Old people have something that younger people don’t: years of wisdom, a rich collection of stories, and a unique way of looking at life. This combination of treasures is perfect for curious and open-minded photographers.
If you enjoy taking photos of people, you’ll love photographing the elderly. This fulfilling sub-genre is all about traditions, genuine emotions, and precious family moments.
Photographing old people requires a variety of skills including communication, creativity, and empathy. The tips below will help you strengthen them and take stunning photos of your subjects.
As simple as this tip sounds, it will help you connect with your subject.
Oftentimes, people assume that they should stand still in front of the camera and not blink or breathe. Let them know that this isn’t the case by asking them questions and sharing your own stories. Comfortable discussions will make your time together more of a fun meeting than a formal photo shoot.
Some old people aren’t used to the poses and facial expressions that most teenagers have already mastered. Make it clear that you’re not looking for magazine-quality professionalism. Instead, gently give them instructions if necessary. Focus on letting them be themselves in your presence.
One of the most important things you should do is ask them for feedback. Do they have any specific photo requests? Are there any photographs they like? By giving them options, you’ll let them know that you care about their voice and aren’t just there for the pictures.
Most people feel more comfortable in the presence of a friend or family member. If possible, photograph your subject with their partner, friend, child, or even pet. In addition to feeling supported, they’ll have more opportunities to forget that the camera is even there. Use these moments to take heartwarming candid photos.
Your images don’t have to consist of sitting or standing photos only. Once you find out what your subject cares about the most, give them a chance to show off their skills in front of the camera. This could be cooking, knitting, playing with their pet, or even taking photos. Putting a spotlight on their strengths will make them feel very special, something that every client deserves to feel.
Artificial light can be very uncomfortable to stare at. Instead of distracting your subject with unnatural light, photograph them during the day.
If you want to capture warmer tones, have a shoot during the golden hour (after sunrise or before sunset). If you want cooler tones, take photos after midday. For pleasant and even light, take photos in the shade on a bright day.
Adolescence and childhood are usually related to fun and laughter, but they’re just as relevant in other age ranges. Even though many photos of old people are very serious and monochromatic, don’t be afraid of making yours look silly and vibrant. If your subject enjoys laughing and having fun, let them be their true selves in front of your camera!
Unless you’re taking classic portraits, you don’t have to worry about facial expressions during your entire shoot.
When your subject’s back is turned, photograph them. When they’re holding something dear to them, don’t be afraid of zooming in. The more diverse your photos are, the easier it will be to capture your subject’s most precious memories, and the closer you’ll get to taking truly authentic portraits.
Photographing people of all ages will have a significant impact on your portrait photography skills. The wisdom and stories of old people will not only help you diversify your portfolio but teach you important lessons that will make your life all the more enriching.
Are there any old people you’d love to photograph now? Let us know in the comments!