Nikon D80

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Southerngal, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Southerngal

    Southerngal TPF Noob!

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    I recently purchased the Nikon D80 and Im still trying to get the hang of it. I have taken pictures using each of the many modes and was wondering if anyone could offer up some advice from there experience w/the camera. What is the best/most recommended mode for portrait shots....resulting in the best focus? Im not to fond of the automatic mode....is it just me?
     
  2. deanimator

    deanimator TPF Noob!

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    The usual approach is a wide aperture and a medium telephoto length. Set up a head and shoulders with the background just far enough to be soft yet recognizable.
    Lighting is also a critical mood enhancing factor.
    But the winner is overall based on the mood and the composition...it may break all of the rules!

    For example, there have been many amazing portraits made by serious photographers using wide angle...
     
  3. Boden

    Boden TPF Noob!

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    Portrait mode actually works pretty well for impromptu portraits.

    Other than that, the information that you find about portrait photography in general will apply to your D80 as it would any camera. I might recommend shooting in RAW for portraits for more control and so that you don't have to think about white balance.

    For general shooting I rarely use any of the "dummy" modes unless I have to grab a snapshot very quickly and don't know how I've got the camera setup.

    Let's see... by default the framing grid is turned off, and I find it useful to be on. It's under the custom setting menu. I also turn off image preview because it wastes battery and screws me up when trying to quickly dial in new settings for a subsequent shot (it's easy enough to push a button to see the image & histogram if I want). Oh, and you'll want to look into the FUNC button; it's behavior can be controlled also through the custom settings menu. By default it displays your current ISO in the viewfinder (but doesn't allow you to change it). I find it's useful to set the FUNC button to change autofocus area mode so that I can change between single area and dynamic without digging into the menu.
     
  4. ashleysmithd

    ashleysmithd TPF Noob!

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    Put the camera onto apperture priority ('A' mode) and set it to the minimum apperture (F5.6 probably, if you're zoomed in)

    That will give you the maximum shutter speed and lowest apperture, giving you minimal depth of field. i.e. keeping the subject in focus and blurring the background.

    Zoom in as far as you can. It will give a nice "squeezed" perspective and will generally create a nice portrait, aswell as cut down on depth of field.

    A few things you can try is tricking the white balance. You can trick the white balance to either cool or warm the pictures colours. This done correctly, can look quite nice. (You can make a pretty grey day look like it's nice and warm) This can be done in the cameras menu.

    You can also use flash quite effectively even out doors. If you set the flash's power quite low, you can remove some of the imperfections on peoples faces. And if it's a warm day, set the white balance to 'flash', and it will make the background all warm, and the subject more 'neutral' making them stand out a bit more. You often see that effect applied in fashion photography.

    The flash's power can also be set in the menu. But be carefull, you would be suprised how powerfull the flash is even outdoors in bright sunlight.

    But don't go mad with the flash... it removes a lot of the shadows, and shadows give pictures their depth.

    As far as composition goes, get in close. Generally speaking, poor portraits contain about 75% kitchen wall, and 25% subject. i.e. they were not zoomed in enough, or weren't close enough. You want the audience to be more 'involved' with the subject.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most of the automatic modes are just settings which can also be achieved with the far more versatile Manual Aperture priority and Shutter priority modes. Learn how they work and you'll never use an auto mode again :)
     

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