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.
Introduction. Probably one of the most difficult subjects to handle by means of photography is the securing of technically correct interiors. It is an extremely fascinating branch of the work, however, and by the person who will apply thought and diligent effort, making a careful study of the various subjects, and using the result of each exposed plate as a guide for manipulating the next succeeding one, there will be little difficulty experienced in rapidly mastering interior photography. However, at the outset it will be well to understand that a great deal of practice will be required before one will be able to produce work of high character. In this volume we will treat only of the photographing of residence interiors and minor interior views, as the commercial side is covered in detail in Volume IX - Commercial and Scientific Photography. By carefully observing the directions given in the following instruction, either the beginner, amateur or professional photographer will be able to secure not only technically correct pictures, but artistically arranged interior photographs.
11. For interior work there are three main points of importance to consider, which must be borne in mind at all times. If for any reason they are slighted, the final result will show the deficiency. In the first place, the arrangement of the subject material is of extreme importance, yet many times it is not possible to alter the position of objects, as, in order to have a true record of the appearance of the room, no material change must be made. Instead of changing accessories alter the point of view.
12. Spotty effects of light and shade must be avoided, as there should be but one strong predominating item of interest, which must surpass all other items in importance. Lighting either too strong or too contrasty tends to accentuate and direct the attention to that particular object.
13. The general lighting of interiors is a serious problem; one which is almost impossible to handle correctly, owing to arrangement of windows and other sources of home illumination. Frequently, far better results can be secured by employing artificial light - flashlight, for instance - in order to illuminate deep shadows which cannot be reached by daylight. This department of photography is thoroughly covered under the heading, "Flashlight Photography," Chapter No. XXX, of this volume.
14. The third matter for consideration is the exposure, yet by following the instructions given in this lesson but little difficulty will be encountered in securing proper exposure.
15. The three main points for consideration are, therefore, arrangement of subject material, securing proper lighting, and giving correct exposure.
The Camera And Lens. Any ordinary camera may be employed for general interior work, but it is most convenient to have an instrument with a rising front. If using a 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 camera the rise of the lens board should not be less than 2 1/2 inches, while if employing a 5x7 or 4x5 camera, l 1/2 to 2 inches is sufficient. Wide-angle lenses are best for interiors, as with them more of the room can be admitted into the view. However, in some instances ordinary lenses can be satisfactorily employed. The lens should be as good as circumstances will permit the photographer to procure. A single achromatic lens should not be used in any event, however, as distortion of lines is
"BONNE NUIT Study No. 2 - See Page 401 Louis Fleckenstein.
"DO YOU WANT A BITE?" Study No. 3 - See Page 401 Mrs. Nancy Ford Cones sure to result. While a good rectilinear lens will answer practically every purpose, yet, if it is possible to employ an anastigmat lens it is to be recommended, as the latter lens greatly exceeds the speed of the rectilinear owing to its more perfect correction, which enables its use at greater aperture. If the amount of exposure is of little or no importance, results exactly as good will be secured with the regular rectilinear lens fitted to an ordinary camera, but it must be stopped down to quite a small diaphragm opening. As a rule it is necessary to work in crowded positions, and for that reason a lens of great focal length cannot be successfully employed. In a case of this kind it is quite important that one should be equipped with an extra wide-angle lens, which may be attached to the camera in place of the regular rectilinear.
17. The wide-angle lens, for the majority of interiors, is almost indispensable, as with it many obstacles are overcome. These lenses may be secured in separate cells, which can be screwed into the barrel of the regular rectilinear lens, replacing the latter with the former. They are also supplied in solid barrels. The latter is really the better model to employ, because it permits of instant change from rectilinear to wide-angle, and vice versa. Possessing these two lenses, one is equipped for thoroughly practical work. A good wide-angle lens may be obtained for from $10 to $20; while the cells which can be fitted into the barrel of your regular rectilinear lens may be purchased, in a neat leather covered case, at $4 or $5.
18. For those having only a small camera, fitted with a rapid rectilinear lens only, and who do not wish to purchase an expensive wide-angle lens, or even the wide-angle cells, we would advise the selection of a wide-angle lens attachment. This attachment can be obtained for $1.00 or $1.50. The purpose of these attachments is to increase the cutting angle of the lens. They are placed in front of the regular lens and effect an optical combination, which changes the regular instrument from a simple rectilinear to a wide-angle lens. They are mounted in neat brass cells, polished and nickel-plated, with adjustable springs to fit like a cap over the hood of the regular lens. When purchasing an attachment of this kind, be sure to give the exact outside measurements of the lens.
19. In order to produce the best results and admit' as large an amount of the interior view as possible, we advise the purchasing of an extremely wide-angle lens, which should cut from 90° to 100°. The covering power and definition must be thoroughly considered. The lens should be perfectly rectilinear, and the corrections must be most perfect, in order that the image will be free from distortion to the margin of the plate. With a lens of this character it is easy to show the greater part of the room you are photographing, and at the same time procure true and perfect lines. Beginning with page 257, in this volume, you will find complete instruction on the subject of lenses.