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Automatic Portrait Mode

When we reviewed automatic modes in Chapter 5, you learned that one of the scene selections, called Portrait, is dedicated to shooting portraits. While this is not my preferred camera setting, it’s not a bad jumping-off point for those who are just starting out. The key to using this mode is to understand what is going on with the camera so that when you venture further into portrait photography, you can expand on the settings and get the most from your camera and, more importantly, your subject.

Whether you are photographing an individual or a group, the emphasis should always be on the subject. The Portrait scene selection utilizes a larger aperture setting to keep the depth of field very narrow, which means that the background will appear slightly blurred or out of focus. To take full advantage of this effect, use a normal or telephoto lens (Figure 6.1). Also, shoot from a relatively close distance to your subject. If you shoot from too far away, the narrow depth of field will not be as effective.

Figure 6.1

Figure 6.1 Portrait mode works best when combined with a normal or telephoto lens.

ISO 100 • 1/250 sec. • f/6.3 • 24–70mm lens at 45mm

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