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.
Exposure. The exposure should be rather too little than too much, as sharp detail is wanted only on the face. A rather contrasty negative is best suited for this class of work. Of course the actual exposure will vary according to many prevailing circumstances, but if you have about four square feet of light with the subject placed three or four feet from it, using the lens working at f. 8 and a fast plate, the approximate exposure will be three seconds.
MAKING PAPER DOLLS Study No. 13 - See Page 403 Frances B. Johnston.
Development. The development should be carried until the high-lights have attained good printing density, and no attention be paid to the shadows. The Universal Pyro formula given in Vol. II is the best to use; for with it the high-lights are not so likely to clog up as when Hydroquinon or similar developers are employed.
Printing. The most beautiful effects are obtained by the carbon process, the carbon tissue (a Black or Vandyke Brown) being printed in the regular way and an orange color paper used for a support. This orange color gives the effect of fire. Good effects are obtained on Platinum and other printing-out papers, while Royal Velox will also give good effects, as the body of the paper is of a cream color which helps to carry out the idea of firelight.
Practice Work. The making of firelight effects by daylight is no more difficult than the producing of regular portraits. All that is required is a little patience. By carefully applying this instruction you will experience no difficulty. If you cannot secure, from your hardware dealer, the fender, andirons and tongs, you can, with a little ingenuity, make these out of wood and then paint them black, or perhaps you have the requisite accessories already on hand.
430. Select a north window which will give you the most even illumination and then, near the window, place the table, or construct a small platform of suitable height; cover it with a carpet or hearth rug and set the fender in position. Draw down the curtain on the window to within two feet of the window-sill. Place your subject in position, trying to have as natural a pose as possible. A couple of children are excellent subjects for firelight studies. Now place the camera in position (which should be almost on a line with the subject, and parallel with the wall, so as to obtain an end view of the fender) and, after having secured a sharp focus, you may then find it advisable to decrease the size of the opening in the window, remembering that only a sufficient amount of light should be admitted to give the exact effect of the ordinary fireplace. If the curtain is too high, you will have too much general illumination in the room, which will result in too flat an effect. It is desirable, in fact necessary, to have a contrasty negative. While firelight is generally quite strong, yet it only illuminates those features of the individual which are directly facing it. It is not necessary to soften or diffuse the light from the window in any way, nor should you use a reflector. Aim to secure an effect similar to that shown in Illustration No. 26.
431. Be very careful not to over-expose your plate, yet give a sufficient amount of exposure to fully time the high-lights, then develop the negative until these high-lights have become normally dense. When the negative is fixed the shadows should be clear glass, the high-lights being strong enough to hold up well in the printing.
432. In addition to filing proofs of the negative thus secured, it also would be interesting to have a print from a negative showing the general arrangement of your room. On the backs of the proofs should be placed full data regarding the manner in which you proceeded to secure the results and these prints should then be filed in your regular proof file.