family portrait advice


TPF Noob!
Apr 1, 2009
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I shoot with a canon 30d. I am shooting family portraits and wondering what the to set my camera at to get the best shots. I am still figuring everything out on my camera. Also is 5-ish the best time to take outdoor pics?
Welcome to the forum.

wondering what the to set my camera at to get the best shots.
It's best to set the camera to get a good exposure in the light that you are shooting in. It's best to set the camera to get the Depth of Field that you want.
It's best to set the camera so that you can get sharp images with the style of shooting you will be doing...unless, of course, you want some blur in the shot.

My point is that we can't tell you the need to figure that out based on the situation that you are shooting in.

Also is 5-ish the best time to take outdoor pics?
That depends. The light at 5ish will be different from one place to another.
Typically, the most pleasing natural light occurs one to two hours after sunrise and before sunset.
now that is what I call some excellent advice. I had to do the same thing, experimenting does no harm,,go to it:thumbup:
Well, thanks for your response. I guess I was maybe hoping for an example. Does anyone have any good outdoor portrait shots and could share your settings? That way I would have a great place to start and work from there =)!
But out situation would surely be different from whatever you might be shooting just giving you the settings wouldn't really be helpful, now would it?

What I'm really trying to that you should take a step back and learn the basics of photography; things like shutter speed, aperture, DOF, metering etc. That would be a good place to start.

Once you have a good handle on that (which will take some time & practice) then you can be free to concentrate on the little things that make for great family composition, posing, clothing and getting good expressions from your subjects.

Of course, the most important part is always light. So it will help to know how to work with natural lighting and being able to adapt to the situation that you are shooting in.
Well I'm not THAT new. I do know the basics, however, I have only taken some HS photo classes and 1 college class so I am not as educated as most on here. That is why I thought it was a good idea to pick the brains of better photographers. I have seen forums share their settings before on great photos...oh well.I don't know if I will be doing that again...I am embarrassed now.
I'll go ahead and say it, since no one else has. You should read Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson. It's a really good book on exposure setting and how to use all the different variables to get the look you want.
I'm not trying to discourage or embarrass you...and it's good to hear that you do have some photographic education. But all you gave us to go off of, was that you have a 30D (no mention of what lenses).

If you want more specific advice, you will have to give up more specific details. For example, if you are shooting a group of 10 people in a park with midday sunlight...Or maybe you are just shooting two people near sunset at the beach.
In a control environment, such as inside a studio, then yes. People maybe able to give you some settings if all the information are provided and understand what you are planning to achieve.

However, if we talked about outdoor, there are a lot of variables.
I have used manual until I realized there was no point if I am not using flash. As of now I primarily use Aperture Priority and set it for the specific DOF I am looking for. Increasing the ISO as I increase the aperture if I need a faster shutter. You can use Shutter Priority if you are shooting fast objects. The camera does a pretty good job in selecting the aperture/shutter with both of those settings. Since you are going with a family..I'd say no lower than F8, but you might need F16 to get most of them in focus and use post to sharpen a bit. I normally use F8 for my son and my wife.
Well some of that will depend on the number of the group in the shot. You will want as small an aperture as possible (bigger number of course) to make sure that everyone is in focus. Because of this you will need a lot of light. If you are using a flash you will need to soften the light and have at least 2 light sources. If using the natural outdoors you will want to get some reflectors to bounce that light on the "weak side" and take away some of those shadows. If it is very sunny you can shoot in the shade which always provides diffused light. Good luck.

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