Canon PowerShot G12, Automatic Portrait Mode

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The automatic Scene (SCN) modes. One of them, the Portrait mode, is dedicated to shooting portraits. While this is not my preferred camera setting, it is a great jumping-off point for those who are just starting out. The key to using this scene is to understand what is going on with the camera so that when you venture further into portrait photography, you can expand on the settings and get the most from your camera and, more importantly, your subject.

Whether you are photographing an individual or a group, the emphasis should always be on the subject. Portrait mode utilizes a larger aperture setting to keep the depth of field very narrow, which means the background will appear blurred or out of focus. You can accentuate this effect by zooming in and also by keeping a pretty close distance to your subject. If you shoot from too far away, the narrow depth of field will not be as effective.

The G12 offers a few other features meant to help when photographing people. The Smart Shutter mode can look for a smile, a wink, or the presence of a face before taking the picture. And, of course, face detection helps keep people in focus, as described later.