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  • A Beginners Guide to Taking Portraits of Elderly Clients: Part 2 – Lighting and Posing

    The post A Beginners Guide to Taking Portraits of Elderly Clients: Part 2 – Lighting and Posing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Clinton Moore.

    Welcome to part two in our series on photographing older clients. In part one, we looked at rapport building and the practical aspects of preparing for your shoot. In this article, you’ll learn about lighting and posing techniques to enhance your photos of elderly subjects.

    Lighting older clients utilizes most of the same lighting principles that you apply to younger clients, but there are a few extra tricks that will ensure a stress-free and flattering shoot.

    Lighting practicalities

    For this article, we’re going to assume that you are shooting at the subject’s home – often a requirement when shooting older clients. This means that you won’t have access to a full studio setup and will have to improvise based on space.

    Lost in space

    If you’re lucky, your older client may still be in the old family home with beautiful high ceilings so you can set up and bounce light to your heart’s content. Unfortunately, many will have downsized and are often in smaller apartments. Others may be in nursing homes with less space than your average bathroom and have everything they own crammed within this space.

    In tight spaces, the best bet is to try and get outside. However, this is not always possible for less mobile clients.

    Also remember, if you’re doing a shoot in a nursing or retirement home, you’ll possibly need to gain permission from the village manager. There’s a lot of protection around older residents (and rightfully so), which means the home is not likely to take kindly to a stranger turning up unannounced and taking photos of vulnerable people.

    This is not one of those situations where it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission first!

    Flash versus continuous lighting

    As a photographer, flash is probably your go-to for artificial lighting when outside the studio, but take a moment to consider continuous lighting. While a strobe is more portable and powerful than most affordable continuous lights, they can be quite disorienting for older clients – particularly those with dementia. The last thing you want is to distress the person you’re hoping to make a smile.

    With the affordable price of LED lighting these days, continuous lighting is now incredibly accessible and has the added benefit of remaining cool for your client as opposed to older lights. Advances in chip-on-board LED technology also means you don’t have to worry about heavy and expensive HMI lights when you want that classic Fresnel look.

    Soft versus hard light

    The aim of the shoot will determine your lighting style.

    It’s going to be rare to hear an older person say “please make me look old and grizzled,” so your aim is likely to create a flattering image of your subject by leaning towards soft, highly-diffused light. You can achieve this by using light from large light sources such as softboxes and umbrellas. The bigger the source, the better! You want that light to wrap around their face.

    Unless it’s the desired look, contrast is your enemy when photographing elderly people as it accentuates their wrinkles and any other parts that are sagging. This might be great for gritty street photography, but it’s unlikely an older person wants you to portray them like that in a paid portrait.

    Think less George Hurrell, more Anne Geddes (but leave the flower pot at home).

    Of course, the final decision should always come from a mixture of trying to convey your client’s personality and meeting the brief agreed upon in your pre-shoot consultation.

    Lighting setups

    We’ll look at two classic lighting setups which aim to create a flattering portrait. While there are limitless portrait lighting options, not all will work with older clients due to wrinkles, sagging, and posture issues.

    3-point lighting

    The classic three-point lighting setup provides you with a huge amount of flexibility to sculpt the subject’s face in a flattering light.

    For older clients, aim to have your key light only a little stronger than your fill light. This reduces contrast and provide a more flattering light that wraps around the face. Fill light is your friend when it comes to older clients.

    Short lighting (left) generally provides a more flattering photo for an elderly subject than broad lighting (right).

    Although you’ll be using more fill than normal, it’s still important to be aware of the effects of short and broad lighting, as aging isn’t always kind to the face shape. You can use short lighting to make a wide face appear more slender. This is usually the more flattering option for older faces.

    Broad lighting can add some width to a skinnier face, but it tends also add more emphasis on wrinkles.

    For older clients, it can also pay to lower your lights a little more than you might with a young client. The shadows cast by higher lights emphasize wrinkles and sagging skin.

    Placing the lights higher as you might do with a younger client can create shadows that highlight features such as wrinkles and crow’s feet.

    By lowering the lights, the face softens, and you can fill in the eyes which tend to sink with age. It never hurts to throw a reflector under the subject’s chin to lift the shadows.

    Dropping your key light by just a small amount can have a dramatic difference to the final image.

