Welcome to half two in our sequence on photographing older purchasers. In half one, we checked out rapport constructing and the sensible elements of getting ready in your shoot. On this article, you’ll find out about lighting and posing methods to reinforce your pictures of aged topics.

Lighting older purchasers makes use of a lot of the identical lighting rules that you just apply to youthful purchasers, however there are a couple of additional tips that can guarantee a stress-free and flattering shoot.

Lighting practicalities

For this text, we’re going to imagine that you’re capturing on the topic’s residence – usually a requirement when capturing older purchasers. Which means that you gained’t have entry to a full studio setup and should improvise based mostly on house.

Misplaced in house

For those who’re fortunate, your older consumer should still be within the previous household residence with stunning excessive ceilings so you may arrange and bounce mild to your coronary heart’s content material. Sadly, many can have downsized and are sometimes in smaller residences. Others could also be in nursing properties with much less house than your common rest room and have the whole lot they personal crammed inside this house.

In tight areas, the very best guess is to attempt to get outdoors. Nonetheless, this isn’t at all times attainable for much less cell purchasers.

Additionally bear in mind, should you’re doing a shoot in a nursing or retirement residence, you’ll presumably want to realize permission from the village supervisor. There’s numerous safety round older residents (and rightfully so), which suggests the house will not be prone to take kindly to a stranger turning up unannounced and taking pictures of susceptible individuals.

This isn’t a type of conditions the place it’s simpler to express regret than it’s to get permission first!

Flash versus steady lighting

As a photographer, flash might be your go-to for synthetic lighting when outdoors the studio, however take a second to contemplate steady lighting. Whereas a strobe is extra moveable and highly effective than most reasonably priced steady lights, they are often fairly disorienting for older purchasers – notably these with dementia. The very last thing you need is to misery the individual you’re hoping to make a smile.

With the reasonably priced value of LED lighting lately, steady lighting is now extremely accessible and has the additional advantage of remaining cool in your consumer versus older lights. Advances in chip-on-board LED expertise additionally means you don’t have to fret about heavy and costly HMI lights once you need that basic Fresnel look.

Delicate versus laborious mild

The purpose of the shoot will decide your lighting type.

It’s going to be uncommon to listen to an older individual say “please make me look previous and grizzled,” so your purpose is prone to create a flattering picture of your topic by leaning in the direction of gentle, highly-diffused mild. You possibly can obtain this through the use of mild from giant mild sources similar to softboxes and umbrellas. The larger the supply, the higher! You need that mild to wrap round their face.

Except it’s the specified look, distinction is your enemy when photographing aged individuals because it accentuates their wrinkles and every other elements which can be sagging. This could be nice for gritty avenue pictures, however it’s unlikely an older individual needs you to painting them like that in a paid portrait.

Suppose much less George Hurrell, extra Anne Geddes (however go away the flower pot at residence).

In fact, the ultimate resolution ought to at all times come from a combination of attempting to convey your consumer’s persona and assembly the temporary agreed upon in your pre-shoot session.

Lighting setups

We’ll have a look at two basic lighting setups which purpose to create a flattering portrait. Whereas there are limitless portrait lighting choices, not all will work with older purchasers as a result of wrinkles, sagging, and posture points.

3-point lighting

The basic three-point lighting setup supplies you with an enormous quantity of flexibility to sculpt the topic’s face in a flattering mild.

For older purchasers, purpose to have your key mild solely just a little stronger than your fill mild. This reduces distinction and supply a extra flattering mild that wraps across the face. Fill mild is your buddy in terms of older purchasers.

Brief lighting (left) usually supplies a extra flattering photograph for an aged topic than broad lighting (proper).

Though you’ll be utilizing extra fill than regular, it’s nonetheless necessary to pay attention to the results of brief and broad lighting, as getting older isn’t at all times form to the face form. You need to use brief lighting to make a large face seem extra slender. That is normally the extra flattering possibility for older faces.

Broad lighting can add some width to a skinnier face, however it tends additionally add extra emphasis on wrinkles.

For older purchasers, it may additionally pay to decrease your lights just a little greater than you would possibly with a younger consumer. The shadows solid by larger lights emphasize wrinkles and sagging pores and skin.

Putting the lights larger as you would possibly do with a youthful consumer can create shadows that spotlight options similar to wrinkles and crow’s toes.

