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.
Color Combinations For Walls. The first consideration for either of these rooms should be the color of the walls. They should be plain and not fussy and a color should be selected which is easy to the eye and at the same time will give the best effect to the pictures displayed. Tinted walls are preferable, but in case they cannot be tinted they may be covered with some plain material. Ingrain paper would be very suitable owing to its entire lack of figures or designs.
874. Before attempting to furnish a room one should decide on a color scheme, and it is a very good rule to select two prevailing colors and hold to them, introducing as little as possible of any other tint. Brown and green make a very good combination, so do brown and cream. Green and red is a splendid combination when dark shades are used. Light colors are not satisfactory for a reception or display room, for the wall-covering should be quite dark and unobstructive so that there will be no detraction from the picture. When choosing a wall-covering, therefore, you must bear in mind that it is chosen for its value as a background for pictures, rather than for its own inherent beauty.
875. Dark green burlap also makes an excellent wall covering. Or, if one does not care to go to the expense of using either ingrain paper or the burlap, a muresco or a similar colored wash or sizing may be applied to the plaster. If, however, the walls are not plastered, but covered with wood, it will be necessary to tack on cheesecloth before papering. If burlap is used it can be fastened directly to the wood. If the walls are to be stained on the wood it will be advisable to paint them with a paint that will produce a dull, velvety surface. Any of the colors or combinations suggested above will be suitable for wooden walls. Where the walls are of a dark color, the ceiling and perhaps the border above the picture moulding should be of a cream color, for this will assist in evenly illuminating the room.
Harmonizing And Appropriate Colors For The Floor. If it is possible to have a hardwood floor use one large rug and perhaps a few small ones. The advantage of rugs is that they are easily removed and cleaned. The colors of the rugs should harmonize with the general color scheme of the room, and it is better to have as small a figure in the rug as is obtainable. It will be more effective if the pattern is of a Persian design made up of small figures. Rugs containing figures of flowers should never be used.
877. Avoid heavy draperies or any excess material hanging or laying about, which will catch the dust and dirt. This is especially objectionable for windows, as draperies prevent the light from entering the room.
Display Of Photographs. A good library table may be provided for showing large mounted prints. A counter and show-case are not recommended, as they are very obtrusive and carry with them the idea of commercialism, which is not a desirable feature.
879. For cabinet size pictures mounted on solid cards, a swinging wall bracket may be employed, containing from four to eight panels, each panel being devoted to a certain style of picture and a different style mount. The style and size of the mount, as well as the print, regulate the different prices.
880. Pictures may also be placed in large folios, which latter should be bound with flexible leather covers. These portfolios are best made of plain black leather. Avoid using the highly ornamental or gorgeous kind. Never have pictures lying about loosely, for continual handling soon soils them and soiled pictures should never be used for samples. A drawer in the library table, or a shelf underneath, is useful for holding the various albums. The albums should be classified, devoting one to pictures of men, another to ladies, one to children, and still another to three-quarter length figures, etc.
881. The prospective customers may have very definite ideas as to the position, etc., in which they desire to be posed, before entering the studio, so that the reception-room lady may save a great deal of time, after ascertaining the requirements of the individual, by turning to the proper folio and showing the customer samples of work that have been finished for other customers along the same line.
882. Pictures hanging on the walls should not be crowded. A limited number of good specimens have an effect quite different from the general tone conveyed by over-crowded walls where a multitude of specimens, varying in quality, defeat the ends of the photographer, who, by his exhibits, expects to convey an adequate idea of the class of work done. Where one possesses a large variety of excellent specimens they may be arranged in groups. For instance, small sizes may be grouped together in a section by themselves, other sizes and styles may be grouped in another section, etc. This will give the desired impression of the care that is taken with all work of the studio.
883. At one corner of the room have a desk, where all orders are to be taken and delivered. Back of this should be a cabinet of pigeon holes, in which are placed, alphabetically, pictures that are finished ready for delivery.
884. In one of the darker corners of the room, where pictures hung on the wall would not be displayed to good advantage, on account of the lack of light, you may construct a little canopy or cozy-corner, consisting of a wooden chest upholstered and covered with a canopy of Turkish goods. This will add very materially to the general appearance of the room. Where one has an art display room in addition to the reception-room, it would be more appropriate to have the cozy-corner in the art room.
885. It is of vital importance that the reception-room, as well as all rooms in the studio, be kept neat and clean. The reception-room, especially, should be dusted at least once a day, using a soft cloth. Never use a feather duster. Smoking should be prohibited in any part of the studio, whether it be the reception-room or the work-room, for certain customers may object to the odor of tobacco and become offended.