Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Photographer's Instructions

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

Were it not for the movie Cold Mountain I would always have envisioned those who have left behind their portraits as being dressed in shades of gray, black and white. These instructions from a photographer give us a hint as to what the actual color might have been. Some of the color names I was not familiar with, such as Bismarck and mazerine. A little research shows that Bismarck is a color of brown, mazerine is purple or perhaps a shade of blue. Now we all know.

How And When To Come For A Photograph
Year Unknown
Knapp Studios

The following suggestions will prove of interest we think to the patrons of the gallery. No better picture can be taken in a sunny than a cloudy day. The only difference is the exposure is a few seconds longer in a cloudy day; for that reason bring the little folks when the sun shines, and as near the middle of the day as possible tho' not to interfere with their accustomed nap - even though they are taken to a Knapp. Never threaten or coax a child to have his picture taken. Bring them to see the pictures and we will see to the rest.

Never come for a picture when in a hurry : the consequence is a tired and unnatural expression.

Come in the forenoon if possible : some come so late in the afternoon that when their turn comes it is too late to get a good picture.

Never comb the hair straight back, unless you wish to see a very high fore head represented. Crimped or frizzed hair always takes well.

We never object to face powder. It tends to help a picture.

The least move of the head destroys the sharpness of the picture. Do not swallow or move the mouth nor stare the eyes during the exposure. Wink as often as you feel it is necessary.

Try and have the thoughts about something different than sitting for a picture; something that will cause bright and intelligent expression.

No pictures taken on Sunday.

The following will guide in selecting colors : Snuff, golden and red brown, dark, light and apple green, wine color, dark orange, red and cherry take dark. Satin or navy blue, dawn color magenta, mazerine, blue, corn color, ashes of roses, rose pink, citrine pink, dove color, crimson, Quaker color, plum color, purple, stone color and buff take a kind of gray.

Leather color, slate color, garnet, light orange, light bismarck, claret, sea green and scarlett take a darker gray. Blue, purple, French blue, sky blue, lavender and lilac take a very white.

Some people think they cannot afford to have pictures taken. We wonder that they can afford not to have them. How often we hear it said, "I would give anything."


A slip of paper attached to a carte de visite in very poor condition. Year unknown. Face of card contains more information and a photograph of a woman wearing glasses. Very poorly done.


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