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Old Aug 25, 2006, 11:39 PM   #1
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A local charity is hosting a "greatest generation" event for their donors and supporters. Most of the attendees are from the WWII generation, and I've been asked to take posed B&W couples shots of the ladies and gents in front of a period backdrop, school prom style. They will provide the backdrop, I just need to take the shots. It's not clear if the shots will be full-length, or head-and-shoulders.

I have the equipment but could really use some advice on posing older men and women to look their best. Most of the portrait and posing articles and books focus on young, fit people.
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Old Aug 26, 2006, 8:45 PM   #2
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I think that it's most important to remember that the members of "the greatest generation" are truly our senior citizens. My father was a WW II vet and would be 92 if he were still alive today. Allow them to take their time and this will allow you some extra time, too. Think sitting, if possible, as many are not that steady on their feet. Most senior citizens are best complimented with a soft (or slightly soft) focus setting. I would also avoid really harsh bright light and use more indirect light if possible.

Hope you have a great shoot!

Paul in NoVA
Olympus E- 500 C- 730

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Old Aug 26, 2006, 9:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, Paul -- I appreciate your sensitive approach to this. Seated is good, and for those who are agile enough, I'm thinking an adjustable stool for the men to sit on, while the women stand behind with their hands on their partners' shoulders.

I'm pondering "soft focus," and agree that softness might be appropriate.

Now, what do we mean by "soft focus"? Not out of focus.

A softening filter of some sort? I am using a 20D, probably with a fixed-length lens for this portion of the shoot. I'll set up a couple of softboxes or umbrellas, and likely a set up a hairlight up and behind the subjects. I'll shoot in RAW and use Capture One. I can post-process in PS if something special is needed, but this is a freebie and I don't want a complicated workflow. Ideas, anyone?
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Old Aug 26, 2006, 11:32 PM   #4
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With the equipment you have it seems to me you've alreadycomplimented their age in a respectful manner. The only other thing I would add is everyone has a ''good and bad'' side to them. You will interacting with them so you'l notice which side is favorable.

On the soft focus, there may be a setting on some digital cameras that allow for this without buying a soft-focus filter. (I don't own a digital camera yet so I can't comment on the soft-focus built in aspect.)

Good shooting to a proud and respectable group of people. My heart goes out to them.
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Old Nov 5, 2006, 4:06 PM   #5
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I know it's too late for this, but for anyone - who might do the same event, I also would like to add that if you can, please use the Cont. shootng with Max. burst at 7, 8 or 9 (depended on your CF's speed), just in case some of them might blink while you shoot the picture. For a large group, perhaps the 17-40mm L f/4 might be a good choice.

God bless to those man & women of the Greatest Generation.


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Old Dec 5, 2006, 3:56 PM   #6
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I did a similar project years ago. I had the camera on a tripod and prefocused to a spot marked on the floor. I took one shot-the "regular"-and then the "Hollywood" with a diffusing filter quickly attached. I would not shoot with the women behind because osteoporosis has "shrunk" many of these women. Remember, the women were "veterans", too: working in factories, cooking with limited protein availability, making scarves and mittens for the fellows overseas and acting as civil defense wardens and coast watchers.

By the way, when viewing the proofs, 95% preferred the "Hollywood" versions because many of the wrinkles and spots disappeared or mellowed and they looked younger.:lol:

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Old Dec 14, 2006, 8:24 PM   #7
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Use a tripod.

Set the height of the camera to their chin level.

Good luck!
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