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Learn how to optimize the Canon XSi/450D for a night portrait scene
Tags:Canon XSi/450D: Set for Night Portrait Scene,canon xsi/450d,digital camera tutorial,how to use a digital camera,lb guides,photography lessons,set for night portrait scene
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Capturing Night Portraits with this camera can be very, very simple. There are a couple of things you can do. First thing, in your Mode Dial, you’ll notice that you have a Night Scene Mode. Turn the Mode Dial to a little star with a person and what this does is it allows you to use the flash while maintaining a long enough shutter speed to properly expose for the ambient light. The problem with this mode is that everything is automated. So, what I would recommend doing instead of this is turning your Mode Dial to AV, AV stands for Aperture Value.
The reason why you use AV is because this allows you to set an aperture that will be good for portrait photography meaning a white aperture. So, you’ll have a shallower depth of field and get just the subject in focus while everything else it will be properly exposed but it won’t be in focus.
Then, you’re going to want to use the flash. And in this mode when you use the flash, a shutter speed is selected that actually properly exposes for the ambient light. The shutter speed can be anything from 30 seconds up to 1/200 of a second. It can’t go faster than 1/200 of a second but if you’re faster than that, then you probably don’t need to be using the flash anyway or you need to make sure that your ISO is set to 100. So, before we get into this, let’s go ahead and set our ISO and White Balance accordingly. Press the ISO button right here by your index finger and make sure it’s set to 100.
Right now, we’re going to choose 100 but later on if the shutter speed is much too slow and you don’t have a tripod then you’ll want to increase the ISO. Let’s go ahead and change the White Balance, press the WB button here and move this to flash. The reason is because we want to get the right colors out of our subject and we don’t really care so much about the background. So, the background will turn out quite yellow but if you don’t use flash and you used Tungsten instead to White Balance for the background lights then your subject will come out very, very blue. So, we’ll stick to flash, go ahead and press Set to accept that. Our aperture right here currently is set to F4 which is good for portrait. This will give me a relatively Shallow Depth of Field. And if I need to change that, I’ll just use the dial up here by my index finger. You can go up to F5, that’s fine, F4.5 is also fine, anything that gets you the Depth of Field that you like for your pictures. Remember, we’re looking for a Shallow Depth of Field so the subject is in focus and the background is blurred out.
Now, let’s go ahead and pop the flash, just press the flash button right here to pop that flash. Now, the flash will be used but the picture will be exposed for the ambient light. So, like with any picture, press the Shutter button halfway, make sure that Center Focusing Point is right over your subject. Hold the button halfway then recompose and take the picture.
Now, when you press the button halfway, you’ll notice that your shutter speed is displayed here and in the View Finder you’ll probably have your eye up to the View Finder and you’ll see the shutter speed at the bottom in green. If that is much too slow and you don’t have a tripod then you’re going to have to increase the ISO to compensate. Press the ISO button with your index finger and move down to let’s say 400, press Set. Remember, the higher the ISO, the more sensitive the camera is to the ambient light but also the image is going to be a little bit more grainy. So, you want to be careful with how much you increase the ISO.
Press the Shutter button halfway again. Now, you’ll notice mine is blinking 1/200 and that’s because in this mode, 1/200 is the fastest I can sink my flash but it’s warning me that the picture is too bright. So, I don’t need to have this high of an ISO in my case. But in your case, you won’t have the amount of light I have here. Once you’re ready to take the picture, just press the Shutter button the rest of the way and the picture is captured.
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