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.
Suggestions For Choice Of Subject. Never allow strong colors and complicated views to carry you away from the principles which will produce the most artistic results. You will find that occasionally a large view, or a view composed of many units, will make a pleasing picture, but if it does it is due to the fact that it composes well and has its proportions subordinated according to the previous rules we have given. The beginner, and even the advanced worker, should choose only simple landscape pictures. A tree, a picturesque old building, a stone fence or wall partly broken down, a portion of a river whose banks are lined with willows, or an old bridge over a brook, will form excellent subject material. These are simple subjects and they will prove excellent ones for any student desiring to advance and understand the important principles underlying satisfactory results.
Genre Work - Pictures That Tell A Story. It is a generally conceded fact that a picture telling a story belongs to the type or class of work known as Genre. Every picture should tell a story; if it does not, it fails to accomplish its purpose. A story set forth depends entirely upon the selection of the subject, and the simpler the subject the more direct and convincing will be the idea conveyed. A strong example of photographs of the Genre type is shown in Study No. 13, "Calling the Ferryman;" Study No. 14, "Fairy Tales;" Study No. 15, "The Edge of the Cliff," and Study No. 19, " Street Scene - Winter." In each of these the human figure plays an important part. It was really essential that these figures be in the picture in order that the idea which the artist intended to convey be carried out.
Individuality In Picture Making. Select the subjects which please you. Artistic work is individual, and you should, from the very start, attempt individual expression in your work. In landscape photography you have a broad field, and the quiet scenes which are prevalent everywhere form excellent subject material. A quiet country road winding out of sight in the distance, a sunset with clouds slowly darkening into night, or a river with its sheen of silver lost under the trees, are very expressive, and subjects of this class offer endless opportunities to the student possessing any artistic feeling.
257. There is still another class of work along this line, which includes life, motion and vigor, and many will be attracted to this particular phase of work more than to the quiet studies. Our advice is, however, to select those subjects which interest you especially, and then work to make them an expression of your individuality through your art work.
258. After you have satisfied yourself, by the use of your card frame and blue glass (See Paragraph 251), of the pictorial value of the scene you wish to reproduce, turn to the inverted image on your ground-glass screen and make another examination of the view.