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.
Dressing-Rooms. If possible, it is advisable to have two dressing-rooms located convenient to the skylight-room - one for the ladies and the other for gentlemen. Special care should be taken when furnishing these. In the ladies' room there should be a low dressing table, with a large mirror; and one or two chairs is sufficient. These furnishings should be of neat design, and, of course, in one style. Bird's-eye maple or quartered oak are always pleasing to the eye.
888. If you have hardwood floors use rugs, otherwise the floors should be neatly carpeted.
889. The gentlemen's dressing-room may be furnished practically the same, only the furniture should be larger and stronger. A few framed pictures on the wall would not be out of place. Off from each dressing-room should be a lavatory.
Studio Or Skylight-Room. Next in importance to the reception-room, but most important of the workrooms, is the skylight-room. It is often the case that the excellent impression of the establishment and of the work produced which is created in the reception-room, is considerably discounted when the customer enters the skylight-room, where the portrait is to be taken. If the same neat appearance is not carried throughout the studio, the customer may have some misgivings as to whether the pictures shown in the reception-room could possibly be produced in such a place and amid such surroundings. In a case of this kind the sitter's confidence will at once be shaken, and this may have its effect on the expression. It is true that people who frequently have their portraits taken have become somewhat accustomed to this, but it is not so with those who visit the photographer less frequently. With this latter class first impressions often go a long way. Even with the more accustomed ones, if they were introduced into a studio where everything was neat and tidy they would naturally be favorably impressed and have additional confidence in the work to be done.
891. The shades on the skylight and the diffusing curtains should be kept clean. There is no excuse for their being covered with dirt and cobwebs, and the photographer who has any interest at all in his business will not permit these to exist. Faded, worn, and sometimes dirty, carpets and rugs are frequently an eyesore. It is quite true that these may look all right in the finished picture, but when sitters are invited to pose on them they cannot fail to notice their condition, which is likely very different from what they would endure in their own homes.
892. Corners of the skylight-room should not be used to store worn-out apparatus or unused material, for if so used they will soon be corners for gathering all kinds of rubbish and dirt, which is to be absolutely condemned. Do not have any more furnishings in this room than you actually need, and under no circumstances allow it to become a store-room. When a background or a piece of furniture becomes old, discard it altogether, or at least remove it from the skylight-room.
893. In addition to the camera and stand, you may have a couple of headgrounds - one light or medium and one dark; two large grounds for full or three-quarter length figures, etc., - one for exterior and one interior - and also a background for group work. This latter ground, however, may be painted on the end wall of the studio, and by carlying the design around on to the tide walls it will he possible to make a much larger group than if a stock hack-ground were employed.
894. A revolving chair for bust pictures, which may be adjusted to various heights, and admit of the subject being turned from one side to another without rising from the chair, should be provided. A very simple chair will he seen in Illustration No. 7. In addition to the posing chair, one should have at least one or two head-rests, a reflecting screen, a diffusing screen and a head screen. See Illustrations Nos. 2, 3, and 6 of these different articles.
895. When selecting the furniture for the reception-room, as previously stated, select such pieces that you can use in posing subjects. This is an important item, as it will permit of your having a larger variety of accessories and enable you to photograph your subjects with different surroundings, and thus you get away from a stereotyped form of working.
896. All apparatus in the skylight room should be kept neat in appearance. Frequently the camera stands should be polished, as well as the woodwork on the camera, and lenses after long use may be relacquered. Although the instruments may produce exactly as good results in their worn condition, yet they do not give the same confidence to the customer as if they were in keeping with other surroundings.
897. The unsightly appearance of many things in the studio are not so apparent to the photographer himself as to his customers, particularly on their first visit. With the photographer the change from the new material to its present condition has been so gradual that it has been entirely unnoticeable, but one should always strive to see things from the standpoint of the customer.
898. It is a good plan to provide a small wall cabinet with lock and key, in which you may place your lenses to keep them free from dust.
899. If the floor is of hardwood, it should be wiped with a damp cloth every day. A good time is at the close of the day's business. All curtains, backgrounds, accessories, etc., should be dusted regularly. Above all, keep the room neat and clean. On account of the glass in the skylight, heat will be attracted and, therefore, the room should be well ventilated, for heat in an unventilated room is almost unbearable, and under these conditions one cannot expect to secure satisfactory expressions of the sitter, to say nothing of one's discomfort while working.
CHILD PORTRAIT STUDY.
Study No. 44
J. E. Mock
CHILD PORTRAIT STUDIES Study No. 45 E. B. Cork.
900. If there are other windows besides the skylight in the room they should be kept open to admit all fresh air possible. In extremely hot weather, when the skylight room is not actually in use, it is advisable to draw the shades to subdue the light, as subdued light has a tendency to cool off the room.
901. Plants arranged about the skylight and other parts of the room always give a cool appearance and add much toward beautifying the usually uninteresting appearance of the skylight room.