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Portrait Photography Settings in a Nutshell

Part of the Digital Portrait Photography For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Portrait photography isn’t rocket science, but there is a definite methodology to taking great portraits. When in doubt, here are some settings that you can use for taking great portraits; just add a photogenic subject:

  • Camera Mode: Choose Portrait mode, or Aperture Priority mode.

  • Aperture: Choose the largest aperture (lowest f/stop value) available to create a limited depth of field. If you’re working in dim lighting conditions, you may have to increase the ISO to shoot at a fast enough shutter speed to avoid camera blur.

  • Focal Length: Choose a focal length that is the 35 mm equivalent of 85mm or greater.

  • ISO Setting: Choose the lowest ISO setting possible for the available light.

  • Flash: Use on camera flash as fill flash only. If you use camera flash as your main lighting source, use an auxiliary flash with a light modifier to create a softer light.

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