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.
472. Each portion of the picture space should be given attention by the retoucher, as each part of the negative will require a certain amount of hand-work in order that it may be in proper condition for printing. False lights, as well as various imperfections, may exist, and should be removed so they will not detract from the important parts of the photograph.
Feathers On Hats. Frequently in negatives, where the hat is black and where very little detail exists in the black feathers, the shadows will be very transparent and detail should be worked in. Use a very soft pencil (a B or BB lead will answer) and apply the lead by holding the pencil at a considerable slant. Do not use the point of the pencil, as the lines will be too sharp and the finished result would then show the hand-work done on the negative. Follow the curves of the feather and work lightly, adding the proper amount of suggestive detail. The form and curves of the feather in the high-light part will give you a pattern to follow in the shadows.
474. When white feathers are on the hat, it may be necessary to etch away the chalky high-lights. If the highlights are very broad and hard, they can best be toned down with the reducing paste. But if detail is visible in the little half-tones surrounding the high-lights and these half-tones do not show when printed, then shadows should be emphasized by shaving the film slightly with the etching knife. The single feathers can be etched with the point of the
knife, always following the curve of the feather, and working very lightly. When it is necessary to follow the stem of the feather and make this more transparent, the point of the etcher may be used to advantage, but as a rule you will find that either the flat edge or the rounded edge of the knife will be best suited for most of the work that requires shading. Whether the subduing is done with the etcher or paste, the parts which have been subdued will generally have to be blended aitrifle with the pencil. Should the high-lights on the feathers appear flat or gray, catch-lights may be worked on the tips with a soft BB lead. If, for any reason, the etching knife should scratch instead of shave, or reduce a portion too much, such parts may be built up with the pencil so as to remove any lines or blemishes which might appear objectionable in the print.
Outline Of Hats. When using a black background and the subject has a black hat, it may be necessary to accentuate the outline of the hat in order to separate it from the background. This may be effected by an application of lead. Of course a sharp line should by no means be used - just a very slight suggestion of detail carefully worked in by using the side of a soft pencil, and then build up the little high-lights near the outline in proportion, carrying out the idea of the general shape or structure of the hat. The work required may be very slight, but no matter how little is necessary, the general appearance will be greatly benefited by this penciling. There must be some relief from the background in order to give an effect of atmosphere.
476. White hats on subjects posed in front of white backgrounds require just the reverse treatment. The etching knife must be applied to the outline and the shadows near the outline reduced in strength. This will, of course, produce relief and give more roundness to the head-dress.