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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #1
TSEE
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Default Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Hubby's family is wanting to hire me to do some portraits of his Grandma, she's getting up in years and there's no good photographs of her from the past few years. I'm just having a hard time coming up with some decent poses or "props" more or less that's fitting for a lady in her 80's. (Its gonna be a studio setting btw.)
We've talked about doing a bit of a country theme for one set as she's very country; born and raised on a farm, raised her own family on a farm etc. So we were thinking an old antique looking chair, one of those old fashioned milk jugs, her gardening hat, some spring flowers perhaps?
And I guess some sort of more formal portrait and head shot. Its just hard to come up with things since she is getting up in years, you can't really pose her any which way and still have her be comfortable and make it look natural. Anyone got any ideas for a set I can use? Or done any sort of senior citizen portraits? As far as I know it will only be grandma in the photo, unless the kids decide they want a group shot with their mom.

So I'd be most grateful if those of you who have an ideas gimme some or have done portraits of seniors show me examples. I'm just drawing a blank and googling does really come up with much either, everything is targeted towards younger people nowadays.

Thanks!
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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #2
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

I'm in no way qualified for portrait advice

You said she's getting up in years....is she mobile enough to take some shots outside?

What I was thinking while reading your post is to actually use a farm background with her gardening hat and such.

Does she still live on a farm? If so, bring that antique chair outside with the farm as the background?

If it has to be in the studio, I don't have any suggestions as I've not done any studio work to date...

I've only done 1 senior shoot, and they were pretty receptive to my goofy personality:



I'm keeping an eye on this thread to see what you come up with

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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #3
TSEE
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Thanks Tom!
LOL that's a fun shot!
Well she is mobile enough to go outside but she can't stand or walk for long, hence I guess we'll be doing a lot of the sitting type shots. Yeah she still lives on the "farm" where she raised her family, doesn't look much like a farm any more tho since they don't do to many garden activities now when she's gotten up in years and gotten rid of most of the cattle and horses etc. I can check and see if they want some with her outside but my impressions were they wanted studio shots of her. I figured doing a few with a country setting/props and then some more formal (dressed up) and the kids (all 10 of them) can pick whichever ones they feel they want to print and hang. Want to give them some variety ya know?
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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #4
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

As I read your post a clear vision came to me of your Grandmother-in-law standing near a north window with a vase into which she was arranging flowers. Her body faces the window but her head is turned to the left looking directly into the camera. The cross-lighting gives nice shadows that define her facial contours. A small amount of flash erases the shadows that are from wrinkles and a little Gaussian blur in PP could help with the wrinkles if necessary. I see this rendered as a full length portrait (make sure that her feet and the place she's standing get into the image). Use as long a lens as possible while still getting her full height into the vertical portrait orientation and wait for a really bright northern sky.
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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #5
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert_Lay View Post
As I read your post a clear vision came to me of your Grandmother-in-law standing near a north window with a vase into which she was arranging flowers. Her body faces the window but her head is turned to the left looking directly into the camera. The cross-lighting gives nice shadows that define her facial contours. A small amount of flash erases the shadows that are from wrinkles and a little Gaussian blur in PP could help with the wrinkles if necessary. I see this rendered as a full length portrait (make sure that her feet and the place she's standing get into the image). Use as long a lens as possible while still getting her full height into the vertical portrait orientation and wait for a really bright northern sky.
Sounds lovely. I doubt I'll do any gaussian blur PP, she's aged well and the wrinkles she has give her the character. I'm gonna have to go there to see which side of the house faces north...there's only the front of the house that has windows suitable for that you're describing, the back of the house features the kitchen with a small kitchen window and the other side the bathroom with just a small frosted window. So I'll have to take a look and see (darned if I know right now which way her house sits!). Or get to to my ILs, they've got gorgeous big picture windows!
Thanks for the idea Robert!
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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #6
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TSEE View Post
Sounds lovely. I doubt I'll do any gaussian blur PP, she's aged well and the wrinkles she has give her the character. I'm gonna have to go there to see which side of the house faces north...there's only the front of the house that has windows suitable for that you're describing, the back of the house features the kitchen with a small kitchen window and the other side the bathroom with just a small frosted window. So I'll have to take a look and see (darned if I know right now which way her house sits!). Or get to to my ILs, they've got gorgeous big picture windows!
Thanks for the idea Robert!
Sounds like a plan. If you go at noon the north sky should be at its brightest. Good luck!
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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #7
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Just shoot close and capture their character..









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Old 16th of January 2008 (Wed)   #8
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Airfrog - WOW. Just WOW.
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

airfrogusmc has in th first picture of his group a great example of Rembrandt lighting. Look at how 3-dimensional it makes the image.
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #10
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Sue, I think you have some wonderful ideas above. I can't wait to see the end results with your pictures.. I know they are going to be lovely. Are you doing this with other family pictures also? I ask that because if there happens to be one of the younger grand babies there then I love a hand shot of the hands from the child next to the older wiser grandparent...

Good luck and post pic's when you can.
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #11
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

I just wanted to wish you luck. The elderly have so much character, and I'm sure the pic you come up with will be excellent, and certainly show a sensitive, charismatic side for sure. Good luck!
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TSEE View Post
Thanks Tom!
LOL that's a fun shot!
Well she is mobile enough to go outside but she can't stand or walk for long, hence I guess we'll be doing a lot of the sitting type shots. Yeah she still lives on the "farm" where she raised her family, doesn't look much like a farm any more tho since they don't do to many garden activities now when she's gotten up in years and gotten rid of most of the cattle and horses etc. I can check and see if they want some with her outside but my impressions were they wanted studio shots of her. I figured doing a few with a country setting/props and then some more formal (dressed up) and the kids (all 10 of them) can pick whichever ones they feel they want to print and hang. Want to give them some variety ya know?
Absotively!

I like the window idea that was suggested....

That's not to say that studio isn't out of the question....

Anything to showcase her character and element...

Now for lighting, I'll back away on that one

Looking forward to the results!

Tom D
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #13
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

airfrogusmc, love the shots, my fav is 3 and 6
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #14
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Wow thanks guys for all the good lucks and suggestions. And airfrogusmc those are some great photos, thank you so much for sharing those. I love #1 and 3, I think those would make for lovely portraits of her. I have to keep those in mind definitely. Again thank you, really that helps a ton since I"m more of a "visual" person than anything else. Things make so much more sense if I get to study a picture and see where and how the light hits than being explained.
But anyways thanks guys for all the suggestions, if someone else has more ideas I"m more than willing to listen and give it a go!
Heather, yeah I think that can be managed. We do have 5 generations in the family but the kids there are older than my youngest and my youngest is so usually close by so I'm sure I can squeeze a shot like that in.

.....to be continued guys.
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Old 17th of January 2008 (Thu)   #15
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Default Re: Show me: Portraits of Senior Citizens!

Sue, Airfrog posted some great examples and this month's issue of Rangefinder has a fantastic article with photos about photographing senior citizens.
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