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.
Groups By Flashlight. The flashlight will be found far better sometimes for making pictures of groups in the home than daylight, as it is very seldom possible to secure a sufficient amount of illumination when employing the light from an ordinary window. By means of the flashlight this difficulty is entirely overcome, for the volume of light may be made as strong as desired and it can also be placed in any position with reference to the subject.
523. The groups should be arranged in precisely the same manner as has been described in Chapter No. XXVI. The flash-lamp should be placed on one side of the camera but quite near to it, leaving the lamp as high as possible, taking care, however, that it is not closer than two feet to the ceiling.
524. If using a Nichols' lamp and you have the diffusing umbrella, turn the latter so it will come between the light and the members of the group nearest to the light, thus allowing the light to proceed undiffused to those members of the group furthest from it. If the umbrella is not employed and if you have a diffusing screen, it may be placed in the same position as the umbrella, for by diffusing the light falling on the persons nearest to it you obtain an even and uniform illumination over the entire group. The lamp being placed to one side of the camera will cause a slight shadow on one side of the faces and thus give a Portrait Lighting to each individual.
Care must be taken when elevating the light, not to jar it nor to have a draft through the room, as there might be danger of the flame being blown on to the powder. Although this danger is a very remote one, yet it is always advisable to be cautious in handling all flashlight mixtures. Too much care and precaution cannot be taken at all times to avoid accident.
Caution. Always lower a window or open a door of the room in which you are working before making an exposure. This will supply a vent for the concussion, which will be quite apparent where much powder is used.
General Flashlight Interior Photography. Artificial light forms a very convenient method of photographing many interiors, for there are times when daylight cannot be employed on account of the poor location of the windows with reference to the important pieces of furniture or other items in the rooms.
528. All the principles referred to in Chapter No. I, General Interior Photography, hold good in making flashlights of interiors, the only difference being in the illumin-ant. The camera, after having been placed in position, may be focused by having someone hold a lighted candle in various portions of the room - if there is not sufficient natural light to focus by.
529. The articles included in the angle of view should be the most important ones in the room and blank spaces should be avoided as well as any effort at over-crowding any portions of the picture. If windows are included, the opaque curtains should be raised to the middle sash and everything about the room placed in exactly the same order as it would appear by daylight.