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.
Ingenuity Brought To A Test. Then, too, it must be remembered that it is not the photographs most easily obtained that sell best. The newspaper camera man must exercise the greatest ingenuity, the most daring resourcefulness. This is not always at hand, as it would seem. If one can get a better photograph of a procession or some other event by climbing a tree, the extra exertion will be forgotten if his pictures sell over those of the man who remained on the ground. Always bear in mind, if one man can do a certain thing, another, most likely, can do the same; never be discouraged by seeming obstacles. The photographer who shows the greatest resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles is the one who commands big prices for his work.
448. One of the best photographs ever made of an excited political gathering on the street was snapped by a man who climbed to the top of a ladder, far above the heads of the surging crowd. At another time this man stood on the sill of a window in the twelfth story of a big office building and photographed a parade in the street below, while two men held him to prevent a fatal fall. He secured a picture that was unique - the marching men below resembling pigmies - and that was why his photograph was better than any taken by his rivals. The peculiar angle was such that he could not have made the exposure simply by leaning out of the window; he was obliged to stand outside it and lean far outward.
449. One of the best photographs of an impressive religious service was made by him, in a church, while standing on a pedestal some eight feet tall. It happened that this elevation gave the best light and afforded the best view. His pictures sold in preference to any others.
450. The newspaper photographer must learn his business through experience, always bearing in mind that "news value" and "action" count best of all. The pictures most difficult to obtain are usually the most prized by editors.
Know Your Camera. One of the earliest fundamentals to be impressed upon the photographer is, get acquainted with your camera; learn exactly what it will do and what you can do with it. The most successful newspaper photographers use a hand camera of the reflex type, with a focal-plane shutter. One cannot do much with a camera smaller than 5x7. These pictures can be enlarged if desired. For flashlights, big gatherings, etc., the size runs up to 11 x 14.
Good Lens - Fast Plates. One should have the best lens obtainable and the fastest plates - plates that maintain their quality in all temperatures and do not harden in winter or soften in summer. The plates recommended for Press Photography are Lumiere Sigma, Hammer Red Label, Seed Gilt Edge (2?) and Cramer Crown.
Exposure. The length of exposure for pictures of different kinds must be learned through practice - it does not take long. The speed table that comes with the reflex camera gives the exposures necessary under ordinary circumstances, ranging from 1-5 to 1-1000 of a second. The higher speed, however, is largely guesswork. Every amateur knows that on dark days, or toward evening, a longer exposure is necessary than in the bright light of mid-day.