Ep 40: Midlife Crisis: How to take really flattering portraits of older models

Two women sharing an umbrella and walking in the rain

When you’re photographing people of a certain age, this can sometimes be challenging. Not every person wants a “character” shot, lines and all. And certain types of lighting can be very unflattering. Plus not everyone looks like a supermodel! So how do you take really flattering shots of older people? Apart from the technical aspects, people over a certain age sometimes also have insecurities about their looks or particular parts of their body. In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss what you need to do to take kickass shots of older models.

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Show notes

Is there a wrong way to hold a camera?

Info graphic detailing the different ways people hold cameras

Photo Critique

Rob Morris

Fantasy styled photo with hot air balloon in the background

Check out the critique in this week’s episode.

Midlife Crisis: How to take really flattering portraits of older models

1. Light


  • Soft diffused light
  • Nature’s soft box-11am or 2pm
  • Rembrandt big window
  • Beauty light large windows
  • Diffuser
  • Open shade
  • Backlit


  • Hard flash
  • Hard sun
  • Flouro
  • Red lights

Lens/camera setting

  • shoot as long as possible
  • wide as possible


  • It’s all about the tight jaw
  • Push face towards camera
  • Leaning up and over something
  • Bend arms for better definition
  • Hide body parts behind poles or walls
  • Lean towards camera
  • David pose


  • Great direction will bring out the best in people.
  • Have a coffee first and chit chat to break the ice.
  • If someone connects with you and likes you it’s easier to trust you. once there is trust it’s much easier to direct.


How to select the right colour for skin tone:

  • Stand in front a mirror with your model that is well lit by natural light.
  • Hold each garment close to the face and look for the most flattering colours.


  • Dark boot leg pants are the most flattering. The flare at the ankle gives the illusion that people are taller and leaner.
  • Long tops cover problem areas.
  • A cropped, fitted jacket will make waist appear smaller.
  • Heels, the higher the better.
  • Cover arms with long sleeves or sheer fabric.
  • Long scarves, light cardigans or accessories elongate the body.
  • Structured fabrics that bring in waist and accentuate hourglass look great.
  • High waisted pants make legs look longer.
  • Black not great for older skin tones.
  • Always add a splash of colour ( scarf/jewellery) around the face.

Hair and MU
5 makeup mistakes that are making you look older
MISTAKE #1: Wearing foundation that does not match your skin color.
MISTAKE #2: Choosing a lipstick that is too dark.
MISTAKE #3: Only lining the bottom of your eyes with liner.
MISTAKE #4: Applying the wrong shade of blush too low on your face.
MISTAKE #5: Not adding color and defining your brows.


  • Shirts are more flattering than T-shirts
  • Ensure pants are well fitted and not too big or too small
  • Ensure jackets fit well
  • Shoot full length for = size
  • Standing up
  • Leaning forward slightly


  • Grunge and high contrast will age skin tones
  • Dodge and burn techniques to diminish shadows

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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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