    You will then get a final shot that creates a warm and inviting portrait.

    Combining all the changes and tossing in a reflector under the subject’s chin creates a final image that presents them in favorable light.

    Clamshell lighting

    Clamshell lighting can create a very dramatic look, but with large diffused light sources it can also light an older face in a flattering way while still providing a dynamic effect.

    In this setup, we have a large softbox angled at 45-degrees acting as the key and an umbrella as the fill. You may also want to experiment with a beauty dish as the key light for a more striking look.

    The clamshell is a simple setup and can be achieved with just one key light and a reflector to act as fill if need be.

    While exposing correctly is a no-brainer no matter how you’re lighting, it goes double for a clamshell setup as excessive underlighting creates a ghoulish look like something out of a horror movie. A safe way to avoid this can be to use a simple reflector or bounce board as your fill if you’re not comfortable with setting exposure on artificial lights.

    Failing to set your fill light correctly will result in underlighting that creates a scary look unlikely to be desired by your client.

    As you can see, by reducing the fill light to a little more than half the exposure of the key light, you get a more balanced look.

    Ensuring that you have your fill light set lower than your key light will create the classic clamshell look.

    Combined with good posing, this lighting setup can provide a great option for taking a square-on image of an older person. The resulting shot can convey an introspective, but intimate feel.

    By exposing correctly and positioning your client beautifully you will get a final shot that has a great introspective feel.


    Elderly portrait idiosyncrasies

    Although having a couple of basic lighting setups will get you 80% of the way to photographing elderly clients, there are still a few little hurdles to be aware of that may otherwise cause chaos on your shoot.

    Glasses and reflections

    Glasses are the bane of your existence when working with elderly clients. A pair of spectacles loves nothing more than to capture the reflection of your lights. And God help you if you’re dealing with bifocals!

    Glasses! Guaranteed to destroy any portrait without some planning.

    You can always ask your subject to remove their glasses completely, but many will feel that they look wrong without their glasses after having worn them for so many years.

    Managing glasses always requires a bit of compromise to bring your client’s eyes back into the image, but three of the best options are:

    1. Tilt Down – Ask you subject to tilt their glasses down just a little. This can be combined with tilting their head down as well. Don’t go overboard with this unless you want them to look like Santa or a librarian.

    You will largely remove the reflections by asking your subject to lower their chin and tilt their glasses down. However, be careful not to overdo it!

    2. Raise Your Lights – Raising your lights a little higher reduces the chance of picking up a reflection. Of course, the trade-off here is that you will get more shadows. It can help to balance the change with a reflector.

    Raising the lights resolves the reflections issue, but creates a new dilemma due to the heavy shadows that now appear.

    3. Lensless Glasses – Possibly the best solution. Bring along a pair of glasses with the lenses removed. Hey presto, no more reflections to worry about. The issue here, of course, is that they may not be the style of glasses that work with your subject’s face.

    Managing baldness

    Sure it happens to younger folks as well, but if you’re photographing older clients, you’re going to encounter a lot of bald heads. The issue here is that a bald head will act like a big reflective surface and create a hot spot.

    To resolve this:

    1. Lower Your Lights – by lowering the height of your lights you reduce the reflections on their head. Of course, the problem here becomes the balancing act that has to take place if your subject also happens to be wearing glasses!

    2. Remove Rim Lights – When dealing with baldness it’s worth considering doing away with your rim light entirely. Find alternate ways to separate your subject from the background.

    3. Powder – Having some neutral powder on hand is always handy to reduce the shine of a bald head. If you’ve got a particularly proud male that won’t wear “makeup,” take a photo without any powder applied and show them the attention drawn to their head.

    Exposing hair

    Jumping back to the 3-point lighting setup, this all comes down to the rim light. As mentioned above, the rim light is the enemy of the bald head. However, it also wreaks havoc with grey hair. Be extra careful not to overexpose with grey hair as you will quickly blow the highlights much more easily than you would with colored hair.

    Posing older clients

    Posing older clients is tricky because, as we discussed in part one, there is a range of what constitutes being “elderly.” People around 65 years of age will probably be able to do many of your standard poses with great results. However, significantly older clients may have restricted mobility and health issues that prevent them from standing for long periods.

