I have to take some photographs of groups of people in the style of a typical studio and wedding photographer from around the turn of the last century using an 8x10 camera. To get inspiration I found and bought some rather yellowed but wonderful group portraits taken by different photographers of that time (about 1895 to 1910). All the groups are weddings of between 15 to 24 people. The print size is bigger than 8x10 and I presume they are contact prints. Anyway, each photograph show superb technique and in particular I notice they all manage to keep the front row of people almost as sharp in focus as the back row and I think they must have been using front or back tilt or possibly both because I can't imagine they relied only on small apertures for their depth of focus because of the slowness of their film speed and lenses.
Is there anyone out there who has a more intimate knowledge of how these photographers worked? If you have any answers I would be very interested.
Many thanks, Nick.