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.
Posing The Hands. With the very young child no attempt whatever should be made at posing, but with a subject from three to six years of age much can be done toward special arrangement. By watching the subject's every movement in the course of your efforts to amuse, some natural characteristic pose will be detected, which, if reproduced in the portrait, will be greatly appreciated, from the fact that it is natural and true to the nature of the child. It may require some little time for the child to rest at ease in the given position, no matter how characteristic it may seem to be. You may also be strange and must first gain their confidence before attempting to successfully pose, saying nothing of making the exposure. With this accomplished, and everything in perfect harmony, you should practically accomplish any result attempted.
437. In Illustration No. 40, page 188, is presented a few examples of hand posing of children clad in drapery, and the arrangement of the drapery. The material should be carelessly arranged about the body. If the child is plump and of good form, we would advise draping below the arms, exposing the breast, drawing the drapery over one arm and underneath the other. Do not draw the drapery tight; on the contrary, arrange it quite loosely, so that it will appear soft, dainty and fluffy. By draping it in folds, one crossing and overlapping the other softly, this effect will be produced as well as shadows and half-tones, without which the drapery will appear hard and flat.
Lighting The Drapery. Attention must be given to the direction of light, because it must fall across the subject at an angle and not from the front. A cross-light will give snap and roundness, and often by slightly separating the diffusing curtain you can produce little catch-lights, and at the same time accentuate the shadows, thereby supplying snap and strength to the drapery. Use as much light as possible on all children's pictures, and having a neutral-tinted background all portions of the portrait will require uniform exposure. Should you desire, for certain effects, to use a black background, see that it is well illuminated. Unless a background is well illuminated it will not only require a longer exposure, but will give hard, con-trasty results, which are very displeasing.
Diffusing Screen. It is well to make free use of the diffusing screen for all drapery work, thereby avoiding harsh, strong, chalky effects. Separate the curtains on this screen only enough to supply catch-lights. The arrangement of the screen should be the same as used for Plain or Rembrandt Lightings. The tan color of the curtains will assist in retaining soft drapery and produce good flesh values. If you will imagine this diffusing screen to be your skylight, using it in that manner, you will have absolute control of every ray of light and can apply it in any manner you desire. Children naturally have clear, transparent complexions and photograph more quickly than adults. For this reason there is more danger of over-exposure, by which are lost the snappy, bright, and clear light effects only obtainable with proper exposure.
Illustration No. 58a Child Costume Studies See Paragraph No. 430.
Illustration No 59 Statuette studies from life.