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.
Introduction. The field of copying offers much of real interest alike to professional and amateur photographers, yet it is a branch of the work which is considerably neglected, due, no doubt, to the lack of knowledge of the simplicity of the operations.
461. The copying of old pictures, prints, drawings, paintings, etcetera, requires care and much thought. To the professional a practical knowledge of the methods of copying means a very profitable part of his business, while to the amateur the ability to reproduce old pictures offers an opportunity abounding in much pleasure and usefulness. There are many old pictures which in a very short time will have faded so completely that the outline and all resemblance will be past recognition. There is seldom a home where there are not to be found prints, pictures or records of priceless local or personal interest, that should be copied in order to save their remembrance, at least, from total loss. It is very desirable then, to impress upon you the simplicity of the operations necessary to copy and reproduce any original.
Apparatus Necessary For Copying. For the professional there is no need of any special apparatus. While cameras are made specially for copying and enlarging purposes, their bellows being of practically unlimited extension, yet, unless one desires to make a business of this feature of photography, it is not necessary to go to the expense of procuring any additional apparatus. All the photographer requires, aside from his regular camera, camera stand and lens, is a perfectly flat board made of soft wood, about 10 x 12 inches, with a large screw-eye screwed in the center or one edge of the board, by means of which the board can be hung upon a nail ready to receive the picture to be copied. On the outer edge and on each side of the board attach a very light, but stiff, wire rod, extending over the board about sixteen to eighteen inches. See Illustration No. 1. The use of these rods will be explained later.
Illustration No. I Copying Board See Paragraphs Nos. 463 and 490.
464. Drive a good, strong nail in the standard of a movable screen or background, about five and one-half feet from the floor. When you want to copy a picture, attach the picture to the board, using thumb tacks, and hang the board on the nail in the standard. The picture may be attached bottom side up; this makes it easier to focus, for the image will then be right side upon the ground-glass. Place the standard well under the light, and facing the side light, at a sufficient angle to receive even illumination. If the screen be placed parallel with the side light, there would not only be a stronger light on the side of the picture, but if the picture were an old one, it would show more grain to the paper as well. For this reason, arrange the board containing the picture so it faces the side light at an angle of about 25°, or until there is even illumination over the entire print. Then wheel your camera close to it and you are ready to focus. One thing you must remember: Always have your camera level with the picture to be copied, and if your camera contains the usual swing attachments see that the ground-glass is parallel and square to the print to be copied, and the bed of the camera-stand perfectly level.