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Photography Question 
TERESA J. SWEET
 

Senior Citizen portrait


Not sure if anyone can help me...but I will be photographing a couple for their 50th wedding anniversary. I normally photograph children where you can get more creative, but does anyone have any pose ideas for senior citizens..other than the traditional 'studio' poses? I tried searching galleries to get ideas but couldn't find anything...


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1/16/2006 12:57:50 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Teresa; I've been shooting portraits in studio and on location for 34 years, kids, adults, seniors, actors and actresses from the theater, some prominent, others not, corporate execs., steel workers, railroad workers, blue and white color workers, ad infinitim. While my lighting set-ups may vary slightly from one to another, I seldom, if ever, repeat the same pose twice, no matter what age group the person is. I probably couldn't remember them anyway if I tried. Seniors folks(like anyone else I think) are wonderful subjects. There's really no reason at all why you can't be original and creative with this couple.

Traditional studio poses? What are they, exactly? Why are they traditional? Is this like cookie cutter Sears or K-Mart "Portrait" stuff? Everyone is unique and has their own personality. It's up to you as the photographer to engage them somehow, bring out their personality and capture it at the height of the moments. That's what portrait photographers do and know how to do.

Forget the cookie cutter stuff. This sounds like it's your opportunity to start thinking waaay outside the box. Get creative, start writing down some ideas and thoughts and take the time to get to know your subjects while you work with them. Be unique !!!! Start by thinking black and white...not color.
Single light, softbox or maybe a white umbrella with a fill card. Forget the multiple lamps with a background and hair light. BE UNIQUE !!!!!!
Take it light.
Mark


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1/16/2006 3:05:48 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
Teresa,
The reason you will have a had time finding a lot of poses other then the traditional for folks of this age, has a lot to do with their mobility, and can also be effected by size as well.
tradional standing and stool poses are much easier for them and as you angle and lean them they can be made to look a little smaller and younger.
I do hope this helps,
Debby


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1/16/2006 3:09:56 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Debby, Debby, Debby. I guess this is one of those times when we disagree. I've photographed some folks in their 80's and 90's as a couple or individually, who turned out to be more spry than someone in their late 30's or 40's. Older folks are not usually immobile nor do I think they lack mobility.

I also disagree with your wanting to avoid photographing the scar on that gentleman. I'll bet he had a great story to relate as to how he got it. Did you ask? I think most of the time, older folks aren't as conscientious as we might imagine them to be. With humor, interest and a bit of coaxing, you can get them to display warmth, intelligence and a lifetime of experience in their facial features. With those factors and the right lighting and timing, you can capture it all and make some extremely memorable and pleasing photographs.

If you study the works of Philippe Halsman or Alfred Eisenstadt, the more recent works of Bill Allard and his book Portraits of America, you'll see what I mean. As I said to Teresa, be unique, think out of the box. You don't have to photograph seniors running track and field events, but they don't need to be static either.
Take it light.
Mark


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1/16/2006 4:00:20 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Mark,
There are no scars on this Man.
(i know this for fact, because he is family- I have Plenty of facal scars, I don't belive in ever hiding who a person is)
The "Eye Cut" I refer to is a term used when someone looks out of the corner of the eye. It is undesirable in Portraits.
You and I disagree it seems only because you seem to mistake the diffentces between "Portrait" photography and Photo journalism.
( this would be in mind just due to other posts we seem to disagree on)
I am sorry we disagree but for all the experiance I am sure you have ,You have yet to post agood expliation of a portrait type photograph. But GREAT posts on captueing the moments.
With all due respect maybe a Gallery would help out.
I am sure everyone encluding myself would benifit from seeing your work.
Just a though,
The Happy Cookie Cutter

**Portrait****************************
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search
For the R&B group, see Portrait (R&B group)
Portrait also means a document or image where height is greater than width (opposite of Landscape position).

A portrait is a painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person. Portraits are often simple head shots or mug shots and are not usually overly elaborate. The intent is to show the basic appearance of the person, and occasionally some artistic insight into his or her personality.

The art of the portrait flourished in Roman sculptures, where sitters demanded realistic portraits, even unflattering ones.

*******Photojournalism***************
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from Photo journalism)
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Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, and in some cases to video used in broadcast journalism. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of:

Timeliness the images have meaning in the context of a published chronological record of events.
Objectivity the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict.
Narrative the images combine with other news elements, to inform and give insight to the viewer or reader.