    Stools are for fools

    Assuming you are working with a client over the age of 80, it’s best to consider basing your shoot around them sitting down. The first thing to do is turf that stool that you use with your younger clients.

    Older clients need the back support of a chair and could fall off something as unstable as a stool. They also may not have the core strength to support themselves on a stool leading to some very bad slumping.

    Clients over the age of 80 with mobility issues are also likely to have recliner style chairs that they can easily disappear into.

    Shooting front-on with your client in a large chair or recliner will tend to make them look small and wider if they are allowed to sink back.

    Shooting this image, particularly front-on, will make the client appear small and can have an unflattering effect on their thighs (which will spread when seated in this manner).

    To remedy this issue prop your client up with some pillows to create a better posture. If the client is quite frail, ask a family member to do this so that you don’t cause any harm.

    Place pillows behind the client or ask them to sit towards the edge of the chair to shift their posture.

    By bringing the client forward and focusing on the head and shoulders framing, the resulting image is more flattering.

    By moving the client forward they will be less likely to slump resulting in a more flattering image.

    Safe and secured gear

    One of the major causes of injury in elderly people is falling over. Often they will be very used to everything being set up in their home a particular way. As such, moving furniture around and bringing in big gear can pose problems.

    Firstly, only move furniture with their permission and, of course, put it back when you’re done! Ensure that you’ve left a clear path to the front door and the toilet in case of emergencies.

    Secondly, secure your gear! At the very least put sandbags on your light stands and tripod. If you’re using anything that has cords, pull out that gaffer tape and stick it down.

    Sandbag those lights and gaffer those cords so that you don’t end up responsible for a trip to the E.R.

    An uninjured client is a happy client, so take those extra few minutes to make sure the area is safe.

    Flattering posing angles

    Great, you’ve got everything setup safely, now it’s time to pose your client.

    Again, assuming you are dealing with a client who is older than 75, posing is about compromises.

    Few people look great square-on, so start by asking your client to turn their body slightly away from the camera. Next, ask the client to turn their head back to the camera with their body facing the key light.

    It’s often best to avoid having older clients tilt their head as this can cause bunching of the skin under the neck. Instead, keep the head perpendicular to the body and focus on asking them to push their jaw slightly forward to stretch their neck.

    If your client is really concerned about their neck wrinkles, it will be best to shoot from slightly above the client and ask them to angle their chin down. Similarly, if a male client is worried about baldness, shooting from slightly lower than eye level reduces the focus on their head.

    For clients who are unable to shift their neck or body due to age, a front-on shot can still be flattering, but you will want to try and shift the weight forward.

    Move your subject as close to the edge of the chair as is safe while supporting their back. Clients who struggle to support their weight may benefit from placing their hands on their thighs

    Prop the client up with pillows behind their back and ask if they are able to place their hands on their knees to support their weight while leaning forward a tad. Experiment with placement on the knees and thighs to find the position that allows for the most natural shoulder alignment.


    Photographing elderly clients is a great way to bring together all of your basic lighting and posing principles with a few extra challenges thrown in to boot!

    Experimentation is always key as you will have to work with the physical restrictions of your client’s age and the practical limitations of their home. By having a clear idea of your client’s expectations, the two of you can find a way to achieve an image that makes everyone happy.

    Moreover, remember that sometimes they’ve earned those wrinkles and are damn proud of it!

    The post A Beginners Guide to Taking Portraits of Elderly Clients: Part 2 – Lighting and Posing appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Clinton Moore.

    Source: DP School

  • How to Create Simulated Light Leaks Using Lightroom

    The post How to Create Simulated Light Leaks Using Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

    Recently, we discussed how easy (and cool) it can be to reproduce the basic looks of vintage film stocks with our digital photographs. Sure, this style is not for everyone, but it’s undeniable that the “film look” has made a resurgence in recent years. There’s an especially organic feel to a photograph that has muted tones and funky contrasts which carries an inherent interest that makes people look twice. To go a step further, if you truly want to push the envelope of your digital vintage film simulations, you can go as far as to introduce something which is generally considered to be the sworn enemy of photographers everywhere: light leaks. I know, I know…the horror, right?


    Light leaks

    Light leaks are less of a problem in digital photography and seldom occur. Still, it can happen. Unwanted light rays can weasel their way into your photos through damaged camera bodies or poor lens fitment in digital and analog cameras alike.

