Settings For Portrait Photography

There have been times when you have been absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of portrait photography. You may think it is simple to click such pictures but it is not. Behind great portrait photography are years of practice and skills. The skills include control of the settings of the camera and the good lighting aspects. Personal photographers use a lens of the focal length of 85mm or higher. This results in putting the subject away from the camera and the subject which produces softer results. Some of the settings employed by the professional photographers to click great quality portrait images are discussed below.


In portrait photography, the subject is more in focus and the background is blurred or focused out. This effect is created using the aperture control on your camera. There are two modes for aperture control. The first one is the Aperture Priority which allows you to set the aperture control while the shutter speed is set automatically by the camera. Another control is the Manual Mode under which, you can set the aperture and shutter speed by yourself. The largest aperture creates a limited depth of field. The focus tends to be irregular are the largest aperture. While shooting indoors, f/5.6 or f/6.3 is suitable. For outdoor conditions, the aperture can be increased to about f/8.


Shutter Speed:

Shutter speed helps to click images quickly of moving bodies. While shooting portraits, 1/200 of a second shutter is recommended while taking pictures using a flash. Most flash units have a maximum sync speed of 1/200 of a second. For clicking portrait pictures, you will need the control of the aperture as well and thus the manual mode is preferred over aperture priority.


It is advisable that you choose the lowest ISO setting for the available light. While shooting in sunny conditions, set the ISO to 100 and for cloudy conditions, set ISO to 200. Setting a high ISO can show grains in the image. However, you can set ISO up to 6,400 without noticing any noise in the photograph. If you want to maintain the quality of your picture even on enlarging, then keep the ISO to a minimum.

Auto White Balance:

Auto White Balance helps to find the lighting levels which can result in consistent images. Shooting in natural lighting conditions can be a problem if you do not allow the auto white balance. If the auto white balance is not enabled, then images with predominantly white may look grey which can make it look unnatural. In order to avoid such conditions, you can use a preset white balance to correct the white balance in such situations.


These settings are an important element of clicking good portrait photography. Apart from these, you would require great patience and determination to click photos similar to professional portrait photographers.