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.
Introduction. Some exceedingly interesting pictures may be made of children in the open light. A child picking flowers, playing with a garden rake, digging in the sand, attempting to push a lawn-mower, or any mischievous work for a child, will form interesting pictures, if taken when the subject is unconscious of your presence. Such pictures can be made in bright sunlight, and, of course, with a hand camera. Pictures of this nature are not made for their portrait value, but for the record of the characteristic attitudes and expressions of the little one that cannot be obtained in any other way.
417. Where it is desired to make pictures outdoors for their portrait values, the subject should not be placed in direct sunlight, for the strong light will cause the eyes to squint. Select some location in the shade, but do not attempt to make an exposure under trees which permit patches of bright sunlight to come through the branches, and perhaps fall upon the subject. It is best to work in the shade of the house, or on a porch, for in either of these places you will have plenty of illumination and should be able to make very short exposures.
418. Never have the subject facing in the direction from which the sun is shining, for even in the shade the sun will cause the subject's eyes to squint; while if facing in the opposite direction from which the sun is shining the eyes will rest more easily and appear more natural, when good expressions may be obtained.
Use Of Hand Camera. If the background surrounding the child is not dark, and if your lens is a rapid one, you will be able to hold the camera in the hand and with an exposure of 1-25 of a second, using the lens without a stop, make a fully timed negative. This requires a very fast lens. The ordinary lens attached to most cameras is not fast enough to allow one to hold the camera in the hand, as with such a lens an exposure of perhaps one-half second will be required. In a case of this kind it will be necessary to rest the instrument on some firm support - an ordinary chair or table, but better still your regular tripod. If the child is moving about to any extent, in order to avoid error in focusing and yet secure a sharp image, stop the lens down to f. 8. You will then have the subject sufficiently sharp, even though it should step a foot or two out of the line of sharpest focus, and a quick bulb exposure will be sufficient.
Securing Expression. To secure the most natural expression, the child should not be conscious that the picture is being made. Usually the most successful results are achieved when you have an assistant to help you keep the child entertained. While the little one is engaged at play you must watch your opportunity to make the exposure at a moment when it is not moving. This will, of course, require patience, and perhaps several attempts, but if out of a half dozen exposures you obtain one excellent picture with natural expression, you will be amply rewarded for the pains taken. Two excellent examples of Outdoor Photography are shown in the lower picture of Illustration No. 7 (see page 69), and in Illustration No. 25.
Developing. The Universal Developing Formula, given in Volume II, will render excellent results, but when quick exposures are made, such as are required for children's pictures, the normal developer should be diluted with double the amount of water. Care must be exercised that you do not over-develop the negative, for in doing so you flatten the high-lights and make them appear chalky. When developing light drapery it should be carried a trifle farther than dark, yet to develop a plate too far means that you lose the soft delicate effects. If, by accident, you do over-develop, the plate may be reduced by immersion in a bath of Persulphate of Ammonia. (See Reducing, Volume II.)
Illustration No. 25 At-home Portraiture Out-of-doors by Henry Havelock Pierce. See Paragraph No. 420.
AT-HOME PORTRAIT Study No. 12 - See Page 403.
Perry Studio Allegheny, Pa.