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. The use of flashlight in professional portraiture is not so generally employed as it would be if the photographer knew its possibilities and the ease with which results-equal to daylight when properly made - can be obtained with it.
582. It is often necessary to make sittings when daylight is very poor; or, occasionally customers will wish to come to the studio in the evening. When you are not provided with an electric lamp, but are equipped with some simple flashlight apparatus it will not be necessary to turn away any trade on account of there being no daylight with which to work. Then, too, every studio should have a flashlight apparatus as a part of the regular equipment, for frequently orders are received that call for the photographing of parties, banquets, general interiors, etc., outside the studio, in which case a portable source of illumination is necessary.
583. Of the many forms of apparatus employed in the use of flashlight compounds, we have selected the Nichols' lamp to make the examples illustrating this instruction. The Nichols' Professional Lamp, with standard and diffusing umbrella, shown in Illustration No. 80, is perhaps the most serviceable all around flashlamp, of reasonable price, on the market. The cost of operating it is extremely slight, for in making an ordinary cabinet portrait only a sixth of an ounce of powder (costing approximately three cents) is required. It is not necessary to change any arrangements in the studio, for the flashlamp may be set in any convenient place, so long as the light from it will fall properly on the subject.
584. The diffusing umbrella which accompanies the Nichols' machine is a valuable attachment. It not only diffuses the light, but also distributes it evenly over a large surface, so the effect produced is such that the portrait made by flashlight is in every respect the equal of one made when daylight is employed.
Illustration No. 80. Nichols' Professional Flash-Lamp.
See Paragraph No. 583.
Caution. There is little or no need of cautioning the photographer with reference to the handling of flashlight powder. No difficulty whatsoever will be experienced, nor should any accident occur, if ordinary precautions be taken. It goes without saying, that when subjected to heat or fire of any kind the flash powder will explode; therefore, care must be exercised, in handling the powder, to keep it from fire. The powder should always be distributed on the pan of the machine before the alcohol lamp is lighted. When lighting the lamp, always stand at the back of the lamp and at arm's length from it, and also arrange the lamp a trifle above the level of the face. Then, if, for any reason, the powder should be ignited, there will be no danger of its doing harm. There is not one chance in a hundred of any accident occurring. In, fact, if proper care be taken no difficulty in any form whatsoever will be experienced; but we give the above caution so that the correct method may be employed in proceeding to prepare the lamp for the flash.
See Paragraph No. 587.