I think that came out wrong...what i meant was , make friends with some of the residents at a retirement home.
Originally Posted by BradS
They are (obviously) older and many have lived long enough to have some at least vague memory of the equipment with which you are working. Certainly, most will be completely familiar with film - if not sheet film. Some may even have seen a speed/crown graphic or other large format camera before.
Many are, unfortunately, lonely and are therefore, very easy to talk to. If you are shy, this is a big help! They will draw you in - instead of you having to draw them in. They haven't a busy schedule and will usually assign more significance to your work than even you do. This means they will be eager to sit for you and will likely be as patient as they possible can.
Portraiture is all about people and relationships. It is all too easy to make a "beautiful" photo of a beautiful young lady - especially if she is scantily clothed. When you have made a photo of an elderly person that exposes their beauty, their deep humanity....then you will have accomplished something worthwhile. Take time to get to know the subject a little bit before siting them in front of the camera.
Finally, if it is taking you more than a couple of minutes from the time the person sits down, or "poses" to the time you expose the film, you're taking too long. You have to learn some ways to work faster with people. Have a plan, set up in advance, learn the string focus method. Be absolutely prepared and so well practiced with your gear that working with the gear is just as natural as walking to the mail box.
Do you use strobes?