For an experienced photographer, there is no question of how to shoot this or that model, since experience allows you to reveal the character and image of a person regardless of his age, physique and congenital data. But a beginner photographer usually learns to shoot beautiful young girls with the experience of posing, and only then moves on to more complex models: men, grandmothers, children.
And during this transition period, questions arise: How to remove age? What kind of light to use? Should I accentuate wrinkles? Should I retouch the skin? In this article, we will discuss how to photograph older woman and which techniques are best to use when photographing older models so that both the photographer and the model are happy with the result.
In What Genres Can You Shoot Older Women?
Seniors can be filmed in completely different genres. Depending on whether it is a commercial or creative shooting, a familiar model or a stranger on the street, the photographer will have completely different tasks.
1. Street Photography with Older Models
Street is street photography, that is, shooting in a public place, usually in a documentary genre, without staging. Street photographers take photos walking around the city and snatching out interesting moments of reality. People, including the elderly, are often caught in their lens. Often, a person in street photography is not the main character, but an equivalent element of the surrounding world along with buildings, signs, cars, and birds.
But sometimes, especially when photographers travel to exotic countries, street photography turns into colorful portraits of strangers. The emphasis in such photos is placed not on the personality of the elderly person, but on his cultural affiliation: traditional crafts, clothes, jewelry, hairstyles, hats. People in travel photography are the same sights as masterpieces of nature and architectural monuments.
2. Try Fashion Photography with Older Woman
Fashion is a style of photography in which the emphasis is not on a person as a person, but on his image. Recently, age models are increasingly involved in fashion filming, as society actively fights against ageism and defends the rights of older people to a dignified life, including the right to look stylish. Fashion is primarily a commercial shoot aimed at advertising and selling clothes and accessories, as well as promoting a certain lifestyle.
Street fashion is a mix of street photography and fashion photography, in which the photographer’s task is to capture stylish passers-by. And shooting stylish elderly ladies is not just a photo about trends or brands, it is primarily a destruction of stereotypes and a message that you can look beautiful at any age. This genre of shooting is in demand in lifestyle magazines, where there are even regular columns about street fashion.
The selection includes far from the brightest and most extravagant images of aged women, and this was done deliberately.
Firstly, in reality, we don’t often come across elegant actresses, artists and designers who have looked stylish all their lives, so why not flaunt in interesting outfits even in old age, they are used to shocking. But ordinary women of the age (not from the screen, not from the cover) do not associate themselves with luxurious ladies in colorful outfits, so it is useless to cite them as an example.
Secondly, unfortunately, not all women by the age of 50-70-90 go in for fitness, dance or yoga, eat right, go to a beautician and ride a bicycle, which is why not all women retain a slim figure without excess weight. Because of this, many stylish things are simply unavailable, as they are not sewn in large sizes. Therefore, in the collection there are examples of elderly ladies of different builds, who also manage to choose stylish images for themselves.
Thirdly, there will be many more practical tips for shooting aged models further, but some ideas on color combinations, accessories and silhouette can be found in foreign street photos. By leafing through them, you can develop taste and look, which allow you to look good at all times.
3. Portrait Photography of Older Models
Portrait is the most popular genre for photographing people, including older women. Therefore, we will talk about him later. A portrait is a photography in which the emphasis is on a person’s personality, emotions and habits. It is not so much the external image of a person, nationality, and the surrounding background that is important here, but rather his eyes, smile or even wrinkles.
You may also like to read: Portrait Tips: 11 Portrait Photography Tips No One Else will Tell You.
How to Persuade an Older Person to Shoot?
In fact, the hardest part about photographing older women is not photography. The most common problem is not shooting. For some reason, women are convinced that with age they lose their external attractiveness, and therefore do not want to injure themselves even more, recording all age-related changes on camera.
Therefore, customers and initiators of such filming are often their children or grandchildren, who want to preserve the image of their mothers and grandmothers in their memory. If you also encounter this problem, try using the following tips – what if it helps?!