    However, when shooting with film the incidence of light leaks skyrocket. Causes range from accidental openings of the camera back to damaged film canisters and general mishandling of the film either before or during processing.


    Why make an intentional mistake?

    Now, you might be wondering ‘why, oh why, might we want to simulate light leaks in our digital photographs if they are so loathed and avoided in general photography?’ The answer to that lies in the very nature of light leaks themselves; they add uniqueness.

    While technically flawed, light leaks can impart a vibe of beautiful realism to a photograph. Because the chances of light leaks increase with the age of a film, it makes perfect sense to learn how to introduce them alongside your digital vintage film simulations in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.


    Don’t get me wrong; light leaks are not practical or even warranted for every one of your vintage film simulations. That said, a judicially placed light leak on the right photo can boost it’s aesthetic appeal tremendously. What’s more, being able to create digital light leaks at will is a handy skill to have in your mental post-processing tool kit.

    How to make a Light Leak

    The cause of light leaks is the intrusion of light of various intensities interacting with the film. To reproduce this effect digitally in Lightroom we’ll make use of some cleverly simple local adjustments. The graduated and radial filters are the primary local adjustment tools we’ll use for our light leak simulations.


    We’ll also use the local adjustment brush – but not in the way you might think. I’ll show you what I mean in just a second.

    To get started, we’ll use a photo I have already processed using some of my vintage film presets. It has a faded vibe and a mellow tone. This should work well with our light leak simulations. It’s always a good practice to add your light leaks AFTER you have completed processing your photo.


    1. Deciding where to place your light leaks

    There are no rules when it comes to creating your light leak simulations but if you’re going for realism remember that your light leaks should look as if they are – well – caused by light leaking onto the film.

    Consider where the light might be intruding from when determining where they appear. Is there a crack in the camera housing? Was there a pinhole in the film canister? Perhaps the dark slide accidentally slid back just a tiny bit in the film holder?

    For our particular example, we’ll be going for a sort of “first frame” light leak. This simulates a 35mm frame having been exposed to light on one of the first sections of the film while being loaded into the camera. Virtually all 35mm cameras wind the film from the spool to the spindle from left to right, so the light leak will always appear at the right side of the frame. So, that’s exactly where we’re going to put our digital light leak simulation.


    2. The Graduated Filter

    We’ll use a single graduated filter to produce the light leak. Create the filter and make it wide enough to rotate easily.

    It doesn’t matter where it is created on the photo because we will re-position it after we’ve added the adjustments.

    For most photos, the core effect is caused but the Exposure and Whites sliders. Begin by increasing the Exposure slider considerably until you lose detail in the highlight areas of the image.


    Depending on the overall brightness of your photo even +100 exposure increase might not be adequate. If this is the case, make use of the Whites slider to increase the intensity of the leak. We can always dial back the brightness after the next step.

    3. Placing and feathering the Graduated Filter

    Now it’s time to re-position the graduated filter and compress it to the appropriate feathering.

    Grab the center point and pull the filter to the right of the photo. A good rule of thumb is to place the far edge of the filter even with the edge of the frame.

    Next, click and drag the left side of the filter to reduce the feathering. This is when the light leak will begin to really look like a light leak.

    The feathering is important in reproducing the circumstances of the particular light leak effect you’re after.

    In our case, the light would have interacted with our film up to the point where it was shielded by the film canister. Modern 35mm canisters feature felt lining on the mouth of the canister where the film enters. This will produce a very slight feathering effect in the light leak. So we will reflect this minute amount of feathering with our simulation.


    4. Adding fine adjustments

    With our light leak placed we can now go to work applying some fine adjustments. Anything is possible! Adjust the intensity of the leak by increasing or decreasing the Exposure and Whites sliders or amplify the color (or take it away) using the Saturation slider. You can even add in custom colors using the color swatch selector. For our example, we’ll add in some yellow.


    What a beautiful mistake we’ve made! But we’re not finished yet.

    5. The Adjustment Brush

    You’ll recall earlier I mentioned we would use the adjustment brush tool but not actually to create the leaks. Instead, we will make use of the Adjustment Brush to ERASE areas of our light leaks. That way, we can selectively control how they appear with more precision.

    In our example, we’ll dial back the light in the area of the sky to make it flow more naturally with the rest of the adjustment.


