One of the most difficult problems in portrait work for the average photographer is the proper treatment of hands. We say, treatment of hands because posing of hands'' would indicate that this is something which may be done simply by following a rule of composition, much as the arrangement of a vase of flowers, but posed hands, as a rule, look as though they were made of wood.

There is a great deal of expression in hands when they are unconsciously self posed. Touch them and they turn to stone. But there are ways of securing this unconscious posing of hands without touching them.

It's mostly a matter of the way you handle your subject. I have known a photographer to have a subject ushered into the posing room and told to be seated in a chair, purposely placed in a desired position, the photographer studying the natural pose assumed by the sitter from a point where he could not be observed. This gave him an insight into the sitter's natural and unconscious pose the characteristics peculiar to that particular subject. It then became a very simple matter for the photographer to meet his sitter, engage him or her in a bit of conversation of a nature foreign to the making of pictures, and catch the pose again.

Hands StudioLightMagazine1914 73

ARTURA PRINT FROM AN EASTMAN PORTRAIT FILM NEGATIVE

By Gerhard Sisters

(Of the Women's Federation)

St. Louis, Mo.

Hands StudioLightMagazine1914 74

Don't tell a lady to place a hand in a certain position. It is better to have her stand up and sit down again in a slightly different position, when the hands will naturally fall into a different pose. Be careful, however, not to attract the attention to the hands. If necessary go so far as to infer that the hands will not show, even when you are working hardest to secure those same hands in the composition of your picture.

If we were to take up this subject of hands from every angle, we would also be compelled to take up the subject of composition and all that it embraces, but we will only touch lightly on the importance of the hands to the picture.

The face is the important point in any portrait, and all other things must necessarily be subordinated or rendered in a minor key, as it were. Make your lighting so the hands will not appear as two bright spots to attract attention from the face. A side view of large hands has a tendency to make them appear smaller, while their full breadth accentuates their size.

Distortion must be carefully avoided. Keep the hands as nearly as possible in the same plane as the head. A hand two feet nearer the camera than the face will appear grotesque.

These effects are most noticeable when working close to the subject. A long focus lens will correct this distortion. You may have to work close with your lens to secure an image as large as you desire, but there is a remedy even for such an emergency. Move your camera far enough from the subject to get proper perspective such as a longer focus lens would give you. The image will of course be too small, but distortion will be overcome. If the prints are to be 11 x 14 and your negative is only 5x7, make 11 x 14 Artura Carbon Black enlargements. Many photographers overcome distortion in this way and so save the price of a long focus lens for large size work.

As to composition, the position of the hands has everything to do with the correct balance of your picture. They can either make the composition pleasing or mar all that is beautiful and harmonious.

A photographer should study composition the same as an art student. He should know why one picture is pleasing and another is not, even though they may both be technically perfect.

Your patron may know nothing of the rules of art, yet will almost invariably appreciate the picture which is artistically good. Make a study of composition and you will know how to make hands serve you to make well balanced, pleasing effects, instead of looking upon them as a thing to avoid wherever possible. The natural pose of a hand often reflects as much character as the face, and if properly handled doubles the interest in the portrait.

Hands StudioLightMagazine1914 75

ARTURA PRINT FROM AN EASTMAN PORTRAIT FILM NEGATIVE

By Gerhard Sisters

(Of the Women's Federation)

St. Louis, Mo.

Hands StudioLightMagazine1914 76