Though most digital cameras nowadays come with automatic settings for portrait mode, it may not always give you good quality pictures. It’s a good option for beginners but once you get hang of things, you may want to try your hand with manual settings for portrait photography. If you are setting the camera in manual mode, you need to take care of all small settings that make portrait pictures look more effective. You need to look after aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, flash, focusing etc; all aspects that contribute to the effectiveness of images.
So, what are the best settings to shoot portrait images in manual mode? Here are few important things to check out:
You can set the camera in aperture priority mode and take great portrait images. You do not need background for a portrait picture, so by setting a larger aperture you can avoid the background and highlight the subject.
Maximum aperture can decrease the depth of field and can fill your subject in complete picture frame avoiding the background of the image in the picture frame. This highlights the main focal point and removes other distracting elements from the frame.
This is completely based on the lighting arrangements of the images. If you have enough lighting, you do not need to change the ISO. But if your portrait does not require extra lighting or you do not want to add lighting to the picture, set the camera in lower ISO and start tacking images of the subject. This gives a dull and sober look to the portrait image. Low ISO can also minimize the noise and grain in the portrait picture.
Shutter speed depends on the aperture and ISO, as these are the important elements in the exposure triangle. If you have set the camera in aperture priority mode then you need not worry about the shutter speed as this will be automatically set according to the aperture requirements.
Low ISO also needs lower shutter speed, so if you set the camera in low ISO then you need a tripod to lower the vibrations due to the lower shutter speed.
This depends upon the lighting conditions when you are shooting portrait images. You can select white balance according to the portrait photo requirements.
If your image needs an extra flash, attach an extra flash to the camera. If your camera does not need a flash, you don’t need to attach a flash. If you are thinking of adding creativity, try to shoot portraits which lack lighting. Portraits do not need lighting, but there are various options if you do want to add lighting.
Set the camera in ‘auto focus mode’; it will give you multiple focusing options which help you in determining the perfect focus for the portrait picture. When you set the camera in manual focusing, you can have total control over the focusing and can focus at any point of the picture frame. By setting the camera in manual focus; you can focus on the eyes of the subject or at the gesture of the subject.
Following these rules will deliver good portrait pictures in manual mode too.