A FEW HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS TO DAGUERREOTYPISTS

There are very few who may not be capable of practising the Photographic art, either on paper, or metalic plates--but, like all other professions, some are more clever in its various processes than others.

Impatience is a great drawback to perfect success, and combined with laziness is a decided enemy. Besides this, no one can excel in Photography who does not possess a natural taste for the fine arts, who is not quick in discerning grace and beauty--is regardless of the principles of perspective, foreshortening and other rules of drawing, and who sets about it merely for the sake of gain--without the least ambition to rise to the first rank, both in its practice and theory. There is no profession or trade in which a slovenly manner will not show itself, and none where its effects will be more apparent than this.

In order to be great in any pursuit, we must be ourselves, and keep all things, in order. In your show and reception rooms, let neatness prevail; have your specimens so placed--leaning slightly forward--as to obtain the strongest light upon them, and at the same time prevent that glassiness of appearance which detracts so materially from the effect they are intended to produce. If possible, let the light be of a north-western aspect, mellowed by curtains of a semitransparent hue. Your show-cases, at the door, should be kept well cleaned. I have often been disgusted while attempting to examine portraits in the cases of our artists, at the greasy coating and marks of dirty fingers upon the glass and frame enclosing them. Believe it, many a good customer is lost for no other reason.

In your operating room, dust should be carefully excluded. It should be furnished with nothing apt to collect and retain dust; a carpet is therefore not only a useless article, but very improper. A bare floor is to be prefered; but if you must cover it use matting. There is no place about your establishment where greater care should be taken to have order and cleanliness; for it will prevent many failures often attributed to other causes. "A place for every thing, and every thing in its place," should be an absolute maxim with all artists. Do not oblige the ladies, on going away from your rooms, to say--"That H. is a slovenly man; see how my dress is ruined by sitting down in a chair that looked as if it had just come out of a porter house kitchen and had not been cleaned for six months."

In choosing your operating room, obtain one with a north-western aspect, if possible; and either with, or capable of having attached, a large skylight. Good pictures may be taken without the sky-light, but not the most pleasing or effective.

A very important point to be observed, is to keep the camera perfectly free from dust. The operator should be careful to see that the slightest particle be removed, for the act of inserting the plate-holder will set it in motion, if left, and cause those little black spots on the plate, by which an otherwise good picture is spoiled. The camera should be so placed as to prevent the sun shining into the lenses.

In taking portraits, the conformation of the sitter should be minutely studied to enable you to place her or him in a position the most graceful and easy to be obtained. The eyes should be fixed on some object a little above the camera, and to one side--but never into, or on the instrument, as some direct; the latter generally gives a fixed, silly, staring, scowling or painful expression to the face. Care should also be taken, that the hands and feet, in whatever position, are not too forward or back ward from the face when that is in good focus.

If any large surface of white is present, such as the shirt front, or lady's handkerchief, a piece of dark cloth (a temporary bosom of nankeen is best,) may be put over it, but quickly withdrawn when the process is about two thirds finished.

A very pleasing effect is given to portraits, by introducing, behind the sitter, an engraving or other picture--if a painting, avoid those in which warm and glowing tints predominate. The subject of these pictures may be applicable to the taste or occupation of the person whose portrait you are taking. This adds much to the interest of the picture, which is otherwise frequently dull, cold and inanimate.

Mr. J. H. Whitehurst of Richmond, Va., has introduced a revolving background, which is set in motion during the operation, and produces a distinctness and boldness in the image not otherwise to be obtained. The effect upon the background of the plate is equally pleasing; it having the appearance of a beautifully clouded sky.

In practising Photographic drawing on paper, the student must bear in mind that it is positively essential, to secure success in the various processes, to use the utmost precaution in spreading the solutions, and washes from the combination of which the sensitive surfaces result. The same brush should always be used for the same solution, and never used for any other, and always washed in clean water after having been employed. Any metalic mounting on the brushes should be avoided, as the metal precipitates the silver from its solution. The brushes should be made of camels or badger's hair and sufficiently broad and large to cover the paper in two or three sweeps; for if small ones be employed, many strokes must be given, which leave corresponding streaks that will become visible when submitted to light, and spoil the picture.