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.
Accentuating Shadows On Dull Days. Where residences are photographed under a clouded sky the color values - lights and shades - may be accentuated considerably by stopping down the lens. For example, if you are using a stop U. S. 8, then to stop down to U. S. 16, giving practically the same exposure or at the most only a trifle more than you would to fully time a plate with stop U. S. 8, you will find this will accentuate your shadows, and you will also have a crisp and snappy negative, with sufficient exposure for the high-lights, providing development has been properly carried out in a normal bath.
99. The examples shown in the preceding lesson will give an excellent idea of the proper form of light. There is nearly always a certain time of day which will give the most pleasing rendering. Fortunately, in architectural photography the distracting color factor is, to a large extent, absent, which makes the work much easier, and enables one to see the monochrome effect more clearly.
100. In selecting the view-point, a very common error, with beginners at least, is that of selecting a direct front view. This is a mistake, for in photographing residences, especially, a straight front view is not a pleasing one, and such a view should only be selected when it is absolutely impossible to photograph from any other point. A perspective view showing the front and one side of the residence is always the best.
101. The distance at which the camera should be placed to one side of the center of the front depends entirely upon circumstances. Care should be taken to always include a fair amount of foreground, and if any large trees come within the field of view it is advisable to have some foreground between the tree base and the camera. It will not do to have the top of a tree included within the picture space and then cut off its base, without giving it any support within the picture space.
102. If there are any special features or points of interest in the architecture which are stronger than others, these dominating points of interest should be emphasized by photographing them when the sun shines on them at the proper angle.
103. It may be taken as a general rule for exterior work, that subdued sunlight falling on the building at an angle of 45° will be found to give the best results, unless some special effect is sought, in which case you must be governed entirely by the effects desired.
Leveling The Camera. It is essential that the camera be perfectly level, and as the majority of view cameras are fitted with a plumb or a spirit level, it is an easy matter to see that the camera is upright in both directions. A pocket level will be found exceedingly convenient, for it can be placed on any part of the camera. With the camera leveled, then set the thumb-screw tight, holding the camera rigid to the tripod.
105. Where lenses of good covering power are employed, it is best to level the camera immediately after securing the general view on the ground-glass, and then to rely entirely upon the movements of the rising or falling front to include the extent of the view required. If, however, the camera is tilted up and the use of the swing-back resorted to, the lens will have to be stopped down to obtain the required sharpness, for the image will be more indistinct at the bottom of the plate than at the top. This decreases the working rapidity of the lens - requiring longer exposure.