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). I will often raise this by setting the ISO to Auto and choosing Fast from the ISO AUTO Min. SS setting in the Menu of my A7RII.
- Aperture Priority: Use approximately 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. I may choose to shoot with a wider aperture than f/4 if I am using Eye-AF on my A7RII (image above was captured at f/2.8).
- ISO: No higher than 800 – I may make an exception to this if I am shooting with a full-frame sensor but I would still prefer to find a location with brighter ambient light if possible.
- Focus and Focal length: 50-85mm (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 tasks during my one-on-one training sessions and workshops is how to create professional looking portraits (I supply the model).
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
NOTE > For users of recent model Alpha cameras I would recommend setting the Focus Mode to AF-C (Continuous AF) and using Eye-AF when shooting models who may be moving.
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