do not attempt to make this style of lighting with it In some cases, however, large heads on small plates can be made with very pretty effects. With a lens of 11 to 14 inches focus, and a room 14 to 18 feet wide, you will experience no trouble.
Exposure. Only practice, closely observing the result of each exposure made, and being guided entirely by previous periments, will enable you to determine proper exposure, Make proof prints of each negative, noting all data pertaining to their production on the back of the proofs. By comparing proof prints of various exposures it can readily be determined wherein you have failed. The general tendency is to over-expose. A safe guide would be to give a trifle more than half the exposure necessary for Plain Portrait Lighting
Light On The Subject Too Low. By carefully placing the subject nearer to the light this difficulty will be readily overcome Always have the shades on the skylight wide open, unless the room is so narrow that it is necessary to pull the top shades down in order to avoid having too much top-light. The top of the head must be as fully illuminated as any portion of the body. By observing this rule of placing the subject at a sufficient distance under the light to receive enough illumination on the top of the head, no difficulty will be experienced.
White Background Printing Gray. In Schriever Lighting it is necessary to give an exposure equivalent to that required when a black background is used. This will slightly over-expose the white background. Develop the plate strong, apparently over developing. Unless this is done the ground will appear gray, or slightly tinted, instead of being white. You must also see that the background is fully illuminated, as the exact appearance of the background will be produced on the plate. If the ground is placed too far away from the light the top of it will be gray, and will appear so in the result. To avoid this, place the subject farther under the light, bringing the background closer to the subject until it receives proper illumination.
Study No. 20
A. N. Camp
Illustration No. 33. Sarony Lighting - Portrait.
See Paragraph No. 344.