Many people believe taking pictures of older people is a difficult task; however, taking a flattering portrait of a mature subject just requires a few simple techniques to ensure you show them at their best. Portrait photographer Kelly Weech reveals her top posing tips for how to take beautiful images of mature subjects and the tricks of the trades to ensure both the subject and photographer are happy with the results.
Many people believe taking pictures of older people is a difficult task; however, taking a flattering portrait of a mature subject just requires a few simple techniques to ensure you show them at their best.
I believe a good portrait of someone middle-aged or older should capture the grace, experience and confidence your subject has gained over the years.
We’ll start on this page by discussing some of the general – but crucial – photography tips to consider before and during your shoot. And on the following pages we’ll look at specific poses and discuss why they work.
12 tips for before and during your shoot
- Use a medium-telephoto lens such as 85mm to 200mm to give the subject enough personal space to allow them to feel relaxed.
- Use a wide aperture to avoid the optimum aperture of the lens, which is usually f/5.6 to flatter older subjects.
- Ensure your subject feels comfortable in the clothes he or she chooses for the photo shoot.
- Avoid bright colours and bold patterns in clothing where possible.
- Do airbrush images, but leave in character and smile lines.
- In my experience, older people seem to love black and white photos so consider how your compositions, backdrops, clothing, etc will translate to monochrome (for more on this, see our guide to Black and White Photography: what you need to know for perfect mono pictures).
- Use the softest light possible and always try to avoid on-camera flash (download our free portrait lighting cheat sheet).
- If you are restricted and need to use on-camera flash, try to diffuse the light using tissue paper so the light is not so harsh and directional (learn some other ways to eliminate harsh shadows when using flash).
- Look for character and individuality to incorporate into your portraits.
- If your subject is nervous introduce another subject such as children or a pet to help them relax and convey a special bond or relationship.
- Keep talking to the subject and accommodate for their needs.
- Remember a portrait is a likeness of the person, so get to know them and aim to create something that will blow them away.
PAGE 1: Tips for before and during your shoot
PAGE 2: Glamour shots
PAGE 3: Incorporate a hobby
PAGE 4: Use natural light
PAGE 5: Lifestyle portraits
PAGE 6: Environmental portraits
PAGE 7: Show their hands
PAGE 8: Candid portraits
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