Dayal (1844-1905) was the first Indian studio photographer. He acquired the title of “Raja" when he was appointed court photographer by the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad.

A plaque at the ongoing exhibition, ‘Raja Deen Dayal: The Studio Archives’, lists a set of rules formulated for sitters at the Raja Deen Dayal & Sons studio. Pramod Kumar K.G., co-curator, dates this c. 1888.

Vintage: A work on display, c. 1890, at the ongoing Raja Deen Dayal: The Studio Archives. Courtesy Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

A special comment on photographing babies and children goes thus: Although babies and children often occasion much trouble and require a large number of plates, we make no extra charge.

Hints to sitters

A portrait may be both artistically and technically first-rate, and yet entirely fail to give satisfaction to the sitter. To be a really successful picture, the sitter’s happiest expression must be caught. This depends almost entirely on the sitter and the mood he happens to be in at the moment. The pose, dress, accessories are more easily under control, and we venture to offer a few suggestions to our patrons, which we hope they will accept in good part, and we in return will do our best to give them pictures they will be really pleased with. Our operator is a highly paid and skilful artist, who has had great experience, and sitters will study their own interest by placing themselves in his hands. But if sitters prefer to pose themselves, and to take the full direction of the sitting, we shall certainly do our best to please them and ensure a good result, and in some rare cases a good result will be obtained.

Sitters can do a great deal towards securing success. When practicable it is desirable to make an appointment beforehand. This will avoid any sense of unrest on the sitter’s part, and enable the operator to perform his duty leisurely and at ease, which often results in saving time. On arriving at the studio any preference as to dress, pose, or accessories should be mentioned to the operator, who will afford every assistance in carrying out any wish, and will give the benefit of his experience and make suitable suggestions. The head-rest is often of great assistance, and while sitters are strongly recommended to use it, they may please themselves.


uThe following colours for costumes are the best to be photographed in—cream, light greys and light tints generally.

u Dead blacks and whites are not so good. Dark reds and browns, heavy greens and yellows come out nearly the same as blacks. Blues are represented in the photograph as white or nearly so, except in the case of heavy dark blue.

u Leave the matter in the hands of the operator as far as possible. Accept the support of the headrest, if necessary.

u Come when you have no other engagement immediately following, so as not to feel flurried.