Your sitters will select this or that style or size or finish for a portrait but they leave it for you to please them in the most important of all things - expression.

It is quite true there was a time when the all-important thing was for the subject to hold still. If he or she didn't move during the exposure the picture was a success - it had to be for photography didn't lie.

But those days have passed. Photographs must record more than a map of one's features.

Good photography is always essential as a foundation, but your customer does not make a choice between two proofs because one is poor and the other is good photography. Expression most often influences the decision. It isn't safe to show proofs from negatives that are under-exposed or otherwise defective and trust that they will be discarded because they lack quality. They must be printable, for the chances are that the proof from the negative of poor photographic quality will be the one selected if the expression is good.

Expression, then, is one of the biggest factors contributing to the success of the photographer, for it has most to do with securing the approval or disapproval of the sitter. But there has been a wonderful improvement in the method of securing a satisfactory expression. "Perfectly still - moisten the lips - look pleasant - eyes here - now hold that," were common instructions to the sitter in the days of head rests, slow plates and slow lenses, but they won't do to-day.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Geo. C. Bell Madison, Wis.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Geo. C. Bell Madison, Wis.

Satisfactory expressions are not made to order, they must be induced. The very small child should be entirely unconscious of the picture-making process. What you are doing must be play. A boy must be interested - you must draw him out. A few sentences should give you your cue as to what will interest him most. "Well, boy, what is on your mind these fine days, Boy Scout hikes, base ball or a vacation trip?" Some such inquiry will usually give you your lead and once you get it, if you know boys at all, you can keep him interested and get real boy expressions. But you must use tact. Boys are hard to fool. Girls are much easier to handle, for they are not nearly so self-conscious or awkward.

And, naturally, grown-ups are the most difficult. If every man played golf or was an automobile fan and every woman enthused over music or art or flowers, an interesting and pleasing expression could easily be secured by turning the conversation to one of these subjects.

Success lies in your ability to search out the particular subject of conversation that will bring the flash of interest to your sitter's face - that animation of expression that is the very life of any good portrait. You must preserve your dignity with one sitter - must feel your way carefully, while with another the mention of almost any subject of general interest will bring life to the features. Then there are sitters whose every action is so self-conscious that it is almost impossible to catch them off their guard.

The mistake is often made of making a head and shoulder portrait of a subject when the best likeness would be secured in a full or three-quarter figure. A characteristic pose is often an important part of a man's expression. A head and shoulder portrait of Lincoln, Joffre, Foch, Haig or Lloyd-George might be a good portrait but not a complete likeness, because it would not give a complete idea of the man.

A lady came into a studio, bringing a friend for a sitting. In the conversation that followed the introduction the lady complimented the photographer on her own portrait. She said it was the only one she had ever had made with a satisfactory expression and she was really ashamed of the large number of them she had given away.

Remarks of this nature lead one to believe that expression is the thing that pleases.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Geo. C. Bell Madison, Wis.

Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By Geo. C. Bell Madison, Wis.