DSLR Photography Lesson Portrait Practice with Natasha & Canon XT

Natasha atop a parking garage in downtown St. Petersburg with her Canon XT for portrait practiceFor our second of four DSLR photography lessons, I once again meet Natasha in downtown St. Petersburg.  For this second lesson we focused on low light portraits.  We started off in a covered area along 2nd Ave that I have used for other lessons.  For all my portrait work I use manual exposure mode.  However, I had Natasha start out using aperture priority because I wanted her to see what type of exposures the camera is capable of choosing on its own.  Using several different apertures and even adjusting the ISO did not yield an exposure I thought was the best possible.  This is when I had Natasha switch to manual mode.

Aperture priority mode did provide us with useful information.  Noting the shutter speeds it chose, I was able to advise Natasha on what shutter speed to actually set in manual mode to yield a more properly exposed portrait.  For example, if the camera was choosing 1/160th in aperture priority mode with a slightly dark exposure, in manual mode a slower shutter speed like 1/100th would be set to better expose the subject matter.  

Natasha does not yet have an external flash, so we used the popup flash on her Canon XT.  Using some special composition techniques, and a well placed wall, I was able to show her how to kind of bounce the light even from her popup flash so as to not directly blast the subject straight on, which usually results in a not very natural skin tone.

I am enjoying these single focused, high detail lessons.  Lesson three will be soon! 

  • Reserve your own 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with Jason today!
  • Learn more about the lessons
  • Browse past lessons with all of my students