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 Position For The Camera. The camera should be lowered as much as possible. Most infants are fat-their necks being short, and the dressing of the neck high, will make the child appear "bunchy." After drawing the garments down from the neck as much as possible, the child sitting quite erect, with the camera lowered on a level with the subject, you are ready for the exposure.
454. Owing to the long gowns in which infants are clothed, it is necessary to make free use of the swing back, to secure the proper effects of the gown and preserve good drapery. It is advisable to show all of the long dress, as it is the pride of the mother and may represent the efforts of many hours-even days-of patient study and work. Even though a fine portrait of the little one's face is produced, unless the drapery is shown the chances are that you will have a request for a re-sitting.
Background. Infants most always present a mass of white clothes, and this when shown on a dark background produces a contrast of most unpleasant crudeness. A light or tinted background is infinitely better than a dark one, as this not only does away with excess of contrast, but also helps the chance for a short exposure. Moreover, the problem of relief of white against light, in delicate tones, is one that is quite attractive. The chief feature to be avoided in this case is that of showing the baby's face too dark. With a background a trifle darker than the garment worn by the child you will overcome this and the two will harmonize nicely.
457. As we have said before, decisive contrasts will give most displeasing, harsh results. Besides, children's (especially infants') surroundings are usually dainty and delicate; so, use accessories in keeping with the subject.
Exposure. The exposure should be made as rapidly as the bulb can be pressed and released. Do not be afraid to expose a few extra plates on babies, but snap the shutter when ever the desired expression is secured, even at a sacrifice to other portions of the view. If a variety of pleasing expressions of a baby are obtained it will almost invariably result in the customer ordering from most all of them; so it pays to use plenty of plates on infant subjects.
460. For these exposures dilute by adding one-third more water to the normal developer. If any of the plates prove under-timed to any great extent, develop according to instructions for under-timed plates. (See Volume II.)