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.
Stops To Use. The size of the stops to use in making group pictures will depend upon the lens employed. For portraiture you do not want extremely sharp, wiry effects, so focus with an open lens. In arranging your group, should it be a large one, adopt the form of a semi-circle, placing all members of the group at about the same distance from the lens. In this way you will be able to obtain a good focus, and sufficient sharpness with a medium sized stop - usually F. 8 will be sufficient. With this large stop, 1 second exposure should be about right.
Commercial Buildings And Business Thoroughfares. In photographing commercial buildings and business streets, proper effects can only be obtained when there is animation and life presented in the picture. For instance, they should show people looking at window displays and walking along the sidewalks, wagons and cars in motion; in fact, everything that goes to make a business thoroughfare. If a single building bearing a flag staff is being photographed, the flag should be flying. If it is a factory and there are smoke stacks, smoke should issue from them. To illustrate: Compare the effect of a picture of a large department store made when the streets are deserted, with one where the people are looking in the windows, customers going in and out of the store, express wagons delivering, etc. You will readily see that the last picture will tell a story, while the former is misleading and gives a false impression. (See Illustration No. 20).
Public Buildings, Banks, Office Buildings, Churches, Etc. In photographing such buildings, or street scenes, it is absolutely necessary that the lens used be a rapid one. The rectilinear type is the best, as it will cover the entire plate sharply without using a small stop. The extreme speed of the shutter should be applied, a fast plate should be used and, of course, such pictures should only be made in bright sunlight.
104. Public buildings are usually located along busy thoroughfares and frequently it is difficult to obtain the proper light to give as much prominence as possible. Bank buildings, for instance, are usually low and squatty and should be photographed under a high sun, which will supply long and almost perpendicular shadows. With a high sun and a low view-point the building will appear tall.
The Best Time Of Day For Making Architectural Views. At mid-day the sun, being directly overhead, will hardly lend any artistic shadows to the picture. The shadows on the building caused by projections and trimmings, will be long and perpendicular. Usually short shadows in proportion to the size of the building produce the best results.
Making Exposures At Mid-Day. There are buildings, however, so located that if photographed near the noon hour the projections supplying long perpendicular shadows produce good effects. We reproduce herewith such a building. (See Illustrations Nos. 21-22). As this building is quite wide in proportion to height, it appears to better advantage photographed at or near noon, when the sun is highest. You may then obtain the longest shadows possible and these add to the apparent height. This building faces southwest and if photographed an hour earlier would have no sunlight on the front, an hour later none on the side. Besides, being located in a business block, the buildings opposite would then throw heavy, objectionable shadows into the view. Illustration No. 22 was taken a trifle later with the sun under a cloud, and is a good example of the flat, undesirable results obtained by photographing a building of such proportions with no long shadows to add to the height and give relief to the ornamental decorations. Although Illustration No. 22 was diaphragmed down in order to accent the shadows, and the plate was developed so as to obtain all the strength possible, it does not compare with plate No. 21.