Learn how to optimize the Canon XSi/450D for portraits
Tags:Canon XSi/450D: Set for Portrait Scene,canon xsi/450d,digital camera tutorial,how to use a digital camera,lb guides,photography lessons,set for portrait scene
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Setting up your camera for a portrait picture is actually quite simple. You can do a couple of things.
One, your mode dial up here does have a Scene Mode for portrait so just set your mode dial to the portrait scene. And what this does is it automates the camera. You can see that the ISO and White Balance are both set to Auto and my Drive Mode is set to continuous. And this can be very helpful for portrait pictures.
However, I can’t turn my flash on and I may not like using the Auto White Balance or the Auto ISO because I may want to make sure that the ISO stays at 100. And I may want to set the White Balance for Tungsten if I’m located indoors so instead of using this mode, what I prefer doing is turning your mode dial back to Program.
In the back, you can see my ISO is currently set to 100. You can set yours depending on the amount of available light. Set the ISO by pressing the ISO button right here with your index finger and using the Down or Up Navigation buttons to set the appropriate ISO. I’m assuming we’re outdoors and there’s plenty of light so I’m going to stick to 100.
My White Balance is currently set to Day Light. And to change that I’ll press the WB button right here and press the right or left button to move the indicating square.
Now again, I’m assuming we’re outdoors so I’m going to stick to Day Light. However, if you’re in a shady area or if it’s cloudy then go with Cloudy or Shady in order to warm up the tones a little bit. If you’re indoors, go ahead and use Tungsten, it’s the most common light used indoors or if it’s fluorescent lighting, set your camera to Fluorescent White Balance. Let’s set to OK.
And now, we just want to change the Drive Mode from single to continuous shot. Go ahead and press the Drive Mode button here to the left navigation button and move over to continuous shooting. Go ahead and press Set.
Now, what that means is that when I press and hold the Shutter button, the camera will continuously keep taking pictures until I release. Now, because we’re taking a portrait and normally what I like doing with portrait is having a very shallow depth of field, we’re using the Program Mode so it will automatically choose the Shutter Speed and Aperture for us but what I can do is press my Shutter button halfway to see what the settings are set to. And this is okay but if I want this a little bit more shallow, what I can do is roll the dial before those figures go away. So, I can choose F4 orF5 and then go back to my Shutter button in order to keep those figures.
As soon as these figures will disappear once I’ve released the Shutter button, I can press the Shutter button again, it will go back to the default and then I can go back to the dial and choose again what I prefer. And go back to the Shutter button, press it halfway again, and take my picture.
Sometimes especially when I’m outdoors and it’s Broad Day Light, I like using the flash in order to eliminate some of the shadows on people’s faces. So, what you can do is press the Flash button to pop the flash. By using the Flash, there are a couple of limitations that you should keep in mind.
One is, this built-in flash is really only good for about 15 feet so if your subject is farther than that, you might as well not use the Flash.
The second thing is that because we’re in the continuous shooting mode, by using the flash, we slow down the frame rate of the camera to about one picture every second as supposed to three and a half pictures per second.
Lastly, by using the built-in flash, the camera will not be able to use a Shutter Speed faster than 1/200 of a second in order to synchronize with the Flash, which means if you’re out in Broad Day Light, the camera is limited to 1/200 of a second. It will have to use a smaller aperture size in order to compensate for the amount of light coming into the camera and that’s going to create a longer depth of field which is not what you want for Portrait Photography. You want to keep that aperture smaller so you’ll get a shallower depth the field so that the person is in focus and the background is not.
If you take a lot of portraits outdoors in the Day Light, what I would highly recommend doing is investing in an external flash. That will be able to first produce a lot more light and travel much farther than 15 feet.
Second, they’ll be able to sink much faster.
And third, you won’t have to worry about that one shot per second when using the continuous drive.
The other thing that the Flash will prevent you from doing is being able to use the Roller Dial to adjust the aperture. Without the Flash, you can press the Shutter button halfway as I’ve mentioned earlier and then use the Roller Dial to move these values but with the Flash up, I’m rolling the dial but the values are unchanged.
And if you don’t get wide enough aperture in your situation, then you may need to go with the Aperture Value Mode. Turning your Mode Dial to AV will allow you to set the aperture. And then press the Shutter button halfway allowing the camera to set the Shutter Speed.
Now again with the Av Mode, same limitations with the flash being up, the Shutter Speed will not be able to be more than 1/200 of a second. And if it’s blinking 1/200 then you know the image will be too bright. But at least with the Av Mode unlike the Program Mode, you can set your aperture and use the flash.
So remember, use either the Program Mode or the AV Mode. Normally, I use the Program Mode because I find the job it does is just fine for my situations.
Set your ISO accordingly, set your White Balance accordingly, and set the Drive Mode to continuous. Keep track of your aperture to make sure that your depth of field is shallow so that only the subject is in focus. Press the Shutter button halfway, lock the center focusing point on your target with the Shutter button still pressed halfway, recompose the image, and then press the Shutter button the rest of the way to take the picture.
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