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.
Making The Group. In using a panoramic camera in which the lens revolves about a fixed point, it is clear that if a long, straight building were being photographed with the camera exactly opposite the center of the building, with the part of the building opposite the camera in focus, the two ends of the building will be very much out of focus; even though the lens was of universal focus the ends of the building would be so much further away from the camera than the center that their images would be very much smaller. The same happens with a group, and in making a group of people it is naturally desirable to have them all, as far as possible, appear of equal size. To achieve this it will not do to arrange the individual people in straight lines, as would be the case when photographing with the ordinary camera and long-focus lens.
411. To get a satisfactory panoramic group it is necessary to arrange the people in a semi-circle, or any part of a circle, around the camera. This is very easily effected by focusing on one or two of the group, at the distance best suited for obtaining a fairly large image. Using this distance as the radius of a circle, group the remaining people around the camera at the same distance. A piece of string the length of this radius, with one end attached to the camera and the other end brought to each individual in the front row of the group will insure the correct distance from the camera being obtained. A very large group may necessitate the arrangement in a complete circle. (See Illustration No. 86.) A small group can be arranged to fall within 12, 14 or 20 inches of film length.
412. As the camera revolves on its tripod, particular attention must be given to see that the camera is perfectly level, otherwise considerable distortion will appear in parts. It is better to work the camera at a slow speed on windy days, as there will then be less chance of the wind affecting the camera in its revolution. The speed of the camera is controlled by various-sized fans giving speeds from 1/2 to 1-50 of a second. With this latter speed, fast moving objects can be successfully photographed. Panoramic groups should be made on level ground.
Development. The developing of panoramic exposures presents no difficulties, beyond the necessity of having large trays and plenty of solution. Special printing-frames can be obtained for printing the pictures.
School Groups - Out-Doors. A profitable phase of commercial group work is the photographing of classes of school children, especially in public schools. In the larger cities, these classes often average forty or more children, the majority of whom may be depended upon to buy a picture, if their faces show up well. The photographer should either make the acquaintance of the individual teachers and persuade them to get permission from the principal for him to photograph the children, or else go direct to the principal. Some principals are averse to letting strange photographers make pictures of the children, but it should not be a difficult matter to become acquainted with some of the children or their parents, and thus get an introduction into the school.
415. . The best time to do the work is in the early morning, after the opening exercises. The children are then in the best of spirits. The school yard is usually large enough, and one or two benches can always be borrowed from one of the class-rooms. Group the children in the most effective manner, the teacher in the center, the smaller ones nearest her or sitting down in front, the middle-size children on the benches, and the tallest arranged behind the latter. Very effective pictures can be made with the children at their games under the leadership of the teacher. These find a ready sale, and often can be sold to the local newspapers, as well.
416. Never attempt to joke too much with the children, especially if they are young. If they once get started laughing it is a difficult matter to quiet them when you want to take the picture. Work quickly and quietly, as there is usually little time to spare. Give a couple of sets of the pictures, mounted exactly as they will be when delivered, to the teacher as soon as possible. The children will draw their impressions of the pictures from these samples, and will tell their parents accordingly. Provide the mounts, if possible, with a little printed strip, giving the name of the class and teacher. Half a dollar will be about as much as can be asked for such pictures, but at this rate, it can be made quite profitable. Use a 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 or 8 x 10 plate and keep the faces light.
Illustration No. 86 Panoramic Group See Paragraph 411
Illustration No. 87
Prosch Flashbags. See Paragraph 420