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.
557. There are times when heavy shadows will prove of great assistance to you in securing pictorial effect. However, the shadows can be made as strong or as weak as you desire to have them, by the judicious use of a white diffusing curtain placed on the window (if you make the picture indoors). A reflector of white or gray cloth thrown across a chair back will also help you in obtaining an even illumination. The greatest amount of relief and roundness can be secured only by having the source of light fall upon the flowers from the front as well as the side. If you are doing this work out of doors, you should work in the shade of some building so that the direct rays of the sun will not fall upon either the camera or the flowers.
558. The great advantage of arranging flowers on a flat surface and pointing the camera downward is that you are able to do away with tacks and strings and other paraphernalia for supporting the flowers. You will also be able to obtain any arrangement you desire, and you will find that the flowers will remain in practically any position in which they are placed.
559. If your exposures are made indoors, be careful that the doors and windows are shut, thereby avoiding possible draughts which might cause a slight movement of the flowers. The best position for the flowers is about 4 to 5 feet from the window, not on a line with the side of the window but a little back of it, the camera being placed on the opposite side, and as near to the window as possible. A reflecting screen should be employed to illuminate the shadows.
CHEROKEE ROSES Study No. 31 By Mrs. M. S. Gaines.
CHRYSANTHEMUMS Study No. 32 - See Page 314 By Dr. A. R. Benedict.
Diffusing The Light. Many flower photographs are failures on account of harsh lighting. Impressions of flowers are gathered from them as seen in the midst of a diffused and gentle light, not fixed within a few feet of the window, exposed to what is essentially a harsh illumination from a small source. Yet we must use the window in photography for the light to be controllable at all. Therefore, endeavor to soften and diffuse the light coming through it as much as necessary. To do this, one of the most effective methods will be found explained in Paragraph 549. A piece of cheesecloth will answer admirably for diffusing the light. This may be pinned to the window, and raised or lowered according to the effect you desire to secure.