portrait help

Welcome to the forum!!!

I believe it maybe easier for us to help if you can post an example.
Sounds like you are overexposing. Post an example.


had some others at the same settings that turned out ok. Should I use my cameras portrait mode or do manual settings?
how do i keep faces from being to bright? Would a filter help at all

had some others at the same settings that turned out ok. Should I use my cameras portrait mode or do manual settings?
Are you using the pop-up flash or an external hot shoe Speedlite?

The flash is causing the harsh washed out look. What shooting mode are you using?

Exif for the 1st picture:
ISO - 400
Shutter Speed - 1/60
Aperture - f/4.5
Focal Length - 36mm

Exif for the 2nd picture:
ISO - 400
Shutter Speed - 1/60
Aperture - f/5.0
Focal Length - 41mm

The shutter speed is too slow and the ISO setting is too high. You want to get the shutter speed higher (if you're shooting in Auto or one of the other Basic modes you're going to be better off going into manual or one of the Creative modes) and the ISO speed lower (100).

You might also want to try to set the aperture to a higher f/stop to stop down the aperture a little more...you might want to try f/8.0 to start with.
Probably the biggest things I've found thus far, and I'm by no means a pro at this yet, are

(1) get the flash off camera, whether that be a speedlight with a TTL cable, etc and/or
(2) soften the flash. If you have to use the popup, there are some interesting options at your local camera store to make the light more pleasant ranging from a pseudo-diffuser to a mini-softbox to a clip on bounce attachment. Most are in the neighborhood of $20

You could just reduce your flash exposure about a step rather than stopping down to f8, maybe slightly more to rectify the more immediate issue.
I agree with the off camera flash(es) or at least get a external hotshoe flash that you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall(s).

The subject looks so bright is a result of overexposure. Stop it down will help such as using a faster shutter speed. What you can try is instead of using the Auto mode (i.e. Portrait mode), try using the manual mode.

Set the ISO as 100 and then take a shot in "AUTO MODE" and see what setting is used (recommended) by the camera. After noted down the number such as Aperture, shutter speed and ISO, use the manual mode and set the same settings and take a shot. You should get the same result. If the picture is overexpose, try to change the shutter speed (i.e. increase the number), retake the shot and see what happen.

Of course, you may not able to change the shutter speed to a number higher than the max flash sync speed of the camera. I would say, keep experience with it and see what happen.

If you are not familar with shutter speed, aperture. ISO and exposure, you may want to read more about them.
pop up flash is always a chance of washing out. I used white cards in front of the flash before and got half decent results that way.
What Meter mode are you using? Maybe Spot meter whould help reduce some of the wash out due to the amount of dark background.
using a pop up flash. what shutter speed would you suggest

Using a pop-up flash is not in itself an exposure problem. And, shutter speed will not effect the flash exposure.

A pop-up flash, or any camera mounted flash, will provide a "straight on" sort of lighting, with very little shadows. The shadows it does cause are not of a desirable sort for portraits. You can properly exposure for this lighting. The problem comes in (with portraits) when the pop-up flash is your only light.

Light "falls off" as it travels. Anything closer to the flash than the subject will be overexposed and anything further from the flash will be underexposed.

You need an additional light source to achieve good results in this situation.

I hope this helps.

using a pop up flash. what shutter speed would you suggest
I would start at the max flash sync speed your camera is capable of and then go from there. I have the XTi and the max sync speed is 1/200...it might be the same for your XS. Check the manual.

Pop-up flash is the most unflattering flash available. You might want to think about getting a external hot shoe flash like the Canon 430EX II. If you're going to be doing more studio type portrait work you might even want to consider going the strobist route or even studio lights.

Portrait Lighting For Beginners: Introduction

Portrait Lighting

Portrait Lighting 101

Studio Lighting and Posing Tutorial
That's a heck of a range for any lighting set up. The girl is fair skinned, while the back ground is dark and her shirt even darker. It would be a challenge even for a skilled pro.

As is, you will have to meter on the girl's face since that is the most important part of the portrait.
I am wondering if the XS has the "Spot metering"? My 40D has it, but my XTi do not.

You the XS has the Spot meter, I will use that and meter the face as well.
thanks for the help. That is my middle daughter. She has darker skin and not a problem.

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