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.
Proper Expression. Expression is secured entirely by the manner in which the child is entertained. Never lose interest in the subject, no matter how trying it may be. Lose patience and you lose the desired expression and general effect. Patience is really the key to successful child portraiture.
Posing In The Nude. There is a limitless variety of poses that may be secured of these innocent little subjects in the nude, or in light drapery. Frequently they lend themselves to the making of beautiful statuette pictures. Their almost perfect little forms can be photographed standing, with a tiny drapery caught in one hand, draped carefully across the trunk. They can also be arranged sitting, with drapery caught on the back of the chair or any other accessory. A chair may be chosen for a support, allowing the drapery to fall gracefully across the lap, one end carelessly falling over one limb, or over one limb and under the other. Aim to have the drapery as loose and flowing as possible. Under no circumstances should it be drawn or caught up tightly.
442. When the little figures are intended for statuettes they should be arranged standing or sitting on some base to form a pedestal. A plain square box or regular pedestal may be employed for a standing figure. For a sitting position a small table would answer. When the pedestal is used the subject should be placed at least two feet from the floor. A plain black background should be employed, and the ground must not face the light, but be turned away from it. An undiffused open light should be employed. and the figure posed so as to receive strong light from the side. The reflecting screen must be made free use of to offset the shadows. The hair should be lightly powdered. Where drapery is employed it should be a very fine, delicate chiffon, pink in color.
443. The exposure must be rapid; therefore a strong light must be employed. For statuettes, the subject should never be looking at the camera, but posed in some attitude with eyes cast down, or with attention attracted to some other point than the camera. (See Illustration No. 59.)
The Pedestal. The pedestal may be shaped by after-work on the negative. This is done by means of the etching knife and retouching pencil. The entire background is scraped away, leaving nothing but the figure and pedestal as you desire it. For instruction for etching backgrounds see Volume X.
Pictures Of Babies. There is little that can be done in the way of posing infants. In some instances, the picture of the infant's first dress is considered about as important as the picture of the baby itself, therefore, care must be exercised that the dress hangs nicely. Always turn the figure slightly from the light so that the dress will be in slight shadow. This will give better detail and more softness in the drapery.
446. For the ordinary photographing of infants the easiest and most simple method is to arrange them in a chair having but one arm, commonly known as a corner chair. A plain sofa pillow may be placed in the corner and the child leaned against it. The pillow should be as plain as possible, however, having no large figures in it. By using the corner chair with the pillow properly arranged, it will not be necessary to fasten the child, as there is very little likelihood of its falling. The mother or an assistant should, of course, stand within a few feet of the baby, so that if any sudden lurch is made, no accident will occur. (For examples of Baby Photography, see Illustration No. 60.)
Illustration No. 60. Examples of Baby Photography.
See Paragraph No. 446.
Illustration No. 6l Mother and Infant.
See Paragraph No. 447.