Learn what to do when capturing portrait pictures and how to set up any advanced point and shoot camera. This video is for
beginning and intermediate photographers.
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To have a better understanding of the camera settings talked about in this video, I recommend seeing of the better pictures part two video first.
Full body shot such as this should not be considered the portrait. A portrait should be craft much tighter usually from about the elbows or higher. So don’t be afraid to get closer or zoom in a bit. Remember, the subject is the most important thing, so it should stand out more than anything else in the picture, which is why with portraits you only want the subject to be in focus and not the background.
So for this picture, I set the camera to the aperture priority mode and forced an F2.8 aperture. That way the depth of the field would be very shallow and the background would be blurred out. Unfortunately, you’ll notice the shutter speed set by the camera was 1/1250, which happens to be the fastest shutter speed possible with this camera, and in this case, it wasn’t fast enough.
I could tell the shutter speed wouldn’t be fast enough because after I focused on my subject, I noticed the shutter speed was blinking red. Anytime, this camera’s aperture and/or shutter speed setting blinks red it means the picture will either be over or under exposed. So in this case, I couldn’t use the widest aperture because it was simply allowing too much light through the lens. I could use a neutral density or circular polarizing filter to cut the amount of light and drain the camera. But this is just the point in shot camera and I don’t have a filter for it. But the only thing and the filters, do is cut back a little on the amount of light, why I can’t use my sunglasses? Sometimes placing your sunglasses in front of the lens isn’t enough and other times it is. Try it and see if it stops the shutter speed from blinking red. I didn’t use my sunglasses, so I had to change the aperture in order to cut back on the amount of light. I change the aperture to F4.5 knowing the background wouldn’t be quite as blurred. But at least now the shutter speed was no longer blinking red and the picture would be better exposed.
As you can see, the background is not distracting and my subject is properly exposed. This is great, but my subject has dark shadows on his face because of the bright sun. The only way I can lighten those shadows is by using the flash. However, if I use the flash, the camera will automatically slow the shutter speed to 1500 of a second which means more light entering the camera. If a camera has a flash, it also has a flash sync speed which is the fastest shutter speed possible when using the flash. The faster the better, and with many point shoot cameras, it’s 1500 of a second which is pretty good, but some cameras are slower. This isn’t something you need to know because if you use the flash in a bright situation, the camera will automatically set the shutter speed to the flash sync speed. With my picture, you’ll notice I was using an aperture of F4.5 and the camera set the shutter speed of 1/1250.
Now that I’m using the flash, the shutter speed is forced to 1500 of a second. And even though I’m using the aperture priority mode at least with my camera, the aperture is automatically changed to make up for the slower shutter speed. The aperture was changed to F7.1 which means the background will not be as blurry as before, but because I’m using the flash, the shadows will not be as dark. So in this case, these are my two best options. I let you decide which is better and why. Some people like flash, while others would rather not use it if they didn’t absolutely have too.
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