Photography for Retirees


Getting older has some down sides, I think everyone would agree, but to make the twilight years more fun is most important. That is what keeps you young. After all, look at Grandma Moses, who in her 70’s took up painting and became a world celebrity. You can do the same with photography, and you don’t have to wash out the brushes afterwards!

Photography is actually an excellent pastime for the senior members of your family. They have the time to indulge themselves, they have endless grandchildren to photograph growing up, and it gives them something to keep themselves active. A most important part of growing old(er).

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Photography is something that can be picked up and put down at will, it is not too physically demanding, and modern cameras can assist in some areas where age has taken some toll. And the end result is something that can give them great joy, be that award winning sunsets or just pictures of the grandchildren.

So what camera should Granny get? The first pre-requisite is autofocus (AF). There are many reasons for this, but since sharp focus is necessary for a good final print, why not let the camera do it for you, when sharpness in vision is something that becomes very problematical as you get older. Since most people need reading glasses by the time they are 45, and at least half the population has mild cataracts by the time they are 60, AF is the way to go! Provided you can point the camera in the right direction, the camera will do the rest.

Another problem often associated with aging is stiffening of the fingers. This can make it difficult to operate the small buttons on some of the very small pocket compacts and phone cameras. Before settling on any particular camera, you should make sure that the senior in your household can operate the equipment.

Now I have never been a great advocate of zoom lenses, but they do have their place, and especially with senior photography. Zoom lenses save you having to go the distance. Is it just too much of a hassle these days to walk up to distant objects to get close-up details? Then a zoom lens will do it for you. With a zoom lens it is no problem at all to get a close-up, a wide angle and a distant shot from the same camera position. Maybe an autofocus digital compact camera with an inbuilt zoom lens is just the camera for you. Just push a button to make the zoom bring the subject closer or farther away.

As we get older, we are also more prone to the shakes. Today’s digital cameras can even compensate for the tremor, with anti-shake technology. I do recommend that you look for this feature when making your choice. This feature, often called Optical Image Stabilization makes photography for seniors even easier.

Today’s camera manufacturers have taken the tears out of flash too. Almost all new cameras have their own in-built flash which comes on when the light levels are too low, will set their own flash power and give you perfectly lit indoor night shots every time. You can even use the in-built flash during the day to give your photos just a little extra sparkle.

So which camera should you choose? Look for suitable AF digital compacts with built in zoom, anti-shake technology and auto flash and a large LCD panel so you can review the images. I would look at a camera from the major manufacturers, both photographic and electronic. We purchased a Samsung the other day, compact with 12 MP and all the rest of the electronic features we look for today.


Avoid the overly expensive ones. The main features you are looking for are as above, but the most important is whether it feels good in your hands. The choice is yours.

So there you have it, Grey Power. There are cameras available now which can get you into photography! If you once had the ‘photographic eye,’ then that ability is still there. Enjoy!