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.
399. Children from two to twelve years of age lend themselves admirably to the securing of drapery pictures. The photographer with some idea of lines and composition (which are quite essential for the successful draping of his little subject) will, with a little care, be able to secure some very beautiful effects. By the carefully careless arrangement of simple drapery the interest of such portraits is centered in the face, where it properly belongs, thus making this class of pictures more artistic and always to be admired.
Class Of Goods To Use For Draping. Any soft goods may be employed for draping. The best material, however, would be a delicate chiffon, of a pink color. Never use blue. Pink and a delicate Nile-green are the best for all-around purposes. From two to three yards will be sufficient for any purpose in which you may require its use.
Arranging The Drapery. Apparent carelessness should be at all times introduced in fixing the drapery, for set arrangements are undesirable and should always be avoided. If the drapery is drawn tightly about the figure the child will appear uncomfortable and difficulties will be encountered in securing a pleasing result, while if the drapery is arranged loosely and fluffy, more soft and dainty effects will be secured. When draping your little subjects exercise care that the drapery is arranged in soft folds, and not perfectly flat, for the folds in the drapery supply your lines, which are important in the making of the picture. Without these folds you would have no high-lights or shadows, and the result would appear flat, which is very undesirable. Many times the drapery may be arranged in a manner that will assist in breaking up the straight parallel lines which frequently run from the shoulders toward the front of the figure.
402. The drapery shown in Illustration No. 22, as you will observe, has been carelessly arranged over the the one shoulder and underneath the other arm, with the ends of the drapery loosely gathered in the right hand and held before the little subject, thus supplying an easy, graceful position of the hand, and also giving a careless and unpretentious arrangement of the drapery. By this arrangement the lines from the shoulder have been partially covered and broken, while the new lines formed have pleasing curves and angles, which give a more pleasing effect.
403. Where a child has long or curly hair, it should be placed about the shoulders, hanging loosely, and arranged in such a manner as to break up straight lines. If the hair has been curled these curls should appear loose, and not be allowed to hang straight and stiff, for in such a position the edges would form parallel lines. Where the hair hangs over the shoulders the ends should slightly curve inward, and not outward.
Posing The Hands. Children usually unconsciously assume very graceful positions of the hands. They are not conscious of posing for a picture, and, in consequence, almost any turn or fold of the little hand is void of any attempt at posing. While many little ones, placed before something upon which they can rest their arms, will unconsciously fold their hands in some graceful attitude, there are others, however, who may be a little backward but will very readily assume a position of the hands with a little coaching. A good way, under such circumstances, to obtain a perfectly natural pose of the body, head and hands of children, is to show them by assuming the desired position yourself. Then, with a little assistance from you, they will take the same position. In many instances they will drop into it in a graceful, natural manner, and you will have but little correction to make in obtaining the pose desired. A few words of encouragement during these moments will bring them in closer touch with you.
Illustration No. 22 Child Drapery Portrait See Paragraph No. 402.
Illustration No. 24 Statuette. See Paragraph No. 408.
Illustration No. 23 Hand Posing. See Paragraph No. 406.
405. The posing of the hand in children's portraits - especially when the children are garbed in dainty drapery - aids considerably in producing artistic results, as the arrangement of the hands adds to the drawing of the finished portrait. Of course, all children are not graceful, and those who lack this quality should not be posed in such positions as would seem unnatural. Children should be portrayed as they really are. A child void of grace should be photographed as simply as possible - any other attempt would be fruitless.
406. In Illustration No. 23 is presented a very simple, and yet artistic, specimen of hand posing of a child clad in drapery. The material was carelessly arranged about the body, falling over one shoulder and underneath the arm of the other. You will observe that the drapery falls over the shoulder on the high-light side of the face. Where one shoulder is to be bared always have this shoulder in shadow. If the child is plump and of good form, it is advisable to drape below the arms, exposing the breast. Do not draw the chiffon tightly, but, on the contrary, arrange it very loosely, so it will appear soft, dainty and fluffy. By draping the chiffon in folds, one fold crossing and overlapping the other softly, you will produce this effect and supply shadows and half-tones, without which the drapery would appear hard and flat.