Camera settings for lifestyle photography aren’t difficult. However, there are times we miss the mark (raising my hand over here, guilty!). Why? As photographers, we are given the challenge of organizing family poses, keeping the attention of their furry friends, and breaking the ice when it comes to nerves in front of the camera. With all that juggling, we can easily find ourselves forgetting to adjust our shutter speed or white balance, but luckily camera settings for lifestyle photography (and their edits, if we forget to adjust those settings) aren’t as daunting as we may think.
If you’re new to photography, the terms “white balance” and “ISO” might be foreign and intimidating; if you’re more experienced in your practice, these terms are just as familiar to you as “salt” and “pepper”. But just in case, let me remind you of a few priorities when it comes to camera settings.
First, we have our ISO and our shutter speed. ISO refers to the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor, a term which derives from the sensitivity of film from the analog days. Shutter speed is, quite literally, the speed of your shutter, the rate at which it opens and closes depending on the amount of light wherever you are. Shutter speed can also eliminate or add motion blur – those photos you see of professional athletes making the game-winning shot? Fast shutter speeds to keep everything crystal clear. The photos of blurred traffic lights at night? Slow shutter speeds to give all those cars time to drive by.
White balance ensures the whites in your photos stay white, rather than being tinged with yellows or other hues. Your focal length is the blur (or lack thereof) of your background. Do you want a blurred background so that your subject stands out in a portrait shot, or do you want to keep it in focus when shooting a family unit?
And sometimes we may even have to change a lens, and hope that we don’t miss a perfect candid moment in the meantime.
We are taught, as photographers, that all of these elements are super important, but sometimes they’re overlooked. Don’t fret, (just about) everything can be fixed if we start with a good foundation, but forget to make updated adjustments during our sessions.
So I talked about a few essential camera settings, but now let’s get into the chaotic moments of a session that distract you from getting them right.
Take family photo shoots, for example. I have specific ways to engage everyone in the family – some of my favorites include bubbles, animal sounds, silly jokes, and fruit snacks! But imagine this: your clients have two kids, one is smiling and posing, the other won’t look at the camera. But you remember that you have bubbles in your bag! So you pull them out, and suddenly everyone is laughing and smiling and you’re getting the most amazing shots, both posed and candid. But in the midst of all this, the light has changed, and you’ve forgotten to set your camera accordingly and use your expo disc. But don’t worry, if you’re going to forget about settings, the best thing you can do is to stay in focus. We can recover almost everything else in editing.
[Add Stebbins bubble photos here]
So if things do go wrong, don’t sweat it! Here are a few things you can do after a shoot if you realize you forgot to set your camera:
Still not sure how to start with the editing process? I’ve got you covered. Using the Christine Deaton Presets & Editing Course will ensure that your photos are radiant and sun-kissed, regardless if you forgot to adjust those camera settings mid session (and you know *we* are forgetting those adjustments in camera, just check out my before and after photos below).
So what are you waiting for? Time to go recover those “oh, shoot I forgot to adjust my camera” photos! And don’t worry, you’re not alone. Share your before and after photos with me, and leave me a comment below letting me know your biggest editing struggle. I’ll reply with my favorite editing tips and tricks. Want to see and learn more? Follow me on Instagram @christinedeatoncreative.