    Now that we’ve placed our primary light leak let’s kick things up a notch by adding in some additional ones. Remember that less is usually more when it comes to light leaks. But since we’re having fun, let’s pretend our camera was having a terrible day.

    6. Adding extra light leaks with the Radial Filter

    Our next light leak will simulate an intrusion at one of the ends of our film canister. Leaks of this type generally manifest themselves at the edges of the film around the sprocket holes. Depending on the severity, the leak bleeds down towards the midline of the film. We’ll pull off this effect using the radial filter tool with the same slider adjustments we used earlier. Again, create the filter anywhere you please in the beginning and then re-position.


    Drag the center point of the filter to the top edge of the photo being careful to leave the point itself within reach for easier re-positioning. Once you roughly position the filter, pull the bottom of it downward (or upward depending on position) until it reaches the desired location.


    Since this type of leak usually occurs very close to the film, they will exhibit more clearly defined edges which means we’ll use less feathering of the filter.

    Of course, this is entirely a judgment call so feel free to adjust the feathering to suit your taste. Add in more radial filters to complete the effect by right-clicking the center point and selecting ‘Duplicate.’


    Congratulations! We’re finished making our light leak simulations and we did it all right inside of Lightroom Classic CC using a few simple tools that anyone can use.


    But wait, there’s more….

    Saving your light leaks as Local Adjustment Presets

    As you’ve seen, most light leaks are incredibly easy to make once you understand the basic concepts involved with the effect. Still, it’s a good idea to save yourself some time by saving your favorite light leak simulations as Local Adjustment Presets. That way, you don’t need to create each one anew every time you’re feeling like adding in a leak or two.

    Saving your light leaks as presets is as simple as a couple of mouse clicks.

    First, select the control point of the filter you wish to save as a preset. Once the filter is active, click the ‘Custom’ drop-down arrow at the top of the filter adjustment section.


    Next, select ‘Save Current Settings as New Preset’ from the bottom of the menu.


    It’s a good idea to name your preset something that will help you know exactly what effect it produces. In our case, I’ll name this one “Tina”.

    Just kidding.

    We’ll go with “35mm Canister Leak-Yellow”.


    Your new light leak preset will then be available from the local adjustment presets list.

    Final thoughts on Leaking Light…

    When you think about it, introducing simulated light leaks to your photos is a very funny thing to do. We are purposefully introducing problems to a photograph. With that being said, sometimes beauty can in fact lie within the very flaws we might otherwise avoid. Depending on the type of photograph and the final aesthetic you’re going for, adding in some judicious light leak simulations to your digital photographs can go a long way to enhance their “vintage feel”.

    Have you tried your hand at simulating your own light leaks? Feel free to share your work in the comments!

    And if you want to learn more about how to add a vintage film look to your photos be sure to check out my other article The Basics of Simulating Vintage Film in Lightroom.

    The post How to Create Simulated Light Leaks Using Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

    Source: DP School

  • Sony manager confirms a new “enthusiast” APS-C camera is on the way

    Sony Senior General Manager, Kenji Tanaka, has confirmed in an interview with Imaging Resource that they are focusing on APS-C and that a new high end “enthusiast” model APS-C camera is coming. Many have felt that Sony has kind of neglected small form factor APS-C bodies in favour of full frame. But it has, apparently, […]

    The post Sony manager confirms a new “enthusiast” APS-C camera is on the way appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • The problem isn’t the photo contest, it’s us

    Eye-rolls, shrugs, and barbs greeted the $120,000 Grand Prize winner of Dubai’s HIPA Photography Prize. Malaysian photographer Edwin Ong’s photo of a partially blind Vietnamese woman carrying her baby was derided for representing yet another “poverty porn” contest winner before it was suggested that the image was staged by photographer Ab Rashid. Behind the scene […]

    The post The problem isn’t the photo contest, it’s us appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • A major Instagram security bug leaked users passwords as plain text

    According to a report on The Information Instagram has experienced a pretty major security bug which allowed user passwords to be displayed in plain text. The issue arose, ironically, over the feature which allows users to see exactly what personal data Instagram has collected about them. Yes, the “Download your data” feature could potentially let anybody download […]

    The post A major Instagram security bug leaked users passwords as plain text appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

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