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The Barnet Book of Photography A Collection of Practical Articles

Whatever pinhole and at whatever distance


All

the above figures are in inches. Whatever pinhole and at whatever distance, estimate the exposure for a lens at _f_/16, _f_/22, _f_/32, _f_/45, or _f_/64, as the case may be, and multiply it by the _square_ of the number of inches that the plate is distant from the pinhole. But if the distance is as given above for any hole, it is sufficient to expose for as many minutes as the plate is inches distant from the hole, for a subject that would require one second with an aperture of _f_/16.

_Chapman Jones._

_Portraiture._

[Illustration]

The photographer who may be expert at landscape or architectural work, will find himself at a loss when he essays portraiture. For apart from the art of managing the sitter (a most important element in producing a successful result), he will soon find that the kind of plate that is suitable for outdoor work does not answer well for portraits, unless the developer is greatly modified, for quite a different kind of negative is required. As a general rule it is advisable to use very rapid plates for portrait work; and in this respect, at the present day we are much better supplied than even five or six years ago, and with an extra-rapid plate it is possible to secure a fully exposed negative in half a second, in weather and under lighting

that was quite impossible ten years ago. The best expression and pose are generally secured when the sitter is unaware of the actual moment of exposure; and for this purpose a silent shutter working inside the camera is best. The sitter should never be _asked_ to keep still unless, in groups, and when circumstances necessitate a long exposure; and nowadays an exposure of five or six seconds is a long one. Every effort should be made to put the sitter quite at ease.

A head-rest should not be used unless absolutely necessary, and few photographers are aware how easily it can be dispensed with, and fail to realize how strong an objection nearly every sitter has to it. It is far better to have an occasional plate spoilt by working without the rest than to make every sitter uncomfortable by its use. In fact some portrait negatives are actually improved by a slight movement. In a special kind of lighting when the face is in _shadow_ relieved against a light background, a slight movement which produces the effect of diffusion of focus greatly improves the result.

Great care must be exercised in choosing the background even when it is only plain or graduated, and it is well worth exposing three or four plates on the same sitter, in the same position and lighting, and with the same exposure, but with different backgrounds, and then carefully comparing the resulting prints. Even if only one background is at hand its depth can be varied by placing it nearer or farther from the source of light. The background must also be selected to suit the lighting of the sitter, as a background of medium tint suitable for what is called "ordinary lighting" would be quite unsuitable for "Rembrandt" effects, or where strong contrasts of light and shade are used, when part of the face is in dark shadow. For such effects a dark background is usually best, as it gives luminosity to the shadow side of the face. But such dark grounds are not suitable for "ordinary lighting" where the face should be full of delicate half-tone, all of which would be killed by the strength of the dark background.


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