Tips are from Capture the Light, by Steve Metzger
Usully ISO is less than 200.
Shutter priority stops the action.
The Program setting is like Auto.
The Aperture setting controls the depth of field. A small aperture opening focuses the background and a large aperture opening blurs it.
Scene selection blurs the background, you can focus on the eye.
In sunshine, set the ISO to the lowest setting and set the white balance to auto or daylight.
Use the Aperture or manualpresets, ISO 400 or 800, daylight white balance (or try tungsten or flourescent)
For a baseline: start with f5.6, 1/60 sec, ISO 100.
Use the flash for trails in a long exposure.
Get close, show the eyes.
Use simple backgrounds
Natural north light creates lovely skin tones and deeper colors
Use the rule of thirds: divide the photo area into thirds horizontally and vertically. Place some action or important detail at the intersections.
Vertical formats make for strong portraits
Make eye contact.
talk to the subject. Ask questions, make them feel comfortable. "What do you enjoy doing in your free time?"
Use a telephoto lens to get closer up.
Five or more people: make at least two rows: short, small, sit or kneel in front row.
Frame the group so the front row faces are all in line through the center of the composition. Shoulders of people in the longest row come close to touching the edge of the frame.
Use summer clothing if possible, avoid white or busy patterns in the clothing.
Position them so the sun is over your shoulder but high in the sky.
Complse the shot so you can clearly see each face.
Check for shadows in faces.
Climb up on a ladder and shoot down. Tell people to watch me and count to one-two-three.
Shoot portraits at dusk: ISO 200+ (400) manual, shutter speed 1/60 sec (hand held)
Try using a flash.
Set the scene.
Cover the event: group shots, close ups, candid shots.
fit in, don't be conspicuous.
ISO 400 or 800 increases flash range.