Making a Senior Portrait on Black and White 4×5, (Not That Kind of Senior Portrait!)

I love having a job as a working photographer that permits me to meet new people constantly.

When I’m between assignments or client work, which usually is Mondays, I open my studio to local senior citizens age 70 and over to come in for a complimentary portrait.

I get to work with whatever camera I want since it’s on my invitation, and I get to make the final print selection, because essentially I commissioned the portrait for them. They get a framed 11×14 or 16×20 and I get to put my work in homes to be seen by families for generations to come, to always know these older members of their family.

I request they dress up for their portrait and they do for the most part. I tell them when they look their best, they’ll feel their best and it will show in the photograph.

Today it was the 4×5 Speed Graphic with a Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 135mm f4.7, shot at 1/25 second at f5.6. (I would have made a frame at 1/10 second and stopped down to f8, but that shutter speed was more like 2-seconds, so 1/25 it was!) Film was Kodak Tmax 400 long expired but refrigerated and working fine.

I started this project seven years ago in 2015 in my former studio and it’s open to other photographers if anyone would like to join me in photographing the seniors in their area. Visit for more info on how it started and how you can contribute to it.

It’s a very rewarding way to make portraits for those great-great-grandchildren that will never know their ancestors, but will have a beautiful, high-quality portrait to at least get a glimpse to what they looked like when they were looking their best.

I love my work, living the artist life!

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