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.
Small Groups. These should present no difficulties other than those already described in previous instruction. The skill of the photographer will show itself in the arrangement of the individuals and the selection of suitable background material. Illustration No. 84 shows a battalion of soldiers in camp, in which all the requirements of good commercial grouping are preserved. The background of tents and trees is appropriate; the ends of the group are not too square, and there is little difference between the sizes of the faces in the front line and those in the rear, all being equally sharp. In Illustration No. 85 grouping of a different kind is shown. This is equally as effective for a company picture, but not as a picture of the individual members, yet will sell readily on account of the memories it recalls.
Convention Groups - Indoors. This is work of a more difficult nature. Usually it requires expert flashlight knowledge to get the most successful results, and we treat of this in another chapter in this volume. In most cases the photographer is allowed to take the picture from the stage or platform, his flashbags or machines being distributed throughout the hall, to give as even an illumination as possible. The use of a normal focus lens is not always possible. A wide-angle lens will generally have to be used, but it should not have too short a focus; otherwise the faces of the people at any distance from the camera will be very small.
Panoramic Groups. A very effective and pleasing (because out of the ordinary) form of grouping can be accomplished by the aid of the panoramic camera. This instrument, in its most perfected form, is best represented in the Cirkut camera, made in various sizes by the Century Camera Company. There are other forms of panoramic cameras, but this one is typical and gives the most effective picture.
Description Of Camera. The Cirkut camera is provided with a long bellows, so that a long-focus lens can be used, giving better proportions of picture than with the ordinary panoramic instrument. The lens is relatively stationary, while the sensitive film (plates cannot be used) is relatively moving during the exposure. The film moves past a narrow vertical slot, at the back of the camera, at a certain speed, which is in proportion to the speed with which the camera itself revolves. A special tripod has to be used with this camera, which has a revolving apparatus attached to its base (enabling the camera to make a picture of 360 degrees, or a picture of any length up to that). The revolution of the camera can be stopped at any point. A scale on the top of the tripod shows at a glance where to stop the camera for any desired length of picture. One pressure of the bulb attachment starts the camera and another pressure stops it.