How to Take Photos Featuring Dogs and Seniors
Some of the most poignant human-dog relationships happen between dogs and senior citizens. Seeing how the two rely on each other and give each other so much love and companionship can be truly amazing (and if the dog is a senior, too, it’s just doubly amazing). Photographing seniors is pretty similar to photographing your average adult, but you have to keep a few things in mind:
Seniors’ mobility and endurance may be limited. Make sure you talk with your senior friend about physical issues, decide how long you can go before she’ll need a break, and be prepared to modify setups. For example, a senior may not be able to crouch down on the floor, so be prepared to use a chair or something else to sit on.
24mm, 1/80 sec., f/4.5, 100
Seniors may not be able to hear well. Again, talk this over ahead of time. If hearing is an issue, come up with a few hand signals to use so your friend knows what to do (smile, look at the dog, pet the dog, and so on).
Seniors may rely on a wheelchair, walker, or other assistive device. Think about how you can incorporate those into the shots ahead of time and discuss with your friend whether he’d like them in the photos. Some people may want them and others may not.
If the dog is a therapy or service dog for this individual, work that into the photos as well. Get some shots of them working together through their daily routine and some shots of the dog in his service vest.
If both of them are seniors, make sure you get some shots of their wrinkles, graying hair/fur, and other marks of wisdom. Seeing two beings who have shared so much life and time together in one image is truly touching.
One final thought from a senior friend: I may be old, but I’m not dead! In other words, let your senior pal tell you what his limits are; don’t automatically rule things out based on assumptions.