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.
Obtaining Expression. Subjects around these ages require that a different means be employed for obtaining proper expression than in the cases of adults or smaller children. Better expression with juvenile subjects can be obtained by talking on some subject of interest to children of their age. By observing the characteristics of a subject, some line of interesting conversation can readily be introduced. In other words, keep their thoughts from the fact that they are about to have a picture taken. When ready to make the exposure do not advise the child to look at any particular place or spot; but, having a long rubber tube attached to your shutter, stand at considerable distance from the camera, if necessary, and by talking to the subject its eyes will follow yours. Then at the moment when the expression appears just right, squeeze the bulb and the exposure is made.
Size Of Plates To Use. For cabinet work a plate smaller in size than 5 x 7 should not be used, as quite frequently the subject is likely to step to one side or the other of the position first assumed. With a plate of 5 x 7 size this will not matter, there being sufficient space to balance the picture well upon a cabinet sheet of paper. However, if using a narrow plate - 1/4 x 6 1/2 is sometimes employed by photographers - the space is so limited that it will be necessary to be most careful regarding the sustained position of the subject. Always use the most rapid plate possible, making exposures as quickly as the speed of the lens will permit.
Important Points To Be Considered. There are numerous points to be taken into consideration in making juvenile portraits, all requiring careful attention.
479. The first thought should be of the dress. The clothes must appear neat and tidy. Sometimes subjects themselves overlook these little details and the photographer must, therefore, be observing and see that the garments hang properly. With boys be sure that the coat is pulled down, and that the collar shows evenly about the neck. If knee breeches are worn, see that both pants-legs are of the same length. The hose must be drawn tightly and not appear wrinkled. See that the shoe laces do not hang, and for standing full-length figures, watch the position of the feet. See that the subject stands comfortably. Do not permit the feet to remain too close together. Never allow the toes to be turned in, nor permit the heels to rest together. On the contrary, spread the feet slightly, with one foot placed before the other. This will afford a most restful attitude.
Girls' Dress. With young girls the dress is apt to gather around the waist, and sometimes the collar is crowded about the neck, all of which give a bunchy appearance that must be remedied.
Arranging The Hair. The manner of hair arrangement for girls has much to do with the making of a satisfactory picture. If the hair is braided it should not be too tight. If hung loosely, see that it is fluffy and well balanced with the position of the face. The hair never appears to advantage falling at one side only. When it is allowed to fall over one shoulder, however, it will always appear best arranged over the shoulder nearest the camera. Better lines usually will be obtained when the ends of the hair or long curls, are turned in toward the center, rather than outward. If the hair is tied with large ribbons, or bows, see that they do not show too prominently. If of a light color, turning them into the shadow will prevent their photographing too strong a white, and also overcome too conspicuous an appearance.