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Know Your Camera Settings - Portait, Sports Modes
Portrait mode on your camera may be good for getting a quick and easy shot in jpeg. But what does portrait mode do? Although it varies from camera to camera, basically, it tries to give you a pleasing picture with a soft, out of focus background. Your camera will default to the lowest f-stop it can to achieve that background. It may also soften the focus to achieve a softer skin tone. And finally, it will adjust the color to get acceptable skin tones; but acceptable to whom?
Why not try Av mode and set the aperture to the setting you want to get the background the way you want it? Focus for sharp eyes and soften the skin in post processing. Take control. The camera, in portrait mode, may set the aperture to its largest opening. If you are using a fast lens, your depth of field may be smaller than you would like and you may have parts out of focus that shouldn’t be.
What about sports mode? Well, sports mode may prevent you from using high ISO. Some cameras will set an upper limit for ISO in sports mode. the camera also will adjust to get a good exposure regardless of the need to stop action. Try the Tv mode, instead. Set the shutter to a fast shutter speed (1/400 or 1/500) and the ISO as high as needed to get good exposure. Use the fastest lens you can.