By reducing the lights, the face softens, and you may fill within the eyes which are inclined to sink with age. It by no means hurts to throw a reflector beneath the topic’s chin to raise the shadows.

Dropping your key mild by only a small quantity can have a dramatic distinction to the ultimate picture.

You’ll then get a remaining shot that creates a heat and welcoming portrait.

Combining all of the adjustments and tossing in a reflector beneath the topic’s chin creates a remaining picture that presents them in favorable mild.

Clamshell lighting

Clamshell lighting can create a really dramatic look, however with giant subtle mild sources it may additionally mild an older face in a flattering method whereas nonetheless offering a dynamic impact.

On this setup, we have now a big softbox angled at 45-degrees appearing as the important thing and an umbrella because the fill. You may additionally wish to experiment with a magnificence dish as the important thing mild for a extra placing look.

The clamshell is a straightforward setup and might be achieved with only one key mild and a reflector to behave as fill if want be.

Whereas exposing appropriately is a no brainer irrespective of the way you’re lighting, it goes double for a clamshell setup as extreme underlighting creates a ghoulish appear like one thing out of a horror film. A secure option to keep away from this may be to make use of a easy reflector or bounce board as your fill should you’re not snug with setting publicity on synthetic lights.

Failing to set your fill mild appropriately will lead to underlighting that creates a scary look unlikely to be desired by your consumer.

As you may see, by lowering the fill mild to just a little greater than half the publicity of the important thing mild, you get a extra balanced look.

Guaranteeing that you’ve your fill mild set decrease than your key mild will create the basic clamshell look.

Mixed with good posing, this lighting setup can present a terrific possibility for taking a square-on picture of an older individual. The ensuing shot can convey an introspective, however intimate really feel.

By exposing appropriately and positioning your consumer fantastically you’re going to get a remaining shot that has a terrific introspective really feel.


Aged portrait idiosyncrasies

Though having a few fundamental lighting setups will get you 80% of the best way to photographing aged purchasers, there are nonetheless a couple of little hurdles to pay attention to which will in any other case trigger chaos in your shoot.

Glasses and reflections

Glasses are the bane of your existence when working with aged purchasers. A pair of spectacles loves nothing greater than to seize the reflection of your lights. And God show you how to should you’re coping with bifocals!

Glasses! Assured to destroy any portrait with out some planning.

You possibly can at all times ask your topic to take away their glasses utterly, however many will really feel that they give the impression of being mistaken with out their glasses after having worn them for thus a few years.

Managing glasses at all times requires a little bit of compromise to convey your consumer’s eyes again into the picture, however three of the very best choices are:

1. Tilt Down – Ask you topic to tilt their glasses down just a bit. This may be mixed with tilting their head down as nicely. Don’t go overboard with this until you need them to appear like Santa or a librarian.

You’ll largely take away the reflections by asking your topic to decrease their chin and tilt their glasses down. Nonetheless, watch out to not overdo it!

2. Elevate Your Lights – Elevating your lights just a little larger reduces the possibility of choosing up a mirrored image. In fact, the trade-off right here is that you’re going to get extra shadows. It might assist to steadiness the change with a reflector.

Elevating the lights resolves the reflections problem, however creates a brand new dilemma as a result of heavy shadows that now seem.

3. Lensless Glasses – Probably the very best answer. Deliver alongside a pair of glasses with the lenses eliminated. Hey presto, no extra reflections to fret about. The problem right here, after all, is that they will not be the type of glasses that work along with your topic’s face.

Managing baldness

Positive it occurs to youthful people as nicely, however should you’re photographing older purchasers, you’re going to come across numerous bald heads. The problem right here is {that a} bald head will act like a giant reflective floor and create a scorching spot.

To resolve this:

1. Decrease Your Lights – by reducing the peak of your lights you cut back the reflections on their head. In fact, the issue right here turns into the balancing act that has to happen in case your topic additionally occurs to be sporting glasses!

2. Take away Rim Lights – When coping with baldness it’s price contemplating taking out your rim mild totally. Discover alternate methods to separate your topic from the background.

3. Powder – Having some impartial powder available is at all times helpful to cut back the shine of a bald head. For those who’ve received a very proud male that gained’t put on “make-up,” take a photograph with none powder utilized and present them the eye drawn to their head.

