Settings for Portraiture

To enable me to capture images with appropriate settings (and not have to kick myself when I get home for having wasted a photo opportunity due to inappropriate settings) I apply what I call the SAIFFER settings (Shutter-­Aperture‐ISO-­Focus-­Focal Length-Exposure-­Raw).


SAIFFER Settings Set up your camera with the following settings:

  • Shutter Speed: Use1/60 sec or faster (using slower shutter speeds may result in subject blur).
  • Aperture Priority: Use f/4 for full frame sensors or f/2.8 for crop sensors. Use the maximum aperture if your lens does not open to these wider apertures.
  • ISO: No higher than 800
  • Focus and Focal length: 50-70mm (equivalent) and ensure the eyes are sharp.
  • Exposure: Ensure there is no loss of detail in shadows or highlights (adjust if required by reviewing the histogram on the camera).
  • Raw: Set the ‘Quality’ to Raw.

One of the creative projects on my Sony Alpha Workshops is how to create Professional Portraits (I supply the models). Go to to find out more.

This is an extract from my new book ‘Introduction to Photography: A Visual Guide to the Essential Skills of Photography and Lightroom’.

It is available from all good book stores and Amazon US , Amazon UK and Amazon Australia