Outdoor Portraits – How to Get the Best Camera Settings

There are many shutterbugs out there that think that taking outdoor portraits is an easy job to do. They might think that all you have to do is hit the shutter button on their cameras and the photo will come out fine, simply because there’s a lot of light outside due to the sun. However, to their dismay, you’re going to hear things such as “Why is it too bright,” or “Why did my model become a silhouette,” or even “Why is the picture so dark?” In order to take great images of people while outdoors, you need to understand the right settings to have on your camera to do that.

Outdoor Portraits - How to Get the Best Camera Settings

Taking Great Outdoor Portraits

Step 1 – There are many who think that natural light is great for outdoor portraits, and for the most part, they’re right. However, it can be quite difficult to control and there are times when lighting conditions can be unruly. Nevertheless, there are some basic things that you can pre-set on your camera in order for you to shoot in just about any outdoor condition. For starters, set the ISO to the lowest possible figure for sharp images. Also, make sure that your shutter speed is fast enough that it won’t blur out images, especially when you have shaky hands or when you’re trying to convey motion in your images.

Step 2 – It also helps to have a fast lens in hand in order to blur out the background. By fast lens, it means that the lens can have a wider aperture as compared to others. There are camera lenses out there wherein you can purchase for your camera that has apertures of f/2.8, or f/1.8, or even f/1.4. The lower the number in the aperture reading, the wider the lens is opened, and the shallower the depth of field that you will be working with. The shallower the depth of field, the creamier the background gets.

Step 3 – If you want to shoot into the sun while your model is standing right behind that big ball of fire in the sky, you might want to use an external flash device to fill in the shadows. Otherwise, when you’re doing this type of outdoor portrait photography, your subject will be completely dark, unless of course you’re going for this type of image.

Step 4 – You can also do outdoor portraits while you’re indoors. This is when you’re making use of window lights to brighten up your subjects. If you’re going for this setup, once again, make sure that the ISO is as low as possible for the shot. If your camera can’t compensate for the dark image, then lower down the shutter speed and widen the opening on the lens a bit more. If all else fails, bump up the ISO, but only do so in small increments so that you won’t risk getting noise in your images.


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