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.
Ribbons. Ribbons in the hair should receive the same treatment as draperies. The high-lights if not strong enough may be accentuated by the application of lead. On the other hand if the high-lights are hard and opaque - lack-
Building Up The Hair. In cases of under-exposure or where the hair is very dark, either red, auburn or black, there will be practically no detail in the shadow portions of the hair, and in the portrait this section would be represented more by smudgy, lifeless masses than by the detail, or, at least, a suggestion of detail, which really should exist. It is, therefore, necessary to work in detail very carefully with the pencil. Use a very soft lead (BB is none too soft) and, holding the pencil quite flat, make long strokes if the hair is straight. Should the hair be curly, follow the lines of the curls. Aim to retain the correct tone value and strive for general mass effects rather than to reproduce or form individual hairs. Sometimes this detail can be worked up by applying ground-glass substitute to the glass side of the negative and working on this side with a stump dipped in gamboge, or fine pencil filings. In employing this method use the stump very lightly, as a slight amount of the opaque substance will build up and produce shadow detail very easily.
479. As the color of the hair varies with different individuals, judgement must be exercised as to the amount of work required. Gray hair has much lighter half-tones and the lighter portions will very easily catch any strong illumination. In many cases, so intense will be this light that the etching knife will have to be employed in order to work in detail. Any hair, whether light or black, which is slightly oily, will catch the light, forming high-lights which will appear practically white in the finished print. This is actually a false light and it may be remedied by using the knife on the half-tone details in these high-lights. Strive to produce softness and have the hair appear natural, and do not overdo the work, for a slight reduction is practically all that is necessary.
480. Where stray hairs catch the light and show very opaque in the negative, contrasting with the transparent background, they must be removed with the etcher, using
the point only and following the line of the hair closely. If, on the other hand, the background is white, being opaque in the negative, and there are stray black hairs, they will have to be removed by using the soft pencil. When removing stray hairs with the pencil be sure not to allow the strokes to extend beyond the hair for if the background should not be absolutely opaque, the pencil marks would show unless kept within the transparent line of the hair.
481. Always build up the imperfections of the hair to match the surrounding tint, but do not allow either the pencil or the etcher to encroach upon that tint. Where strands of hair are etched on, careful consideration should be given to the shape of the outline of the hair. There should be no sharp points contrasting harshly with the background. Remember, curved lines are far more graceful than straight lines and angles. Do not, however, outline the hair too sharply. It must be soft not only where it contrasts with the background, but at the boundary line between the flesh and the hair. Softness adds atmosphere and beauty to the portrait. It is for this reason that women curl their hair, for the curls soften the outline of the face.
482. A careful study of the hair should be made before attempting to alter its appearance, and the beginner will find it very advantageous to proof the negative before attempting to work on it. After the first strokes of the pencil or the first application of the etching knife, another proof should be made, in order that you may accurately judge their effect.