The best camera settings for family photography

Capture precious moments with outstanding quality by using the right equipment, camera settings and editing tools.

Taking family photos with your phone is fine for quick happy snaps. But when you want a keepsake photo that captures every detail, use the tools of the trade.

The best equipment

When you use a DSLR camera, you have the option to shoot in RAW. This file type captures more data than jpeg, so you have more options when it comes time to enhance your photo in editing. And the 85mm lens is a favourite of professional portrait photographers because the compression levels don’t distort facial features.

Shooting handheld photos increases the possibility of camera shake and blurry images. Using a tripod and remote control to press the shutter will help prevent unwanted motion.

Select the right settings

Another advantage of using a quality DSLR camera is the ability to adjust the settings. Quick moving toddlers require a faster shutter speed and indoor photography needs a higher ISO for sharp, in-focus shots. Use these camera settings as a guide for your next family photo shoot.

  1. Manual mode

For ultimate control, use manual mode instead of letting the camera make the setting decisions. Once you get the hang of manual mode, you’ll be able to adjust quickly to changes in movement and light.

  1. Low ISO

Set your ISO somewhere between 100 and 400 for high-quality photos with limited noise. In low light situations and when taking pictures taken indoors, bump up your ISO. Remember to adjust your shutter speed and aperture to compensate.

  1. Single-point focus

Like manual mode, take control and don’t let your camera choose the focus through the zone or multiple points focus settings.

  1. Wide aperture

For a beautiful bokeh effect, open your aperture as wide as it can go (this depends on your lens). Select the lowest f-stop your lens allows for a focused subject and blurred background.

  1. Fast shutter speed

Use 1/100 as a general guide to get a sharp image without camera shake. If you’re using a tripod, you can go lower and use a slower shutter speed with great results.

  1. Auto white balance

Select a white balance that matches the lighting you're in. But since you can make the same adjustment in Lightroom or Photoshop later, setting the white balance to auto is one less thing to worry about.

Shoot then edit

Taking a perfect shot straight out of the camera is difficult, even with the right settings. Editing is where the magic happens. You can soften skin tones, make colours more vibrant, add clarity and remove blemishes. Both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are photo editing apps that will take your photography skills to the next level.

Find out how to capture more family moments with the help of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.