How to Create Portraits with the Portrait SCN Mode on Your Canon EOS 6D - dummies

How to Create Portraits with the Portrait SCN Mode on Your Canon EOS 6D

By Doug Sahlin

The Portrait SCN mode on your EOS 6D is used for creating portraits. When you shoot a portrait of a person, you generally use a telephoto lens with a focal length of 80mm or greater. You can, however, create a good portrait using a 50mm lens.

Don’t use a lens with a focal length shorter than 50mm, because to fill the frame with your subject, you have to get very close to get her in the frame. When you do that, the wide-angle focal length makes the object closest to the camera seem larger than it actually is. When you’re creating a portrait, the closest object to the camera is usually the subject’s nose.

When you shoot a person’s portrait, rotate the camera 90 degrees, which gives you an image that is taller than it is wide, which matches your subject. To create a portrait using the Portrait mode:

  1. Press the Mode Lock button and then rotate the Mode dial to SCN.

  2. Press the Quick Control button.

    The Quick Control menu for the SCN mode appears. If a SCN mode is displayed, press Set to display all scene mode icons on the LCD Monitor.

  3. Use the Multi-controller to select the Portrait Mode and then press Set.

    When you shoot in Portrait mode, the default image type is JPEG and the quality is Large with Standard picture ambience, Default lighting, and Continuous Shooting drive mode. These are the settings Canon engineers have deemed optimum for shooting portraits. You can, however, deviate from these standard settings by using the Multi-controller to highlight a setting and then press Set to see the available options.


  4. Press the Shutter button halfway to achieve focus.

    When you create a portrait of a person, it’s better to have your subject on one side of the frame. Alternatively, you can have your subject’s body pointed away from the camera and looking at the camera. When you create a portrait of a person, make sure the subject’s eyes are in focus. The eyes, after all, are the windows to the soul.

  5. Press the Shutter button fully.

    The camera starts capturing images of your subject. For this mode, the default drive mode is Continuous, which means the camera will capture images as long as your finger is on the shutter button. This is a great option, especially when you’re photographing someone who is comfortable in front of the camera. This is also great when you’re taking candid portraits.

  6. Release the Shutter button to stop taking pictures.

    After you finish taking pictures of your subject, review the images on the Camera LCD monitor to make sure your subject is in focus, the poses are pleasing, and so on. If you didn’t capture the essence of your subject, take some more pictures.