- Call your mom or grandmother for a sincere conversation, try to listen and understand the real reasons for not taking pictures.
- Do not reject the feelings and concerns of older loved ones about their appearance. Your flattery in the spirit of “Mommy, you are the most beautiful for me!” will not take the desired action, but will only cause irritation “You cannot understand me”…
- Treat with understanding the longing of your mother or grandmother for the lost youth, unwillingness to smarten up, endure awkwardness in front of the camera.
- Honestly, why did you need pictures of your mom or grandmother? Tell us why it is so important for you to shoot now. If you are afraid of illness or death of a loved one, perhaps you should say so.
- Give an example of your childhood photos, because to take them, no one asked your permission. Because it was important for parents to remember the moments of growing up of their children. Now the moment has come when it is important for children to photograph their parents in order to preserve the photos of their ancestors for history.
- Promise to arrange everything so that mom or grandmother does not have unnecessary trouble. Help me choose a set of clothes, pick up accessories for it, negotiate with the masters who can do hair, manicure and age-related makeup.
- Time this photo shoot for a family photo shoot or family celebration, anniversary, wedding. Taking a couple of portraits in a hectic environment is sometimes easier than taking a personal photo session.
- Warn the photographer about what frames you need to shoot. For example, a large portrait of a mother or a joint portrait of a grandmother with her daughter and granddaughter.
What Should Be Considered When Photographing Older Women?
Is it a creative task or a customer’s desire? You can imagine the image in which you see this or that heroine as much as you like, but the customer, especially a woman in old age, is always right. Try not to frighten off, not to offend the feelings of the heroine.
If you want to give advice, do it in the most respectful, recommendatory way. But be prepared that the customer will insist on his vision, location, image, which may differ sharply from your idea of beauty. After all, these photos do not need to be included in your portfolio later. But if you cannot get your message across, and you are not interested in shooting under the dictation of the customer, then you better refuse such shooting, and invite a model on TFP terms to implement your idea.
The wisdom of years or a second youth? Decide on the meaning of the photo. What do you want to convey to the viewer with it? Human wisdom, special charm and beauty of old age? Or, on the contrary, would you like to show that a person at any age is young and beautiful as much as he feels himself? Depending on the idea and the task at hand, you can already build the work process further.
Hide wrinkles or highlight them? If men are usually not ashamed of their wrinkles, then women, due to still relevant stereotypes in society, tend to hide their age. Therefore, before shooting, try to find out how your heroine relates to this nuance, and in accordance with this, arrange shooting and processing.
Hard light or soft? Hard, directional light tends to emphasize texture and contours. Soft, diffused light smooths out contours, roughness and texture. Side light draws wrinkles very well, and direct light smooth the skin imperfections. Shooting low key emphasizes contrasts, while shooting high key emphasizes nuance.
Therefore, if your tasks include masking wrinkles, then this should be taken into account even when shooting: choose a time and place with soft light and a bright background. At sunrise or sunset, you can use backlighting; indoors, it is better to put the model with her face or half-side to the window. And if you want a more interesting light and shadow pattern and volume, use side lighting carefully, but be sure to highlight the dark side of the face with a reflector.
How to Hide Age in A Photo?
Let’s talk about Photoshop below, but for now let’s see what techniques and accessories can be used so as not to emphasize the age of the heroine.
1. The portrait is the eyes. But if the wrinkles and bags under the eyes are too noticeable, and you want to hide them, then you can try glasses. And the bigger the better. They attract attention by pulling your eyes away from wrinkles.
2. A smile is also a very expressive element of a portrait. Moreover, even in an age portrait, it is appropriate to emphasize a smile with a dim lipstick. However, a smile causes mimic wrinkles and exposes teeth. If there are problems with this, then it is better to catch a slight smile from older models. But if you manage to make the heroine laugh sincerely, don’t miss this moment. Perhaps it will prove to be the most valuable despite the wrinkles.
