Using a Sony a6000 for Portraits

As a landscape photographer (primarily landscapes, but I’ll shoot anything), it’s always fun and exciting to get behind the camera and try some different techniques. I’ve always been a huge believer in the idea that spanning multiple photography genres and fields will allow people to grow in their creativity. Also, many different types of photography can help benefit other fields.

So, a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of helping an old friend out with some portraits of her new family! Here was the gear list I used…

That’s it! Who says you need some crazy fancy gear and a lot of flash to create great portraits and great memories? The fact of the matter is you don’t! If you know how to use your gear properly, you can save money and show people what a knowledgeable photographer looks like!

In this post, I’m going to talk about using a Sony a6000 for portraits because there are some really important features you’re going to want to consider.


The Lens

Even if you don’t have Sony E-mount lenses to go with your a6000, you can still use the lenses you have. Take note that I was using my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens during the shoot. I was able to use this lens thanks to an adapter. Now, you can get some expensive auto focus adapters (like the Metabones) but I tend to like the cheaper manual focus versions because the auto focus on adapters tends to be slow.

You might be wondering how I use manual focus for portraits, but more on that later…

So, you can really use any type of lens you want because adapters are pretty cheap and easy to connect and use.


Focus Tools

Like I talked about just a moment ago, I use manual focus with my adapter. Normally, I wouldn’t do this because I don’t trust my eyes enough to tell when something is in focus and when it’s not. Luckily for me, Sony has made it extremely easy for me to tell when something is in focus. It’s a feature in the camera’s menu called focus peaking.

Focus peaking basically highlights objects within the frame that are in focus with a color. I chose red because it’s easy to see and I rarely shoot anything red.

Now, for portrait photography, you want to focus on the eyes, especially if you’re using a super wide aperture. You don’t want to accidentally focus on the nose. So, when your focus peaking is set, just wait for your subject’s eyes to turn red and then fire away!


Continuous Shooting

There are also different frame rates you can shoot with the a6000. For portraits, I recommend using continuous shooting at the high frame rate. This will tell your a6000 to shoot at its max capability of 11 fps. Wow that’s fast!

I use the spray and pray approach to portraits. That means when I can see when my subject is in focus, I mash down the shutter and let my camera shoot as fast as it can. This allows me to shoot so many shots that one of the has to be great. Some portrait purists might say that it’s cheating, but when I have paying clients, I’m going to use every bit of technology that my camera gives me!

4 thoughts on “Using a Sony a6000 for Portraits

  1. I just purchased a Sony a6000 as my first digital mirrorless camera. Happy 60th birthday to me! Im excited to have it and appreciate your insight! thanks.

  2. I just bought the a6000. I have a Canon DSLR with the 50mm f1.8 lens. Which of the cheaper adapters are better? I saw some adapters that were over $300. I’m thinking for that price, I could just buy the Sony 50mm lens. But if I could spend less than $200 on an adapter, I would rather keep my Canon lenses.

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