Get out of Auto mode and start using some of the advanced settings on the Nikon D3100 to capture the types of shots you've always dreamed of.
If you’re new to digital photography, chances are you’ve resorted to using Auto mode for all subjects and situations. This is fine if you’re trying to get an accurate exposure, however, in order to capture cool effects and freeze fast action you’ll need to venture into more advanced modes.
Before jumping head first into Aperture priority, Shutter priority or Manual mode, I recommend starting with Scene modes and Guide modes.
By selecting a scene mode, you’re telling the D3100 exactly what you’re looking at which helps it determine the best settings to use in that specific situation. Here’s a list of the available scene modes…
- Scene Modes on the Mode Dial
- Night Portrait
If you have a little more time on your hands, you can use Guide modes to capture even more specific subjects or scenes. Just rotate the mode dial to GUIDE and select Shoot. From there you’ll have three options…Easy Operation, Advanced Operation and Use a Timer/Quiet Shutter.
- Guide Modes available with Easy Operation
- No Flash
- Distant subjects
- Sleeping faces
- Moving subjects
- Night Portrait
- Guide Modes available with Advanced Operation
- Soften backgrounds
- Bring more into focus
- Freeze motion (people)
- Freeze motion (vehicles)
- Show water flowing
- Guide Modes available with Use a Timer/Quiet Shutter
- Single frame
- 10-second self-timer
- Quiet shutter release
Aperture & Shutter Priority
Over time, you’ll begin to understand how aperture, shutter speed and ISO work together. At that point, it would be a good idea to start experimenting with Aperture priority (A on the mode dial) and Shutter priority (S on the mode dial).
As a general guideline, Aperture priority is great for controlling depth of field, like isolating subjects against a blurry background or putting the entire scene into focus. Shutter priority is fantastic for controlling movement, like freezing fast action or capturing the movement of water.
Need Help with Settings?
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to begin learning how to shoot with Aperture or Shutter priority on your D3100, then I encourage you to connect with me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter or post your questions to the Nikon D3100 forum and I’ll get back to you lickety split!
Let me know which gear you currently own (lenses, external flash, tripod, etc…) and the types of subjects or scenes you’re trying to capture. This will allow me to point you in the right direction.
Happy shooting! :)