Bald People

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by perkeleellinen, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Baldness isn't what it used to be. Shaved or close-cropped hair is fashionable, many men exploit lack of hair as a distinguishing feature. This is partly because of the way that everyone is growing up much later - what our parents did in their mid-20s, we do in our mid-30s. We're delaying getting old, but our hair follicles aren't listening. Hence, baldness is becoming a more 'youthful' thing.

    If you're a man.

    This is to ask about shooting techniques for women who are thin on top. I've got some relatives in their 90s who are thin and are also a little uncomfortable with it. I don't like the idea of lowering the camera and pointing up a little as it will accentuate the skin under the chin and make the subject look like they've got a wattle. I suppose I'll need to play with positioning the flash. How do more experienced shooters deal with bald subjects?
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  3. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Hi Don,

    Thanks, that could work. I'm going to be doing this in colour, but I think it could work just the same (perhaps with a flash snoot).
     
  4. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    Be careful using such a small light source (relative to the subject) you may accentuate wrinkles and end up in the doghouse for completely different reasons - a larger, softer, diffused light might be a better bet. I know it's talking in stereotypes but hard light is great if you want to accentuate the character (ie wrinkle) of an elderly male sitter but less flattering to women as they get older. Subtly persuading them to wear a hat might be a good idea - similarly, a shawl is great for covering up those bingo wings...

    Regards
    Jerry
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    So true. Wrinkles are sometime accentuated by light that is off to the side. Frontal lighting will be more flattering when it comes to harsher light. As for not accentuating wattle, goboing light on the chin with Mathews dots and fingers could also work.

    http://setshop.com/grip-73/m.s.e.-(matthews)/dots-fingers

    I'm not telling you to give your portraits clients the finger :smile:
     
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    What the heck is a bingo wing?
     
  7. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Dan, actually, that's the flabby skin on the bottoms of their upper arms that a lot of older people have....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2010
  8. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Well cats have Jungle Pouches When they get old

    A Jungle Pouch is that sagging flap of skin on a cat's belly. All things sag when they get old.
     
  9. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I did a quick trawl around the web looking for interesting lighting and posing positions for elderly women and found very little. Seems most photographers are shooting young girls and anyone over 30 is 'elderly' and in need of diffusion. Perhaps there's a business opening here.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Good information since I'm a bald headed geezer!

    Jeff
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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  12. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I can actually see the hat thing being counter-productive.

    - "Do you want to wear a hat?"

    - "Why should I wear a hat?"
     
  13. mabman

    mabman Member

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    If you anticipate it will be a problem, and you're shooting 1 person at a time, I'd shoot a tight close-up of the face cropped at the forehead or hairline (if the thinning is more evident on top than in the front). It probably violates one of the "rules", but nuts to that :smile: I find the most interesting feature of many older people are their eyes anyway.
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Or after you print the photograph, touch up the print with a soft pencil and add hair!
     
  16. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    If you shave them completely they will be hip
     
  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I hadn't heard it before. I cracked up when I figured it out...I have a mental image of an old lady yelling "BINGO!" and waving her hand in the air, and whoever's next to her is getting slapped silly by her bingo wings.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Arm flaps
     
  19. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    "What's grandma up to?"
    "Just hangin', like she always does."
     
  20. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I have nothing constructive to contribute except something I overheard in the markets a few weeks ago when I was out for lunch with my girlfriend. We walked past two elderly women speaking near a fruit stall and caught just a snippet of their conversation,
    "Yes, but that's because bald men look like penises"
    I know I shouldn't, but I really want to know the context of that conversation...

    From a 21 year old with a conveniently shaven head (I'm not losing my hair, of course not...)
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Hence the expression "Dick head" :laugh:
     
  22. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Rub some oil on their head and point your flash/strobe at it.
     
  23. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Reporting back on this. Over the winter I practised with flash positions and strength on my wife (who isn't bald!) using firstly B&W film and then slide film to make sure the exposures were good. Last week I visited some elderly relatives to shoot the portraits. I dealt with thinning hair by lowering the flash to eye level, I used a diffuser and positioned the flash about a meter away. I asked the subjects to slightly raise their chins. The results are good, no highlights burning into scalps and no wattles.
     
  24. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Somewhere there is at least one guy named Richard Head, whose nickname is "Dick". :blink:
    Just sayin'. :whistling:
     
  25. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Oil is okay but to really accentuate you need paste wax and a soft cloth for buffing. :whistling::whistling:

    Oil is okay is pretty close to "Oil of Olay" but I guess that is a matador thing.
     
  26. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I know bowling alleys have machines for people to polish their balls. Could work on heads, too. :smile: