This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1913" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1913.
Most every photographer has at some time during his business career had a customer make a request which seemed unreasonable or at least so difficult that it was not worth considering. Of course it is not reasonable for a sitter to ask the photographer to button up his coat when a negative has been made with the coat open and a new negative would be much easier, but there are exceptions. You have probably had occasion to copy a single head or figure out of an old group, when the death of the subject made a portrait worth a great deal to the relatives and friends. In such cases the work is not only very profitable when it is well done, but a satisfied customer will do you as much good in advertising your studio as the actual profit on the work, which, of course, should be charged at a pi-ice to make it well worth while.
We can not well tell of all the little tricks that can be used in copying, but our one example will suggest others, and once you have done a good piece of work for a customer, it will bring you other work of a like nature.
Our first illustration (A) is an example of what one often finds a difficult task. It is necessary to make a suitable bust picture and the subject is without coat or collar, in outing clothes, or the other figures are in such a position that it seems almost an impossibility, but there is a very easy way.
First of all, pick out a negative or make one of a man about the same size as the subject in your group, with a neat coat, collar and tie, and make a print, which should be cut out as shown in our illustration (B). When this has been done, make a copy of the head from the group, holding the print of the coat against the ground glass, so the head and neck may be of the right size to fit the coat and collar.
This negative should be retouched and the other figures opaqued out, so a print may be made, showing a white ground, as in our illustration (C).
The print (B) is then attached to the print (C) and the combination copied. The result should be fully as good as that shown in our illustration (D), and when printed on a suitable paper, the customer will most invariably be pleased with the result. A bit of air brush work on the white ground before the print is copied, will help the effect, but is not absolutely necessary.
Along this same line might be mentioned a way to secure more contrast in a copy from a very faint or faded print. Of course one may intensify the negative or use ground glass substitute on the back to intensify the highlights, but the method we have in mind is to make two negatives exactly alike without moving the camera. When the print is to be made, the two negatives are placed in the printing frame, the paper being in contact with the first negative. As each highlight of the second negative is directly over the highlight of the first negative, the resulting print will have much more strength than if made from only the one negative. If greater diffusion is desired a sheet of tissue paper may be placed between the two negatives.