I recently read a New York Times article about Banquet Photos and am wondering about them. I am not sure what makes a photo one. What are the requirements?
A banquet photo was popular in the late 19th century till the 1960s, and is essentially a very large format group portrait. They are named banquet camera because they were to actually take pictures in large banquet halls.
Typical banquet photos are made with a 12x20 view camera such as the Kodak Banquet Camera. Extra wide angles are used to help capture the entire scene in a single shot. Many of these cameras also rotated on a stand while exposing the film in a pass from one edge to the other. Formats of banquet photos may include 5x12, 7x17, 8x20, and 4x10.
The biggest advantage to the banquet camera is the sheer size of the negative. The contact print is so large that the detail, sharpness, and ultimate quality of images from these banquet cameras is the true reason that they enjoy high regard.
Example video of a Banquet Camera: http://youtu.be/pdJ7yPqNWyw?t=2m18s