Shooting outdoor portraits: best camera settings.

Capture the beauty of a natural outdoor setting in your portraits with the right camera settings.

The natural world is a wonderful backdrop for portrait photography. But the great outdoors can also make it difficult to choose the right camera settings.

Varying conditions outside mean there’s no single silver-bullet setting that works everywhere. Here are a few tips that will help you pick the best camera settings for outdoor portraits, including:

Aperture settings for outdoor portrait photography.

A wide aperture setting — between f/1 and f/3 — produces a narrow depth of field, leaving your subject focused and blurring the background. A narrow aperture, from f/8 up, will leave more of the photo in focus.

Pick your aperture based on whether you want to show off nature’s beauty or put all the focus on your subject.

ISO settings for outdoor portraits.

The ISO setting determines how sensitive your camera’s sensors are to light. The key to a great outdoor portrait is considering how bright it is outside. In full daylight, use a lower ISO setting, between 100 and 400, while later in the day or at night you’ll have to pick a much higher setting. Playing around with the ISO settings can produce fantastic results — just don’t go overboard.

Shutter speed settings for outdoor portraits.

How much movement will there be in your photo? Since you’re shooting a portrait, probably not too much. You can safely pick a slower shutter speed, in the range of 200–500.

If there is movement in the background, a slow shutter can create interesting effects. But if you want nature to stand still, go for a quick shutter speed.

Perfecting your outdoor portraits.

If your camera settings were slightly off, you can always edit your photos. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a great tool for fixing your outdoor portraits. Lightroom lets you change focus, adjust lighting and color, improve your composition, and even add effects.

Don’t fret if your camera lets you down. Discover everything you can do with Lightroom to perfect your outdoor portraits.