Any one who is skilful in outdoor photography can make a better portrait in an ordinary room than can be made in the open air. In fact, there is no reason why as perfect a portrait cannot be made in an ordinary room as in a "gallery," except the lack of skill on the part of the operator.

The first attempt is generally made in the room having the largest number of windows, all of which are opened to their fullest capacity, which only results in complete failure. The room preferable is one on the second floor or higher, and on the light side of the house. Close the blinds or lower the shades in such a way as to exclude the light from all windows but one. This window should be selected in such part of the room as will allow working space on both sides of it. A corner window with the side Avail close to it is objectionable, for the reason that a background would be so near to the sitter that a shadow of the figure would be made upon it. Now, having the window open and the shade rolled all the way up, if there is sunlight or even a strong light upon it, darken the lower half by unhanging the shade (if convenient) and placing the roller upon the top of the lower sash. Allow the shade to fall to the sill, or hang anything over the lower sash that will exclude the light. If the subject is of very dark complexion, a piece of muslin would answer better than something opaque, as it would diffuse light over the face in addition to that obtained from above.

If the clothing or drapery is very dark, it is well to obstruct the light from the lower sash just opposite the face and let it pass through below, so as to light up from the neck down; this will ensure detail in the drapery. Never allow sunlight to fall upon any part of the sitter. If the sunlight is very strong 'at the upper part of the window, a piece of cheese cloth or such like material may be placed over it, but not anything heavier. Now place a chair for posing the sitter about 18 in. from the window, and so that the front of the seat is about 1 ft. behind the line of the side of the window; this will bring the knees on a line with the side of the window.

Having seated the person, look at the head, and you will find the light falling strongest on the top, and at an angle of about 45°, i.e. striking the forehead on the side toward the window and passing down toward the lower opposite side of the face, throwing the shadow of the nose upon the side of the upper lip, thus you have the skylight effect. When the eye becomes a little practised, you will know whether a better effect is produced by moving the sitter a little forward or back - a little closer to the window or away from it. If a three-quarter face is to be made, the light may be strongest on the small side of the face by having it turned a little away from the window; this would be a "Rembrandt." If the light is wanted upon the larger side of a three-quarter face, then let it be turned a little' toward the window. Always have the eyes looking straight ahead - not to one side. Place the sitter as far back on the seat of the chair as possible, then make a small roll of clothing, or take a thick book and place between the back of the chair and the back of the sitter, behind the shoulder-blades. This will throw the chest and shoulders forward. Don't be deceived by the notion that a person must sit comfortably and "naturally" to make a good portrait.

Of course, make him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Be sure to have the chin high enough and the line of the face (as shown against the background) perpendicular. Use a head rest or not, as you like. No one likes the sensation of having it against the head. If you are making a three-quarter face, let the body be square with the camera; if a full face, turn the body - preferably toward the window. If a profile, place the chest, shoulder, or even back toward the camera. All this mav be varied according to the taste and judgment of the operator. If the side of the face away from the window is too dark (which is almost always the case) place a sheet, or anything white, and about one yard square, in such a way (not nearer than 3 ft.) as to reflect a little light upon this side of the face. The danger is of throwing too much light upon this side, making the face flat, and destroying all contrast. Be careful to have the sheet held or placed in such a manner as not to be reflected in a large white spot upon the eye of the sitter.

The camera should, of course, be placed close to that side of the room in which the window is located, so that a line from the lens to the sitter would be parallel with the wall in which the window is.

Raise the tripod so that the bottom of the camera is on a line with the top of the sitter's head, then incline the camera-front toward the subject so that the face on the ground glass is below a line drawn horizontally across the middle of the glass; the line should cross under the chin, or lower. Upon looking at the presentation upon the ground glass, it will be readily seen whether there is a good light upon the sitter or not. Focus upon the eye, the eyelashes if possible. Use about the mediumsized diaphragm, or f/8 to f/12 according to light.

The most suitable background is something of a drab or light slate colour, placed as already referred to, so far back as to prevent the possibility of a shadow of the sitter being thrown upon it. A window-shade of the right colour makes a good background, or a piece of muslin coated with whitewash, to which a little lamp-black and glue have been added. Mix the lamp-black separately before adding to the whitewash.

The more rapid the plate, the better; expose from three to six times as long as out door, according to light; a long exposure followed by a slow development gives the best results.

Groups of 3 to 8 persons may be made successfully in an ordinary room. Select a large window with the sun upon it, raise the shade, and place an ordinary sheet over the whole window. Place the group in the diffused light. If the light is not strong enough, open one more window and throw a small sheet upon the floor where the sun will fall upon it; but ordinarily it is better to use only one window. Use a little smaller diaphragm than for a portrait, and expose a "Diamond" or "Special" plate 20 seconds. Don't hurry the development. No background is necessary, but if the side of the room behind the group is of a light appearance, it is better than dark colours. - (L. P. Ferris.)