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Behind the Shot – Camera Settings

Photography Tips - Technical

September 29, 2023


If you’re relatively new to photography, you probably love knowing how someone got a particular shot! I’ve been there! I remember being so excited when photographers would share their settings and secrets because – let’s face it – so many of them hold all of their secrets captive!!

I have vowed to always be an open book to help other photographers because that is what helped me and inspired me so much in my journey over 12 years ago (and still does)!

So today, I’m just going to share some recent images I’ve taken and give you the settings and a little background for each one! I hope this inspires you! 🙂

Thomas is a Senior who LOVES fishing! He is on the bass fishing team at school & brought his kayak to his session! 🙂

Time of Year: September

  • I like to add the time of year because the light & environment changes at different times of the year. The more knowledge you have, the better! 🙂

Time of Day: 7:00 pm (about 1 hour before sunset)

Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens: Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8L

Settings: Aperture (f-stop) – f/2.8 ISO – 500 Shutter Speed – 1/1,600 second

Focus: I placed my focus point on Thomas’ face.

These little cuties were doing Ring Around the Rosie! Her brothers “fell down” and little miss thought that was just so funny! 🙂

Time of Year: September

Time of Day: 6:00 pm (about 1.5 hours before sunset)

Camera: Canon R6

Lens: Canon 35 mm f/1.4L

Settings: Aperture (f-stop) – f/3.2 ISO – 500 Shutter Speed – 1/2,000 second

  • Side note – My aperture was on 3.2 because I had just photographed the full family. I needed my aperture a little higher to get more of the image (everyone) in focus. I just left it at 3.2 for this image, but I could’ve lowered it to 2.8 (or lower) to get more of a creamy blurry background. I was just in a hurry and didn’t. Just know that’s an option!

Focus: My focal point was on Leighton’s eyes (since she was looking at me)

This wedding party was one of the most fun groups I’ve ever photographed! 🙂 They were all University of Kentucky fans, so they started doing the “C.A.T.S. CATS CATS CATS” cheer!

Time of Year: September

Time of Day: 4:30 pm – The sun was still very bright, but thankfully we had the house to shield the light and give us some nice open shade & even light.

Camera: Canon R6

Lens: Canon 35 mm f/1.4L

Settings: Aperture (f-stop) – f/4.0 ISO – 400 Shutter Speed – 1/200 second

  • Side note – I raised my aperture to 4.0 to get more of the image (more people) in focus. When you adjust one of those three settings, it affects the other two! The truth is, to get a correct exposure, I had to lower my shutter speed a bit, and it landed on 1/200 of a second (when I used the light meter on my camera and set it to the middle mark or “zero”). For a group like this, 1/200 is a little slow, especially with movement! It worked out fine, but I probably should’ve raised my ISO a bit so that my shutter speed could’ve been faster (to avoid motion blur).
  • I know that’s a lot of info. But…if you’re learning manual mode and how those three settings work together, it’ll make more sense! 🙂

Focus: I put my focus point on the Bride & Groom’s faces.

Could these two be any more beautiful?! This Mommy/Daughter session made my heart skip a beat!

Time of Year: September

Time of Day: 6:30 pm

Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens: Canon 35 mm f/1.4L

Settings: Aperture (f-stop) – f/2.8 ISO – 640 Shutter Speed – 1/800 second

Focus: I put my focal point on the baby’s eye. You’ll notice that her Mommy is kind of blurred out. That’s okay!! I want the viewer to focus on the baby! It’s absolutely fine when part of your image (even faces) are blurred when you are telling a story and want just a part of your image to “steal the show”.

I hope this was helpful for you!! If you have any questions, please know you can always reach out, and I’ll do my best to help you!! Remember to just practice!! You’ll mess up a lot, but that’s how you learn & grow!! We all start somewhere, and it’s a journey…a wonderful journey!! Have fun! 🙂

~ Ashlee 🙂

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