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The Complete Sony Alpha 7R V Setup Guide For Portrait Photography

Customizing your Sony camera for specific types of photography can help you shoot more efficiently. Professional portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles likes to set his camera up a certain way for portraits to ensure a smooth and successful shoot. In this Sony Alpha 7R V setup walkthrough, Quiles shares his step-by-step guide covering everything you need to know when setting up your camera for portrait photography.

Pro portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles shares his step-by-step guide covering everything you need to know when setting up your camera for portrait photography.

Initial Setup

The Alpha 7R V Quiles uses in this video is fresh out of the box, so there are some initial setup steps required before getting into the full menu. If you’re turning on your Alpha 7R V for the first time, you’ll first be prompted to select the language for your camera, read and agree to the privacy notice, set the area/date/time, choose settings to prioritize recording time, and register the device. 

Menu Settings Intro & Main Menu

Now that his Alpha 7R V is ready for use, Quiles first makes sure that the dial on his camera is set to the camera stills shooting mode to give him the proper main menu. Once in the proper shooting mode, you can hit the menu button to open the quick menu that displays the majority of your settings. There are certain settings that Quiles likes to access using this quick menu, and there are other settings where he will dig into the menu to set them up separately.

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Image Quality Settings

In the quick menu, first access the Image Quality Settings:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Here you will select which File Format you want to shoot in. If you’re typically a JPEG shooter, you can leave this on JPEG, but Quiles tends to either set this to shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG. If he’s shooting an event like a wedding or a birthday party where he wants to turn over images quickly, then he will shoot in RAW+JPEG. If he’s doing a studio session, he’s usually just shooting in RAW.

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Raw & JPEG

If you do end up using RAW+JPG, Quiles says he also sets his JPEG Quality to Extra Fine for the highest quality and the image size set to 60 megapixels. 

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Rec. Media Settings

Next in the quick menu, select Rec. Media Settings:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Here, you’ll select which memory card slot is set up to capture the stills you are taking. Quiles prefers to set his to Slot 1.

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Next make sure your Auto Switch Media is set to ON so if your first memory card fills up, it will switch to the next one.

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Wireless Flash

If you are currently shooting with off-camera or wireless flash or plan to in the future, you’ll want to access the Wireless Flash setting in the menu:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Then make sure Wireless Flash is set to ON so it will automatically work once you add something to the hot shoe:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Focus Mode

Next you’ll want to access Focus Mode from the quick menu:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Then set your Focus Mode to Continuous AF (Quiles says he uses this for portraits 99.99% of the time):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Those are all of the settings Quiles likes to access from the quick menu. Next we dive deeper into the main menus of the camera:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

File Folder Settings

First under the Shooting Menu, select File:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Next select the first option, File/Folder Settings:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Next you’ll select Set File Name: 

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Here you can set the file name for your images that come out of the camera. (Because Quiles has multiple cameras, he likes to set each with a different file name so he knows which camera each image came from):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Copyright Info

Returning to the File section of the Shooting Menu, next you want to select Copyright Info:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Select Write Copyright Info:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Turn Write Copyright Info to ON (Quiles recommends setting the copyright information within the camera so it’s already taken care of and you don’t have to in post-production):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Next you can select the other items from the Copyright Info menu and set them with your name:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Shooting Display/Gridlines

Next within the Shooting Menu you want to go down to #9 to select Shooting Display:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Turn your Grid Line Display On (Quiles recommends this so you can ensure any lines in your images appear straight and symmetrical):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Next under Grid Line Type, Select Diag. + Square Grid (this is Quiles’ preference, but you can set whichever grid line type helps you compose your images best):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Customized Buttons & Features

Next you’ll want to back out of the menu you’re in and scroll down to the Toolbox Icon that is the Setup Menu:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Select Operation Customize from the Setup Menu:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Select Custom Key/Dial Set:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

This is where you can customize the rear buttons on the camera. Quiles likes to set these to use the features he uses more often for portrait photography.

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Tracking On + AF On

While you can customize these buttons however is easiest for you, Quiles likes to set the first rear AEL button to Tracking On + AF On:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Subject Recognition

Next he likes to change the third rear button, Custom Button 1, to Switch Right/Left Eye:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Live View Display Select

Next he changes the fourth rear button, Custom Button 3, to Live View Disp. Select (This gives you a shortcut to turn it off and on):

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

With the rear buttons now customized, Quiles’ menu looks as follows:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

Fn Menu Settings

Next, Quiles like to customize the Function Menu on the camera which is accessed by the Fn button on the back:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

To customize the Function Menu, return to your Custom Settings and select Fn Menu Settings:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

This will bring up your Function Menu Settings, and Quiles recommends removing anything from the menu that you don’t typically use and replacing it with functions you use more often. He removes Rec. Media Setting and changes it to APS-C shooting in case he wants extra reach while photographing portraits:

Sony Alpha 7R V Setup For Portrait Photography

With these settings, your Sony Alpha 7R V is ready for portrait photography. Visit the Sony Alpha YouTube Channel for more videos like this one.

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