3. Hands are no less expressive in a woman’s portrait than eyes or lips. Neat fingers or worn calluses are all part of the photo story.
4. Hair is a sore subject for older women. The fight against gray hair has been going on since almost thirty, numerous dyes deplete the hair. But now there is a new trend for natural hair color, including gray hair. There are even specialized hairdressers who return their gray hair to their clients. And it looks much cooler than ridiculous attempts to paint over it.
Styling long hair or a neat haircut also plays a huge role in the image of the heroine in the photo.
5. The neck is another pain for older women, as it strongly betrays the years lived. If you want to hide your age, it is better to cover your neck: pose, foreshortening, hands, collar or accessories.
6. Overweight is also an urgent problem for older people. In order not to focus on the figure, shift the focus to something else: a look, a smile, or hands. Ask the model to stretch the chin: this way you will get rid of double and triple chins, and at the same time, you will get a straightened posture. Choose top angles that don’t show the wrinkles in your belly and neck. Mask problem areas with a scarf drape or other accessories.
7. Accessories are a very important element of the image. Use bright and large decorations for older models. They are the best for distracting attention from wrinkles and folds, and also create a visual accent that you want to consider.
8. Mood. All the previous details are very important, but the most important thing is the atmosphere on the set. It is very important for a photographer to win over the heroine, to make sure that she is comfortable while shooting, to talk, to ask about important things: about the past, about children, about hobbies, about travel or pets. If the heroine has a hobby or a favorite pet, then this can be shown right on the set. Remember that older people can feel bad or get tired quickly, so don’t waste your time. Sincere communication, jokes, memories – all this can help create a trusting atmosphere, cheer up the model and get good shots.
How to Process and Retouch Photos of Older Models?
Color or black and white?
Black and white photography in age photography is mainstream as it has a powerful dramatic effect. In black and white photography, emotions, composition and contrast come to the fore.
If you do not want to emphasize the burden of past years, but want to focus on the current moment, then it is better to choose a color photo. The beauty of nature or the color combination in the image of the heroine can play an important role in color.
Natural wrinkles or thorough skin retouching?
Elixir of eternal youth, rejuvenating apples and other special means – all of this is from the realm of fantasy. Photoshop, of course, reduces the fatigue of life in the photo, but it cannot make an 18-year-old from a 50-year-old. Therefore, you should not try. Otherwise something like this turns out.
Natural wrinkles look much more beautiful in the photo.
But this does not mean that retouching photos with older models is not at all worth it. You can gently remove bags under the eyes, pointwise replace redness or darkening with fresher areas of the skin, darken an extra chin, apply an action for quick skin treatment. You can even play around a bit with the Liquify filter to tweak the proportions of the shape.
Each photographer decides for himself how much to retouch the age portrait based on his own sense of proportion. But naturalness and harmony can serve as a criterion: the viewer must believe that this is exactly what the heroine of the photo looks like in real life. If you succeeded, it means that you were able to masterly hide the processing and create a harmonious portrait.
You may also like to read: Family Photoshoot Ideas in Studio.
How to film older women? – In every way: street, fashion, street fashion, travel and, of course, an artistic portrait.
How to persuade an older person to shoot? – Listen, accept objections, share your thoughts, give your reasons and organize everything so as not to cause unnecessary trouble.
What to consider when shooting older women? – First of all, the desire of the heroine and her vision of shooting, especially with regard to emphasizing or masking age.
How to hide age in a photo? – Use soft, diffused light from a direct or semi-lateral direction. The look, smile and hands are very expressive in a portrait, but can emphasize age. Be careful with them using various distraction techniques: glasses, scarves, jewelry, hats, and other accessories.
How to retouch age photos? – The main thing is not to overdo it. Try to develop a sense of proportion in yourself, relying on naturalness and observation.