Unlocking the Potential of the Nikon D3500: A Step-by-Step Guide

Piper O'Shanassy05 Jan 2023

If you’re new to photography and want a great entry-level camera, the Nikon D3500 is the perfect choice. It has powerful features such as an 24 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with 11 autofocus points, 1080p video recording capabilities at up to 60 frames per second, and ISO range of 100 - 25600 that are sure to delight every beginner photographer. With its large 3 inch LCD screen for easy navigation around menus and shooting modes, as well as its extremely lightweight design making it easily portable for any task or adventure you may have in store—the Nikon D3500 is a fantastic introduction into DSLR cameras.

Getting to Know Your Nikon D3500

Learning the ins and outs of your new Nikon D3500 camera can be both fun and daunting. To help you get to know your gear better, start with some basic functions that will make capturing beautiful images easier. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the menu settings on the back of your camera – it’s here where most operations are controlled and adjusted. Understand exactly what shutter speed, aperture size, ISO level, autofocus mode (AF-C or AF-S) mean as well as how they work together for a perfect exposure in different lighting conditions is key to successful photography results. Additionally; practice shooting from different angles such as low angle shots which can create more interesting compositions—or take advantage of one feature unique to Nikon cameras: The ‘Scene Mode’ option – this setting conveniently gives you several preconfigured modes tailored specifically towards certain types of photo scenarios like wildlife or people portraiture allowing you quick access when time matters!

Understanding Exposure Settings

When using the Nikon D3500, understanding exposure settings is key to capturing stunning photographs. When setting your camera’s exposure, you are adjusting how much light will be collected by the sensor. It can seem intimidating or complex but with a little knowledge it's simple and easy! Start off by choosing either Auto mode (the green "A") or Aperture Priority Mode (the “A/V”). If you choose auto mode then set your ISO according to the amount of light in your scene; if there isn't enough natural light available use higher ISO values such as 3200 - 6400 to compensate for this deficit during low-light situations. If instead you chose aperture priority then select an aperture value first which determines how much depth of field exists in each picture taken at that particular f-stop level; adjust shutter speed accordingly so as not to overexpose image data due opening up too wide of a lens iris hole size thus allowing more undesirable ambient photons into photographic frame composition attempts respectively speaking on behalf all creative pursuits desiring best imaging results thereafter afterwithal conclusionly presentably . With these basics under your belt, remember practice makes perfect and feel free experiment when taking photos with the Nikon D3500 – take risks and enjoy shooting!

Focus Modes for the Nikon D3500

The Nikon D3500 is a powerful camera, and understanding the various focus modes available to you can help take your photos up a notch. With Autofocus selected, the camera will automatically adjust its lens to keep your subject in sharp focus as they move around or when you’re recording videos. If you want total control over where the cameras focuses on then manually set it using manual focusing (MF). This mode allows users to precisely choose what area of an image should be sharp without relying on any autofocus assistance. Alternatively, AF-A lets photographers use both autofocusing and manual adjusting by switching between them at will with just one click; perfect for making quick adjustments while capturing moving subjects like birds or animals!

Using the Scene Modes

The Nikon D3500 includes a range of Scene Modes that make it easy to capture beautiful photos, even if you don't have extensive photography experience. When shooting in Scene Mode, the camera will automatically adjust settings such as shutter speed and aperture based on your chosen scene mode option. This can be ideal for taking pictures where you'd like everything to look just right - portraits or landscapes for example! To use these modes, simply scroll through them using the command dial located on top of your camera until you reach the desired mode; then simply press the OK button at center and take your photo!

Taking Advantage of Special Effects and Filters

The Nikon D3500 has a variety of special effects and filters that can add an extra level of creativity to your photos. These include options such as Night Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature Effect and Selective Color. To access these features on the camera you need to enter the Special Effects option from the Menu button in Shooting mode. From here you have access to all available filter settings where each one can be tweaked for even more individualized results. The possibilities are endless! With a bit of experimentation with different combinations, your photography skills will no doubt improve quickly so get creative and make sure you take advantage of this great feature set on offer with the Nikon D3500!

Tips for Capturing Great Photos

Taking great photos with your Nikon D3500 is easy to do. With its 24-megapixel resolution and 11 point autofocus system, you can capture stunning detail in every shot. For best results, adjust the camera settings according to the type of photo that you’re taking – such as setting a slower shutter speed for low light photography or turning up image stabilization when shooting action shots. Consider using special effects and filters too - these allow you to create unique pictures by making adjustments in post-processing like adding saturation or increasing contrast. Whether it's landscapes or portraits, if done correctly there are plenty of ways you can get creative with your current setup!

Post-Processing with Nikon Software

Post-processing your photos is an important step in creating beautiful images. With the Nikon D3500, you can do so easily with its suite of software tools such as Capture NX-D and ViewNX2. Capture NX-D allows for minor adjustments to photo colors, sharpness and contrast while ViewNX2 provides a range of features including RAW image processing and editing capabilities. Both programs are easy to use thanks to their intuitive interfaces that allow quick access to all available options. With either program you'll be able create great looking photos without any difficulty!


To conclude, the Nikon D3500 is a great camera with many features that are easy to use. With its portable size, range of lenses and intuitive menu system, it's perfect for new photographers looking to take stunning photos. While there may be cameras out there with more advanced features or better image quality in certain areas, the Nikon D3500 strikes an excellent balance between affordability and capability - making it well worth your consideration if you're thinking about investing in a digital SLR camera.

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper grew up with a love of animals, which quickly turned into a love of photographing them. She shares her tips and tricks on photography, and hopes she can help you shortcut your expansion of a passion.

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