How to setup SLR camera for portrait photography instagram

In this article, you will find the best camera settings for portrait photography to take photos in natural light and flash photography. Whether you are a novice in portrait photography or an experienced professional, you will benefit from these practical photo tips.

I provided some knowledge that will take you step by step through these photo tips to take photos in natural light and use fill flash.

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Taking photos in natural light is the most common, so we will start with these camera settings first.

1 Best camera settings for portrait photography

It is recommended that you set the camera to manual mode to better control the exposure. Of course, it takes some extra time to capture the image, but you can judge the appearance of the final image better than the automatic gear.


First choose your ISO, which is usually the lowest setting under natural light, which is ISO 100 on most cameras. Set the ISO as low as possible to avoid additional noise, if you use a higher ISO setting, you will get a grainy feel.


The second step is to determine which aperture to use. For blurred backgrounds, use aperture f / 1.4. If you want a clearer image, in most cases, using an aperture two to three levels higher than the minimum aperture will be the sharpest point of the lens.

For example, an f / 2.8 lens will be the clearest point at f / 5.6 to f / 8. This phenomenon is related to the lens manufacturing process.

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Shutter speed

After setting the ISO and determining the aperture, the next step is to refer to the light meter in the camera and adjust the shutter speed until the center reading is obtained. Then test to see the LCD screen and histogram of the camera.

Make sure that the histogram is as far to the right as possible, so that your picture will be brighter. But you have to control the brightness and do n’t overexpose.

The general rule is to set the shutter speed to three times the focal length of the lens. For example, if you use a 100mm fixed-focus lens, you should set the minimum shutter speed to 1/300 to avoid camera shake and blurry images. If it is handheld, it should be kept above 1/500.

If you are using a tripod, or have in-camera stabilization like some mirrorless cameras, or you are using a lens with built-in image stabilization, you can shoot at a lower shutter speed.

2 Use flash for portrait photography

When using flash photography, there are currently several common flashes. The flash on the hot shoe of the camera, while the flash in the studio is larger.

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There are also flash units with different functions. Some flash systems do not allow you to shoot at shutter speeds exceeding 1/200 (the camera’s sync speed). Other flash settings let you use something called (high-speed sync mode) to shoot with a flash speed of up to 1/8000 shutter speed.

There are many products for SLR camera flashes, which I will introduce in future articles.

If most of your portrait photography will be outdoors, then I would consider a separate hot shoe flash. Better products allow you to use high-speed sync and flash at shutter speeds up to 1/30000.

If the current flash does not allow you to take pictures at speeds above 1/200, you can use filters such as ND filters, which allow you to shoot at shutter speeds of 1/200.

If you want to shoot outdoors, another important thing to remember is that if you shoot near sunrise or sunset when the sun is not too dazzling, you will get better results.

The above image was taken one hour before sunset, which can make the subject’s face get even light. If you want softer light, avoid shooting at noon.

3 Conclusion

If you are not familiar with manual mode shooting, it may be difficult at first. But with a little practice, you can shoot like a professional.

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