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1/16/2006 4:24:23 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Deb: I'm not here to shamelessly self-promote my work as either a portrait photographer or a photojournalist. I'm here to suggest and help out. While I appreciate your invitation I'll politely decline. My work is all copyrighted and my stock is represented by two agencies. I'm not about to risk placing those works on any website where there's even a remote chance that someone will boost one of them for their own use. The benefit of my experience is merely in the words I use to teach, not the photographs I'd place up here to have people trying to copy a particularized style. It's all about their own experimentation with light, and their desire to learn the various techniques and processes. Not mine. Though I continue to learn something new every day.

Oh, and my definition of photojournalism is more along the lines of ASMP. (American Society of Media Photographers) Halsman and Eisenstadt were also photojournalists who shot portraits. Bill Allard, shoots for National Geographic, among others and portraits. I don't call my portraits as being created with photojournalistic style. They're portraits, plain and simple that cut through and capture the genuine essence of the individual depicted. Nothing more or less.

Besides Debby, instead of arguing about definitions, why don't you just discuss the merits of what I'm saying to Teresa in terms of PHOTOGRAPHIC technique? I don't care what you call it.

Okie dokie?
As you mentioned, I believe. Reasonable minds disagree. :>) Peace.
Mark


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1/16/2006 7:21:53 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Deb ! I'll sweeten the pot a bit. Next time you get up to northern Calif. Carmel / Pebble Beach, Monterey, let me know and we'll get together. I'll show you where I shoot locally, let you perouse my tear sheets, portfolios, and my equipment if you want. AND, AND !!if you're (reasonably) nice, I'll buy you (and your husband) lunch. If you want, bring a couple of portfolios and I'll see if my rep (who reps other photographers) can be around to take a look and offer some input. Hows that?

Just drop me an e-mail in advance.
Mark
"feldstein@attglobal.net"
_________________________
A world without John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Dinah Washington would be....nothing.


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1/16/2006 7:54:29 PM

 
Kerby Pfrangle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/19/2005
Contact Kerby
Kerby's Gallery
  Teresa

Go into my gallery and look at an image called Birthday Girl.

It is of my friends husband and her mother but it might be a pose you could use successfully for this type of photo.

I have it in the contest for Dec. under the JOY category.

It is one of my favorite images I ever taken.

Kerby


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1/16/2006 8:03:27 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Mark,
on the first post you were posting as I was typing, I had no idea,you were answering the question.
But when you saw mine -take a look at your the responce-always jumping to conclusions.
and somethings just don't add up:
"Hey Deb: I'm not here to shamelessly self-promote my work as either a portrait photographer or a photojournalist."....
"Greetings Teresa; I've been shooting portraits in studio and on location for 34 years, kids, adults, seniors, actors and actresses from the theater, some prominent, others not, corporate execs., steel workers, railroad workers, blue and white color workers, ad infinitim..."

"I'm here to suggest and help out..."

.."The benefit of my experience is merely in the words I use to teach, not the photographs I'd place up here to have people trying to copy a particularized style. ..."

I could see your position if in the same posts, you didn't put others suggestion or works down.
you have done this SO often.
If you are going to do that then you should offer a example of why you feel one way is better then someone elses.
I do you belive you to be intelegent and talented, but feel you should have Respect for the many other talented and intellgent people here as well.
just a thought.
Thank you for the offer-Lunch would be great.
But, I am VERY HAPPY with where I am as a Photographer, and in Business.
As a Teacher I spare nothing and give every bit of what I know in words, my time and example.
You may call me a "Cookie Cutter" as you have so many times(in referance to my work)
But I AM A DANG GOOD ONE!:-)lol,lol
and it works for me.
Thanks again for your offer,
"The happy cookie cutter"

For the thread:
In my corprate years I would see 15-30 sittings a day(depending on season and holiday)
8 out of 10 seniors (50 anniversery makes then 68 and up)
will have some mobility issues, So just keeping that in mind- I had a client get hurt just getting up from a floor pose, they thought they could do.
So, Taking extra care will help you not ware them out and stay away from Insurance issues.
So, traditnal poses just seem to fit better-maybe try some of htose and then move on to something Mark has suggested.


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1/17/2006 7:53:59 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hi Teresa,
I'm going to do some searching... I'm on a quest to learn more posing and have an older couple to photograph soon too. If I find anything I'll be sure to post it!


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1/17/2006 9:34:11 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Ok Debby, speaking of taking things out of context and reading more into them than is really there, I never referred to you as a cookie cutter or in any other way since I never saw your response until much later after I posted mine.

I can't recall an instance here where I actually put someones work down. I think on that score, you're just plain wrong. As for someone's technique, again, you're taking things out of context. I rarely look at someones work here unless it relates directly to a problem they're having like a camera issue. Go back and get a second look at what I told Teresa and if you do, please don't inject anything that isn't there. And besides, I haven't heard any complaints like yours from anyone else around here.

