This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1915" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1915.
The commercial photographer must photograph practically anything and do it well, but the portraitist cannot be so versatile. He may readily make a success of home portraiture, however, because it is in the line of his studio work and from home portraiture he will find it a simple matter to drift into specializing in interiors of homes of the better class.
There is almost as great a fascination in photographing interiors as there is in home portraiture, the difference being that in the latter the background of the home is only an accessory, while in the former it must make a picture complete in itself. If you are making home portraits you have the opportunity of studying and experimenting on interiors, and once you have become proficient, samples of your work will usually he sufficient to get the business.
We mention this line of work as a profitable side line for the portrait photographer because home portraiture gives him access to the best homes and this is the hardest thing for the commercial worker to secure.
There are just a few important points in this work that will apply to most any case, aside from which experience alone must be the teacher. Materials are of greatest importance and interiors on Eastman Portrait Film may be made with the greatest success because the film has the very qualities that are suited to the work, and more of them than any one plate.
Films have better non-halation quality and greater speed than any non-halation plate, a finegrained emulsion, long scale of gradation, good latitude and or-thochromatic quality, are easy to handle, light in weight and unbreakable.
A good home portrait camera having the necessary adjustments will also be suitable for interior work, but a good wide angle lens is essential unless you have a convertible anastigmat that may be used for wide angle work.
In photographing directly against windows film may be used with greater success than a non-halation plate, but the most pleasing results are often those in which a bit of outdoors is seen through the windows. This is usually secured by shutting the light out completely with a dark opaque cloth placed on the inside of the window, being careful to have it cover only the glass. This because you must have a perfect picture of the window frame with the first exposure. Make an exposure for the deepest shadows in the room, close the lens, remove the cloth and and make a short exposure to get the bit of outdoors through the window.
Many home portraits are spoiled by distorted background lines and the same will be the the case with interiors if the swing-back is not used intelligently. The film must always be parallel with the object you are photographing. The lens board may be moved up and down with safety, but if the camera itself is tilted the swing must be used to keep the plate parallel with the subject.
The old dodge of lowering the lens board as far as possible and then slightly tilting the camera to show more of the floor and so make a small room look larger is an example of a case where the swing-back must be used.
Exposures of several hours, using a small stop, are often made where light is weak and it is not convenient to prevent people from walking back and forth across the field of the lens. The result is in no way affected if people do not stop for too long a time.After treatment of negatives - reduction and intensification - should be thoroughly understood for it is almost impossible to secure results with certain difficult subjects without doctoring the negative. The result justifies the means when it is the result you are paid for.
However, Eastman Portrait Film negatives will require the minimum amount of after treatment and under ordinary conditions will yield negatives surpassing those secured on any plate.Books have been written on this subject and still it is impossible for you to secure correct information on the treatment of a subject except by experience and what that experience teaches you. The right material is of the greatest importance, after which a careful study of your negatives should be sufficient to suggest a remedy, if one is needed.Try a few hard subjects as a matter of training - stick to them .until you have negatives that you can be proud of - then use a few good samples in your show case or in other ways to get this business.
ARTURA PRINT FROM SEED PLATE NEGATIVE
By Clifford Norton Cleveland, Ohio