In with the Old

As retirement funds belonging to a large population of aging Boomers shrink, the word “retirement” may drop out of usage. Simultaneously as this group kisses retirement goodbye, the group just below them in the population are faced with a world of constantly changing technology to master if only to be able to communicate with their grandchildren. Meanwhile the big house they had planned on selling to fund the ‘golden years’ has dropped in value and they may not even be able to sell it at all for some time.

Senior Worker - Coffee Server

Senior man on a computer

All this means that mature workers are staying in the workforce as long as they can and causing a need for images of older workers, especially interacting with technology at work and at home. Some will attempt to return to the workforce just as unemployment rises and so will seek to renew or upgrade their skills.

Certainly articles and promo websites for retirement communities will continue to fuel the need for happy and secure retirement villages and tours, there will be an uptick in articles about the older worker as well as ad materials geared to showing mature individuals successfully interacting with technology.

The image of the bewildered oldie trying to master a computer should be replaced with granny texting or papaw easily using technological innovations. A marketing executive that gears her message to the older demographic states, “Retirees spend 10 hours a week on the Web. They're information-hungry and Internet-savvy,” Read the entire article here

Grandparents and granddaughter with computer

Judge using his gavel

Tips for this theme:

It’s a tired cliché to always show a lead manager as a mature man. Expand your next business shoot to show mature workers in other than senior management jobs, including blue collar work and service jobs.

White hair or baldness doesn’t necessarily mean ‘mature’. A 40 something with white hair or a 30-year-old bald guy don’t qualify as mature.

Accordingly don’t use keywords such as “mature”, “elderly”, “senior” or “older” to identify models that are clearly in their 40’s or younger.

The age for this genre should be at least 50+ but we need more images of those 60+

Slightly over expose older skin to blow out some of the creases and wrinkles. You aren’t going for a Botox look but to flatter older skin. Avoid harsh light altogether unless your point is to accent age. Soft natural light is best.

Watch hand placement. Even on young models, hands can resemble claws if they are not carefully posed and yet generally photographers concentrate so much on the face and body language that they forget to check out the hands and barefeet.

Websites that are speaking to older individuals by using (mostly) age appropriate images: here and about marketing to seniors here

Computer work

Elderly woman reading computer

Ellen Boughn
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  • Ellenboughn
  • Bainbridge Island, United States
I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at

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February 11, 2009

Inspiring blog! I was told last week that because I'm over 60 I was too old to complete a survery on advertising!


February 10, 2009

yeah, my Mom in her 60's, eagerly to learn how to surf on the internet & even how to type into computers last year. Now she make a big progress.


January 19, 2009

Thank you for writing your blog articles - I always find them very useful, innovative, and inspiring - and I always get an itch to use my camera directly afterwards! :)


January 15, 2009

Great information. I just recently had a couple of my 76 yr old mother sell. She spends a ton of time on the computer writing, even though she's only been using a computer for about two years now. She just had her first computer crash where it had to be sent off for repairs. She is LOST without it. LOL!


January 15, 2009

Having worked in a design agency that specialised in the 'grey market' I definitely agree there is a big lack in mature people in stock shots. You will sell good life style shots of the over 60's, without a doubt...


January 15, 2009

Middle aged and seniors going back to college are good shots as well. With the economy the way it is many retirees are having to find new careers and sources of income and thus are enrolling in college courses.


January 15, 2009

Good advice on the photography if you are still working and can find the subjects.

I am only 51 and retired for 2 years since great jobs and luckily some very good investments in my younger years certainly paid off. Not that this will never change - but it's travel and photography as a lifestyle now for me !


January 15, 2009

thanks for this useful advice; you give me always good ideas!


January 15, 2009

Good point. And I thought I am already a mature guy on my late forties... But I agree completely, and at least my wrinkles will have some use :-)
Thanks again for another great tips!
Best regards,