Try This Camera Setting Trick to Get More Natural Portraits

Do the subjects in your portraits look a little stiff and unnatural? Your problem might not be the person you’re photographing but, rather, your choice of camera settings.

In the below video from Sony Alpha Universe, photographer Miguel Quiles shares a secret professionals use to get more spontaneous, natural-looking portraits. In particular, it has to do with the camera’s drive mode.

“Portrait photography is all about capturing the decisive moment,” Quiles says. “As photographers, we gamble every time we press the shutter button, and we hope that our timing is just right, and we capture the perfect shot.”

On the one hand, many portrait photographers use the single shooting drive mode on their camera to capture photos of people. “All that means is when you press the shutter button on your camera, a single image is taken,” he explains. “And each time you press the shutter button, a single image is taken again.”

While Quiles calls this “a valid way to shoot portraits,” he adds that the slow speed of this single shot drive mode means you’ll need a certain amount of luck to capture “that perfect pose, that perfect expression, and that perfect mood.”

Instead of single shot mode, he recommends you use a continuous drive mode when shooting portraits, specifically the low or mid continuous shooting modes.

“When I’m shooting portraits outdoors, I’ll usually shoot in three to four image bursts,” he explains. “Doing this will give me a much higher probability of capturing that perfect micro expression or that micro pose that might take a great shot into the territory of becoming an incredible shot.”