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Portraits

light, sitter, background, exposure and feet

PORTRAITS.

portraits can be made in the house by the amateur, if he pays due attention to lighting the, subject, and gives sufficient exposure. The sitter should be near a window, about three or four feet from it. If sunlight falls on the the light should be diffused by hanging over the window a thin, white sheet, or covering it with white tissue paper. The side of the sitter away from the light will be shaded, and this can be lightened by placing a white sheet, or anything that will reflect light, about three or four feet distant, and in such a position that it will reflect some light on the dark side of the face. If this is not sufficient, the operator can hold a .mirror, about two feet square, in such a way during exposure, that it will throw some light on the shaded portion of the figure. Both sides of the face should not be equally lighted, as it will produce flatness. The camera should stand about the same distance from the window as the sitter, or a trifle nearer, and should be a little above the head, so that it may be inclined downwards. Arrange the sitter gracefully, avoiding all awkwardness or stiffness; pay attention to the position of the hands, that they are in focus and not too conspicuous, and, if the whole figure is to be taken, see that the feet are not out of proportion, by being thrust towards the camera. Focus on the eyes, and see that they are looking in the direction the face is turned. A quick plate should be used, a medium size or large stop, and ample exposure. The exposure should be three or four times as long as an out-door, or even longer than that, according to the light.

The time required to take a portrait in the house, can only be learned by experiment. Let some obliging friend sit for you,

and take his picture several times over, using different stops and exposures. Plates are comparatively cheap, and this will be a valuable lesson.

The background should not be so near the sitter, that shadows will fall upon it, and should be of a drab or pearl color. For fiash-light portraits at night, we prefer a background of black velvet, as described in the following chapter. This also makes an admirable background for portraits taken out of doors; a black shawl will answer as well. Against such a background, profile views show finely. Out-door portraits should not be taken in the sunlight but in diffused light, in the shade, or the north side of a building.

Do not wastes plates trying to take portraits on a dark or cloudy day in the house, or in the fall or winter too late in the after noon. Especially is this the case where you have to take a por trait of a very young child who can not keep still long enough for the proper exposure.

In photographing out of doors, do not try to take portraits or groups with the sky, or water reflecting the sky, for a background. In such cases the features will come out dark. We saw a view lately, of a group of people on the upper deck of a lake steamer, taken towards the open water and sky. The only one showing plainly in the print, was a lady who happened to have behind her the black smoke-stack. Had the steamer been headed the other way, towards the high hills, the portraits would all have been good.