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.
The View Of The Face. There are also times, as previously stated, where one side of the face presents a better profile than the other, for the reason that the qualities that are lacking on the one side may appear stronger on the other, for by their shape they project or recede more when viewed from one side than they would from the other. Consequently, all this must be taken into consideration when posing and lighting the subject.
356. Where you are working in the home by an ordinary window, unless the room is sufficiently large to admit of working from either end you will be somewhat handicapped for space in which to work, for where the profile style of picture is desired you may not always be able to take advantage of the best side of the face and yet light it properly in the small room you have at your command. For instance, you may have a subject with better lines on the right than on the left side, yet the room in which you are working is such that you cannot shift the subject to the other side and have sufficient space in which to work your camera. You will, therefore, necessarily have to sacrifice the drawing and give preference to your facilities for lighting. This is not necessary when you have a large room and can work from either end of it.
357. As before stated, in the majority of cases you will find the left side of your subject will supply the best drawing. It is, therefore, advisable, when selecting a room for the making of your portrait work, that you choose one so located that your subject may be photographed from the left side.
358. In making this style of lighting place your background close to the side wall. It will be necessary for one end of this ground to be set very close to the window, and, perhaps, if you are working in a crowded place, you will need to have it lap over the window a foot or so. Place your subject in identically the same place as you would for an ordinary Rembrandt Lighting; that is, not more than two or three feet from the source of light, thereby making free use of all the light coming from the window to supply the necessary illumination. With your diffusing screen drawn to one side of the window, the illumination upon the subject may seem harsh and strong. If so, raise your diffusing screen and draw its curtains sufficiently to subdue the harsh lights. This screen (the curtains of which are made in sections) is so arranged that you may separate any portion of the curtains and admit any amount of direct light you may require. Care must be exercised in admitting your light through the screen that it does not extend beyond the profile of the face. Your strongest light, as before stated, should rest on the forehead, the next strongest on the nose, following down tipping the lips and chin, and finally blending off into the drapery.
Illuminating The Background. It is essential that the background in this style of portraiture receive some attention. You undoubtedly have seen profile portraits where the face seemingly was sunk into the background instead of standing out in relief. This is because the operator, in lighting his subject, paid no attention to the illumination upon the background, leaving it in total darkness. It is exactly as essential that the background be properly illuminated as the subject, for it supplies a part of the picture; therefore, separate your curtains on the diffusing screen in order to supply catch-lights on the subject, also separate them at the end of the screen next to the background. You will then, when securing the proper lighting effect on the subject, illuminate the background as well, giving good roundness to the portrait and supplying the desired background relief.