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.
Figures Very Small When Entire Building Is Shown. As this is not intended to be a portrait of subjects introduced, but a picture of the building, the building being many times larger than the subject, you will not be expected to make the figures appear large. If they are placed well in the foreground they will appear larger in proportion to the size of the building. The figures are only introduced to add life to the picture.
Arranging Groups In Pyramidical Form. By this we mean a group arranged in such a manner that it is wide at the bottom, terminating in a point at the top. For example, if you have a group of ten people, arrange the principal and two other figures first. The head of the principal subject thould be a trifle higher than the other two and one of the two a trifle lower than the other, both reclining towards the principal. These first three constitute a little pyramid and are the principal of the group. Add groups of two on either side below the principal group, and then fill in the remaining three in the rear of the principal, being careful that each subject is placed between and not back of each other. In this way you will form a number of pyramids in the same group with the end members all reclining towards the center.
Judging Exposure For Groups. Only careful observation and keeping a memorandum of exposures can teach you this. If you have made an exposure and find in the developing that the plate is over-exposed, make a note of it under the memorandum you have already made of this exposure, and then when you have another group to make under the same or similar conditions, give less exposure and in a very short time you will be able to properly judge correct exposure.
Background Of Group Very Light, Faces Of Subjects Dark. This effect is produced when you face your subjects in the wrong direction. Even though the group is being taken in the shade, you should always face them in the direction from which the strongest light comes, or where the sun would be if it were shining. This rule also holds good on a cloudy day. If you fail to do this the light will be stronger behind the group than in front, consequently you will produce an effect of halation, which makes the faces appear dark and the background light.
Subjects Passing By Building Being Photographed Causing A Blur. The only way to overcome this is to use an extremely small stop and make frequent exposures. When you find that there are only one or two subjects passing and they are not directly in front of the lens, make your exposure, simply opening and closing the shutter. You may have to do this many times before you get the required exposure. Oftentimes when photographing the interior of stores it is necessary to uncap the lens or open the shutter a dozen or more times in order to get half an hour's exposure, but the result that is produced well repays for the time spent, as there will be no sign of any blur in the picture.