Which settings for fashion photography?

edited April 2012 Posted in » Canon T2i Forum
Hello @Moose - So happy to have discovered this forum, it is fantastic! Hello to everyone else! I just recently purchased my T2i (550D) camera and I am such a novice at present, that turning the camera on and off is my specialty. :)

I would like to use the camera to take photos of fashion models in regular indoor and outdoor settings. I would like the detail and vibrant colors of clothing to really 'pop/stand out' (for use on a website gallery).

I have the standard EF-s 18-55mm IS II lens. Please advise me in simple terms where and how to go about changing camera settings for my above requirements. Thank you in advance for your time and help.


  • edited April 2013
    Howdy @capturethemoment - The key to capturing stunning fashion portraits is to use a lens that's capable of obtaining an aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8, like the "nifty fifty" Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.

    Lower f-numbers allow you to capture a shallow depth of field, which is a fancy way of saying...a shorter area in focus, which helps isolate your subject against a buttery smooth background. This effect really makes portraits "pop".

    It also allows you to focus on smaller subjects like, eyes, hair and clothing with everything else deliciously out of focus.

    The 18-55mm kit lens can only go down to f/3.5 when shooting towards the wide end of the lens (18mm) and f/5.6 when shooting towards the long end of the lens (55mm). Since the kit lens can't get down to the optimal aperture range, you'll have to "create" a shallow depth of field. You can do this by zooming in fully to 55mm and creating some space between you, your subject and the background.

    As for settings...
    1. Shoot in Aperture priority (Av on the mode dial) and select the lowest available f-number (using the smaller command dial).
    2. Set the ISO to Auto
    3. Set the metering to Center-weighted
    4. Set your AF Mode to One-Shot (see page 66 of the T2i manual)
    5. Enable the Center AF point (see page 68 of the manual)
    6. Adjust the Drive Mode to Continuous Shooting (see page 70 of the manual)

    With these settings in place, aim the center focus point (in the viewfinder) towards your intended subject. Half-press the shutter button to lock focus. While continuing to half-press the shutter, re-frame the shot for better composition. When shooting portraits, I usually focus on the eyes and then re-frame.

    When you're ready to take the shot, fully press the shutter and hold it down. The T2i will fire off a bunch of shots in quick succession. This makes for some great candids and also improves your odds of finding a keeper.

    If you're shooting indoors and notice the skin tones are off, then you'll need to adjust the white balance depending on what type of light you're shooting under. You can reference page 99 of the manual for instructions.

    That should get you going in the right direction. Best of luck to you and happy shooting! :)
  • Just returning to say a big thank you. That was some very thorough and good advice! Much appreciated. :)
  • Great tips for fashion photography! Thanks a lot for this helpful post. I am very much interested in fashion photography. Recently have been assisting a professional Port Macquarie Photographer to learn things.
  • If you want to become a fashion blogger Click to read on, you already harbor a secret passion for fashion. Sit down at your computer and brainstorm topics.
Sign In or Register to comment.