With the advent of smartphones and hand-held tablet computers, taking photos and videos is easier than ever before. Infants and children seemingly have every moment of their lives recorded and posted on social media channels these days but there may be very few photos of older generations. The holidays are a perfect time to capture all of your family members to create lasting memories, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Even a few quick snaps are better than nothing but with just a little bit of planning, you can capture some memorable images.

In The New York Times article, How to Shoot a Photo to Remember, author Susan Seliger offers 15 tips specifically for photographing senior citizens, including “help your loved one get dressed for the occasion,” “bring in friends or other family members to engage with the person,” “get close” and “know when to eliminate or include the background.”

Most of the tips described in the article are natural elements of a holiday gathering, making it a great time for candid photographs. Older adults in particular tend to dress up for the holidays and will be interacting with friends and family members during throughout the day. Try to use a natural light source and seat your beloved aging family member in a comfortable chair during your photography session. If the setting seems awkward, try asking them to tell the children or grandchildren about the history of cherished holiday keepsakes and then use a zoom or telephoto lens to take animated close up photographs.

If any of your elderly family members are currently in, and unable to leave, a nursing home or a hospital, you could lift their spirits by helping them to dress up for a holiday visit, including styling their hair and even helping to put on some make-up. Remember to visit a hospital or nursing home with just a few family members at a time and try to take your photos during the visit, before the senior’s energy wanes. Although it might seem tricky to capture a flattering image in a medical setting, close ups and head shots would eliminate the majority of medical equipment and the sterile environment. If you will be visiting alone, bring along a family album or play some of their favorite tunes to spark their interest. According to the (i>The New York Times article, Revived By Music familiar songs have been shown to engage and enliven people suffering from dementia, which can be particularly helpful when trying to capture the essence of an individual on film.

Beyond creating lasting images, use this time together to connect with older family members to create lasting memories. If the time has come that you or a family member is no longer able to maintain an independent lifestyle, contact ElderLink to discuss elder care services and options available throughout California.