Shooting your summer portrait: best camera settings and what you need
For a shallow depth of field, set your DSLR to Av mode. If your aperture is capable of opening up to f/2.8 set it to this; if it isn’t, open it up to the widest available setting (this will be around f/4 or f/5.6). Keep to ISO100 if possible, and the camera will select an appropriate shutter speed for the lighting.
If the shutter speed drops below around 1/60 sec you’ll need to increase the ISO up to 200 or 400, but try not to push it too far, as you don’t want noise to ruin your portraits.
Best lenses for summer portraits
We shot with a Canon EOS 7D, and look two lenses along for maximum flexibility. Our wide-angle Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM gives an effective focal length (EFL) of 27-64mm with our crop-factor sensor, which is ideal for capturing wider views that include more of the surrounding scenery.
Our Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens is perfect for close-up portraiture; as it’s a prime lens it gives the highest-quality results, while the 80mm EFL gives a flattering angle of view, and the extremely shallow depth of field produces beautifully blurred backgrounds. It’s important to keep the focus sharp on your model’s eyes.
To do this, select the central AF point and half-press the shutter button to focus on the closest eye, recompose while keeping the button half-pressed, then fully press the button.
Don’t get bogged down in your settings!
Communication between you and your model is key; explain what you’re looking for before you start shooting, so she knows what to expect. Once you’ve set up your camera, try not to get bogged down with adjusting settings, and concentrate instead on communicating with your model as you’re shooting to put them at ease.
Be confident: if you’re unsure then they will be too, whereas if you’re relaxed you’ll help them to relax, and your shots will look much better.
PAGE 1: Setting up your summer portrait: working with your model
PAGE 2: Shooting your summer portrait: best camera settings and what you need
PAGE 3: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 1-3
PAGE 4: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 4-6
PAGE 5: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 7-9
PAGE 6: How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 10-12
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