And I gotta ask: Why are you using cut and paste of things I said when you don't address those things directly. If I need to recall what I wrote, I can just go back and read what I wrote. LOL !!

Lemme guess: You used to work for Olin Mills, right? That's your corporate experience, yes? Have you looked at Eisenstadt's work; Phillipe Halsman's, Allard's, Arnold Newman's portraiture? What, exactly, is a photojournalistic style of portrait? Photojournalism is not portraiture. Portraiture is certainly not photojournalism. Documentary work, yes at times, but that doesn't take it out of the realm of portraiture and doesn't impact on the technique. Wanna discuss that? Separate thread perhaps.
Mark
________________________________
A world without John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Dinah Washington would be....nothing.


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1/17/2006 1:10:59 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  you know exactly what I am talking about.
I wish this could nice and easy goin'
but at this time " wishing you all my best for your continued success"


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1/17/2006 1:22:39 PM

 
TERESA J. SWEET   Oh my goodness!! I'm tired from just reading that.

Kerby, adorable pose for "Birthday Girl", kinda traditional but really shows their personality. Beautiful!

Denyse, sure, let me know what you find. I'm always up for new ideas.

Now Mark and Debby, where do I start? LOL. I value BOTH of your inputs, I love praise and critique as well. But I do have to agree with Debby, some people are more apt to be comfortable with the 'cookie cutter' poses, but even when you use those, you can still capture the look you want. But of course, some are more creative, if they wish to be.

This couple I've known for years so it was easy because they are the traditional type but they still have that young spark in their eyes. LOL. I merely just wanted some new ideas...

Thanks for your input. Mark, do you have a gallery? Debby, your work is stunning!!


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1/17/2006 4:46:09 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Teresa,
There is one in BP member Natalie's gallery (hope you don't mind natalie!) that I love...
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?mem=103710

The photos don't have titles, but it's the 9th photo. Not a unique pose necessarily, but I think it looks so great because you don't see it with older folks much. But look how cute they are- she's leaned against the pole, he's leaning in, like they're teenagers again. I love it!


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1/17/2006 5:08:50 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Teresa !! All I was trying to suggest to you was that you should try and get away from a standardized set of poses. That's a significant area for creativity. I certainly don't have any criticism of your work because I haven't seen it. Traditional people can be photographed in exceptional ways. That's one task of the portrait photographer.

I'll tell you something else that works wonders is using a polaroid back to blast a shot of how they currently look (or if it's that bad, don't show it to them). If it's great, show them and compliment them. They'll probably draw the conclusion then that you know what you're doing and feel safe enough to relax. Seewhatimeanhuh?>

I know, I know, some folks (photogs and clients) are comfortable with the standard run-of-the-mill ("cookie cutter") poses. But think about this: If everyone (or let's just say a lot of people) who sat in front of your camera struck a nearly identical pose that they learned in say high school, then what's a portfolio of your work going to look like?

When I work with students and watch them trying to pose someone what strikes me the most is their inability to communicate with the person posing on a level that person can relate to. Sure, they can direct hand placement in their laps (the fig leaf pose), or turn their head toward the camera and chin up (the moose in the headlights shot) but they can't talk WITH them. That takes practice. And I've taken groups of students to hold communication workshops to teach them the basics of how to communicate with a sitter.

BUT if you DO communicate with your portrait sitters on a fundamental level, it gets the person sitting there like a tree stump or fire plug and awaiting further instructions, annimated. It gets their mind off the fact you're going to capture their soul on film and never return it. If you talk with them for awhile, and work with that for awhile, chances are they'll relax, lose the self-consciousness, pose themselves and all you need to do is capture it.

Taking the time to do that works wonders with people. Try pulling a stool up next to your tripod and having a conversation with them. See what happens. If your timing is right in releasing the shutter, I can almost guarantee you'll never use (here, how bout this) canned poses again. That's also why I prefer using a camera with a motor drive and a long cable release. I can hold a conversation with someone and release the shutter after the first frame or two, without even looking through the viewfinder. Oh, and btw, when I've got what I think is THE shot of the person, I don't hustle them out the door. I just continue our conversation until THAT's done. And you know what Teresa, it makes people feel as though they have value and they're not just a fee. It's also, above all else, an enlightening experience and indeed, a privilege to photograph someone's portrait.

And as for Debby, I have absolutely NO idea what her last post was talking about. Be well Teresa.
Mark


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1/17/2006 5:23:13 PM

 
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