Exposing hair

Leaping again to the 3-point lighting setup, this all comes right down to the rim mild. As talked about above, the rim mild is the enemy of the bald head. Nonetheless, it additionally wreaks havoc with gray hair. Be additional cautious to not overexpose with gray hair as you’ll shortly blow the highlights way more simply than you’d with coloured hair.

Posing older purchasers

Posing older purchasers is hard as a result of, as we mentioned partly one, there’s a vary of what constitutes being “aged.” Individuals round 65 years of age will most likely be capable of do a lot of your customary poses with nice outcomes. Nonetheless, considerably older purchasers might have restricted mobility and well being points that stop them from standing for lengthy intervals.

Stools are for fools

Assuming you’re working with a consumer over the age of 80, it’s finest to contemplate basing your shoot round them sitting down. The very first thing to do is turf that stool that you just use along with your youthful purchasers.

Older purchasers want the again help of a chair and will fall off one thing as unstable as a stool. Additionally they might not have the core power to help themselves on a stool resulting in some very dangerous slumping.

Shoppers over the age of 80 with mobility points are additionally prone to have recliner type chairs that they will simply disappear into.

Capturing front-on along with your consumer in a big chair or recliner will are inclined to make them look small and wider if they’re allowed to sink again.

Capturing this picture, notably front-on, will make the consumer seem small and may have an unflattering impact on their thighs (which is able to unfold when seated on this method).

To treatment this problem prop your consumer up with some pillows to create a greater posture. If the consumer is kind of frail, ask a member of the family to do that so that you just don’t trigger any hurt.

Place pillows behind the consumer or ask them to take a seat in the direction of the sting of the chair to shift their posture.

By bringing the consumer ahead and specializing in the top and shoulders framing, the ensuing picture is extra flattering.

By shifting the consumer ahead they are going to be much less prone to stoop leading to a extra flattering picture.

Secure and secured gear

One of many main causes of damage in aged individuals is falling over. Typically they are going to be very used to the whole lot being arrange of their residence a selected method. As such, shifting furnishings round and bringing in large gear can pose issues.

Firstly, solely transfer furnishings with their permission and, after all, put it again once you’re achieved! Be sure that you’ve left a transparent path to the entrance door and the bathroom in case of emergencies.

Secondly, safe your gear! On the very least put sandbags in your mild stands and tripod. For those who’re utilizing something that has cords, pull out that gaffer tape and stick it down.

Sandbag these lights and gaffer these cords so that you just don’t find yourself chargeable for a visit to the E.R.

An unhurt consumer is a contented consumer, so take these additional jiffy to ensure the world is secure.

Flattering posing angles

Nice, you’ve received the whole lot setup safely, now it’s time to pose your consumer.

Once more, assuming you’re coping with a consumer who’s older than 75, posing is about compromises.

Few individuals look nice square-on, so begin by asking your consumer to show their physique barely away from the digicam. Subsequent, ask the consumer to show their head again to the digicam with their physique dealing with the important thing mild.

It’s usually finest to keep away from having older purchasers tilt their head as this will trigger bunching of the pores and skin beneath the neck. As an alternative, preserve the top perpendicular to the physique and give attention to asking them to push their jaw barely ahead to stretch their neck.

In case your consumer is actually involved about their neck wrinkles, it is going to be finest to shoot from barely above the consumer and ask them to angle their chin down. Equally, if a male consumer is nervous about baldness, capturing from barely decrease than eye degree reduces the give attention to their head.

For purchasers who’re unable to shift their neck or physique as a result of age, a front-on shot can nonetheless be flattering, however it would be best to attempt to shift the burden ahead.

Transfer your topic as near the sting of the chair as is secure whereas supporting their again. Shoppers who wrestle to help their weight might profit from inserting their palms on their thighs

Prop the consumer up with pillows behind their again and ask if they can place their palms on their knees to help their weight whereas leaning ahead a tad. Experiment with placement on the knees and thighs to search out the place that enables for probably the most pure shoulder alignment.


Photographing aged purchasers is a good way to convey collectively your whole fundamental lighting and posing rules with a couple of additional challenges thrown in besides!

Experimentation is at all times key as you’ll have to work with the bodily restrictions of your consumer’s age and the sensible limitations of their residence. By having a transparent concept of your consumer’s expectations, the 2 of you will discover a option to obtain a picture that makes everybody glad.

Furthermore, do not forget that generally they’ve earned these wrinkles and are rattling happy with it!

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