Our elders. They are our parents, grandparents, mentors. They have seen and done things that we can only imagine. We respect what they have done for us and keep them near and dear to us in our hearts. However, the reality is that when someone reaches the age identified often with the word ‘elderly’ we know that they are have passed their midlife and are well into their Golden Years. It also means that many of them will not be with us for much longer.
This is why it is so important to document stories and details from the lives of our elders so that we can learn from their experience. One other way to document the lives of these significant contributors to our society is with our cameras. Here are some elderly photography tips to help you capture different things from the mentors in your life.
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9 Tips on How to Take Amazing Pictures of Senior Citizens?
Blend The Family
Here’s a really interesting photo composition idea. Why not include other family members in the shot? You can create some interesting moments with different age groups and with family, everyone should be relaxed with each other.
You may even luck out and capture a moment that only occurs when grandpa has his granddaughter near. In other words, be prepared for candid photos that will make this one of the best elderly photography tips listed here. (Click here and discover 30 Creative Photography Ideas For Beginners: Get Creative With Different Photography Styles)
Before you start to visualize a 90-year old in tennis gear or on a mountain bike, there are certain situations where seniors do have active lifestyles worth capturing in a photo. It may involve appearing at the local senior’s hall on lawn bowling night or during a pool or shuffleboard tournament, but the opportunities exist.
Action shots with seniors may also be a little more subdued than these suggestions such as a lively conversation in the corner coffee shop.
Fill ‘Er Up
Not trying to be funny here, but when you tighten up close on the face or hand of an elderly person you get to see a very different view of that person. Wrinkles become character lines that speak volumes that can only truly be seen or understood in a close-up photo.
Smiles, twinkling eyes and all the other great things we take for granted from our seniors get a chance to be highlighted and trapped in a time when you fill the frame with personal close-ups.
Tap Into Their Character
How many seniors do you know who can’t sit still? Well, that may be a hint for you on how to approach your photographing of them. You will have to decide on either posed or casual shots. There are going to be elderly members of your family or circle who would be best photographed in posed settings.
Others will be best as casual, candid photo subjects. You’ll be able to highlight specific character traits depending on the match you have made with your photo subject.
Stick To Naturals
Because many seniors have developed certain sensitivities, it’s a good idea to leave your flash at home. What this means is you will have to rely on natural lighting to get the best out of your elder. That’s actually not a bad thing at all.
There are several lighting tricks you can use that will enhance various aspects of your photo. You can use backlighting, daylight, lamps and whatever else you can find which will give you softer settings in your final photo results.
Color/Black and White
Here’s a great idea. Why not mix and match your photos by shooting in color and in post-production knocking some of them down to black and white? The idea here is that with black and white photos, the subject will stand out more in the frame without a lot of splashy color distraction.
Plus, because your subjects are seniors, there is a timeless quality that comes from a well-composed black and white photo of a senior doing whatever seniors do these days. (Check also our 20 Essential Black and White Photography Tips For Beginners)
Have Some Fun
There are going to be a couple of real characters in your circle of elders. If they are up for it, why not put these individuals in a different setting, clothing, and situations that may not exactly be considered ‘normal’ to them. You can use all kinds of props and outdoor settings for this.
Imagine two 80-year olds on a swing set in a school playground as an example. Think of a wide open canvas for this and see if your subjects will let you drop them into the frame for some fun.
One of the most difficult elderly photography tips is where you try to capture the emotional side of the senior. That’s not because it won’t be hard to get them laughing, crying or sharing other emotions. The difficult part comes from your reactions to what you are seeing in the lens. This will be particularly hard if the subject happens to be a favorite aunt or grandparent.
However, the captures you’ll get will be worth it as a treasured memory you’ll be able to share with others. (Click here to see 8 Tips for Capturing Genuine Emotion in Your Photos)
Play With Software
One way to enhance photos of seniors is to make use of your photography software programs. You can edit, alter and tweak all you’d like at your own pace. With several different effects options, you may be able to convert an otherwise uninteresting photo into something far more dramatic.
Never underestimate the power of your photo editing tools simply because they can produce some interesting results on photos you may have considered deleting from the set. (Read more on benefits of using Photo Editing Service.)
Related: Do Photographers Edit Their Photos?
Build On Their Wealth Of Experience
A photo session with a senior is not complete without one of the most important elderly photography tips. That is, allow your elder to share their experience with you during the time you spend with them. It will be through their storytelling and sharing of memories that you may find yourself inspired to do something a little more creative than you first imagined. The experience will also be beneficial for you to carry into future photo opportunities with other family members. Spending time with seniors is rewarding in itself. Being able to capture those moments with your camera are nothing short of priceless.