My first camera was a half plate LINHOF complete with wooden tripod and black cloth to allow you to focus on the ground glass screen at the rear of the camera.
Your next move was to replace the screen with a cassette containing a single 6” x 4” film.
After removing the protective slide on the cassette you could then activate the shutter hoping the subject had not moved or blinked at the wrong time.
With only a few cassettes available you had to get everything right the first time including exposure and composition when you were doing a portrait sitting.
The next step was to head for the dark room and develop the film which had to be inserted into the developer canister in complete darkness.