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Portraits of older people - lighting and post processing

HiDezHiDez Member
edited July 2011 in portraits & people
Hi Neil,

I'd like some help with the best ways to accomplish flattering lighting and post processing for portraits of older people. Like everyone else older people want to look good in portraits but they don't necessarily want to look like they have been totally changed with extreme overuse of Photoshop. So many of your subjects are beautiful and young so I was curious if you had any suggestions or examples of photos of the not so young?

Thanks in advance and if any of my fellow forum readers have experience with this I wouldn't mind a bit if they chimed in too~


  • Although not dramatic lighting beauty or butterfly/clamshell lighting may be what your looking for as it looks natural but is great for hiding shadows thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles if that's your goal.

    Butterfly/clamshell lighting can be as simple as an umbrella placed over the camera lens with a speed light, preferably a shoot through umbrella to get it closer, and a reflector below the lens providing fill.

    There are some other types of lighting styles that could accomplish this as well but this is very simple for an easy portrait of older people. As you may already know this is also called beauty lighting for good reason.

    Using a ring flash on the lens is also A similar approach if used as fill for a main light.

    The theory is reducing or filling in any shadows caused by side light thus reducing the "appearance" of wrinkles, plus the benefit is that you are still able to retain detail without using Photoshop to smooth the skin.

    Hope this was helpful
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited July 2011
    Definitely agree with Jeff on this one .. you want your light to come fairly close from the camera's view. The more off-to-the-side directional the light, the more it will show wrinklesand lines. So, a large light source close to the camera.

    For the specific lighting type, that would be butterfly lighting.

    That said, do invest in Imagenomic's Portraiture photoshop plug-in. Used wisely, it will make your life easier.

  • HiDezHiDez Member
    Thanks so much for the replies. Greatly appreciate the input I'm sure this will help me.
  • Does anyone have any recommendations similar to this for LR4? Anyone like to use a little bit of Clarity or Contrast to make their subject "pop" more? I like to use around +40 or so for Clarity on my photos of people in general.
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