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. The actual cash returns for those who make a business of photographing children in their homes is a most attractive feature; while to those who desire to take up the work for their individual pleasure, and as a means of recording their own children in different attitudes, portraying their characteristics and securing pictures which are many times impossible for the professional photographer to produce, photography in the home becomes of invaluable service.
373. The father, mother, brother or sister, being perfectly familiar with the child subject, is better able to secure natural photographs of it in its different moods and attitudes than a professional photographer at the studio. The child is under no restraint whatever in the home and will assume most natural poses, while at the studio, among strangers and strange surroundings, it may become self-conscious and most unnatural in manner, and oftentimes unruly, either from fear or perhaps restraint. The many advantages of photographing children in the home are, therefore, very apparent.
374. The photographer who makes a business of photographing children, whether in the home or studio, in order to be successful must have a natural liking for children; otherwise it would be far better to leave this field of work entirely alone. One must be ready at all times, and under all circumstances, to do or say something that will interest the little subjects, for by this means their confidence is gained and held, which is absolutely essential if satisfactory results are to be obtained. Although the modern studio is usually equipped in a most perfect manner for the photographing of children, these little subjects appear more natural in their own home than in the studio, and for this reason the opportunities for obtaining a variety of interesting expressions and natural positions are far better. The principal requirement, aside from thoroughly understanding the manipulation of the instrument and the proper lighting of the little subject, is to gain its confidence, and with this accomplished the balance of the work is easy.
375. Comparing the two classes of persons who attempt to photograph the child in the home - the professional photographer and the amateur photographer - we find that the amateur who photographs his own children will invariably produce more pleasing pictures than the professional, as he understands his own children far better than any stranger, and for this reason he is able to secure expressions and positions that are perfectly natural, although his finished results may not be the best obtainable. But even this difficulty may be surmounted after a little practice and the application of the instruction which is to follow, as well as the instruction contained in the other volumes of this library.
Brief General Instruction.
Principal Requirements. The principal requirement for the securing of portraits of children in the home is plenty of illumination. For infants the easiest and most simple method is to arrange them in a one-armed chair, commonly known as a three-cornered chair; or, a corner of a couch will answer very nicely. Place a sofa pillow in the corner and arrange the infant leaning against the pillow, and not sitting on it. Have it sitting quite straight. By means of such an arrangement as above mentioned it need not be fastened, for by placing it in the corner leaning against the pillow, the child cannot easily fall forward. In Illustration No. 21 is shown a series of infants' and children's pictures, very simply arranged, which are along the lines just suggested.
Illustration No. 21 - See Paragraph No. 376 Series of Infants' Pictures.
Illustration No. 27 See Paragraph No. 435. Group - Pyramidal Arrangement.
Illustration No. 28 - See Paragraph No. 436 Group - Pyramidal Arrangement.
Study No. ii - See Page 403 .FAIRY TALES.
Mrs. Nancy Ford Cones.
377. For children from one to five years of age a sitting or lounging position will be found most suitable, and such subjects are best handled when given something to do - some toy to play with, a picture book to look at, etc. Where toys are employed the subject may be arranged on the floor near a window. If picture books are used a lounging position on a sofa or large chair is best, or a table may be worked in as an accessory, with the child leaning on the table, etc. Any position that seems careless and natural cannot help but please.