25 Nikon DSLR Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Camera

Nikon Camera

So you just got a new DSLR, and you’re ready to dive in and take your photography to the next level. Congratulations!

Make the most out of your camera with these 25 Nikon DSLR tips:

1. Read the manual

I know the first thing I always want to do when I get a new toy—play with it! But before you start swinging your new camera around, take a minute or two to look through the manual and get your camera set up correctly. You’ll likely have to set the date, time, and upload some camera software to your computer.

2. Take a class

If you’re still a little new to photography, then there is a lot to learn! Get yourself up to speed with an online course right here on Craftsy.

3. Find a community

There’s no better way to hone your skills than to surround yourself with likeminded people. Join online communities like Flickr or Nikonians.org and share work on Craftsy. Even better, find a local group that hosts events or photography gatherings.

4. Get insurance

The last thing you want to happen with your brand new DSLR is to have it broken, lost or stolen. Protect your purchase and get protection for your camera.

5. Invest in good lenses

An excellent camera is nothing without great glass in front of it. Invest in a good lens for peak performance!

6. Buy a large memory card

Not all memory cards are created equal. If you’re planning on shooting a lot of shots in between uploads (like for weddings or travel), then it’s a good idea to invest in some large and fast memory cards.

7. Keep it clean

Clean your camera regularly and store it in dry, cool places. The last thing you want is to have dust spots appearing all across your perfectly blue sky while you’re out on assignment.

8. Use aperture priority mode

One of the greatest advantages of a DSLR is having as much or as little control as you want. Take control of your aperture for stunning portrait photography.

bride holding bouquet of white and pink flowers

9. Try shutter priority mode

When things start to speed up, or you want to lengthen your exposure for dark scenes, take advantage of the shutter priority mode.

10. Shoot in full manual

If you want complete and total control of over your photography, then play around with the power of full manual.

11. Pre-program your settings

Have a favorite exposure you like? Save it in your camera as a pre-programmed priority setting.

12. Check the histogram

Check your pixel data and get your perfect exposure by checking your built-in histogram.

13. Take advantage of built-in HDR

Having troubles with contrast? Enable the built-in HDR (on select models) and your Nikon will automatically combine a light and dark image to create a more balanced exposure.

14. Play with creative effects

From color sketches to selective color, you’ll have a blast with the creative effects available on many Nikon DSLR cameras.

15. Utilize your interval timer

Nikon’s DSLRs can take timers one step further. You can set up for multiple images taken within any interval over any period. Make a stop-motion or time-lapse movie with ease!

16. Record video

Nikon DSLRs have come a long way with video capabilities, with many now recording in full HD!

17. Set focus area settings

Choose from multiple focus area settings like single, multiple or 3-D to ensure clear and crisp photos every time.

Jaguar making eye contact in the grass

18. Use continuous focus

If your subject is moving around sporadically, use continuous focus to keep up.

19. Shoot with continuous shutter release

Don’t miss a single moment of the action. With continuous shutter release, you can take pictures back-to-back within fractions of a second.

20. Customize for back-button focus

Nikon DSLRs are great in that you can even customize what the buttons do. Many professionals prefer to use the shutter as the exposure lock and focus separately using the back thumb button for ultimate precision.

21. Shoot RAW

Don’t loose precious data to jpeg compression. Shoot RAW files to edit later for beautiful, undistorted photos.

mountains overlooking a lake in Norway

22. Get an external flash

Need a little extra light? Pop a powerful external flash right on top of your Nikon DSLR. Want even more flexibility? Get a Nikon Wireless Speedlight Commander and control your flash from anywhere.

23. Share with a Wireless Mobile Adapter

Pop a Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter on the side of your Nikon DSLR and you’ll be able to automatically transfer images to your smartphone or tablet for instant sharing!

24. Shoot in Quiet mode

One of my pet peeves is hearing the shutter release ringing through the wedding hall. Use Quiet mode and the guests won’t even know you’re behind them.

25. Practice

The final and most important tip of all is to practice! So grab your camera, get out there and get the most out of your Nikon DSLR.

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