So, you’ve taken the dive, and purchased your first high quality sports camera.
And being the perfect combination of sports enthusiast and product researcher, you have landed on the infamous Nikon d3500 Sports Camera.
Truly a beautiful piece of machinery. Excellent choice. You couldn’t have purchased a better camera considering price and capability.
But as any photographer knows, there’s more to taking pictures than just the equipment; you need to know how to use it. That’s where we come in. Below are the essentials for taking stunning pictures using your new camera.
Follow these (5) tips and tricks and you may soon find yourself getting calls from friends and families to photograph their next game.
Do Not Use Full Automatic Mode
As you first turn on your camera, you will notice that there are certain modes highlighted. Specifically, you may notice the “Sports” or “Action” mode.
Do. Not. Use. These.
The temptation will be great. You’ll think, why would the Nikon d3500 Sports Camera have a sports mode, but not make it worth using?
The truth is, these modes are not as dialed in as they need to be, and this is the case for every camera. The shutter is too quick, and they eclipse any sort of meaningful direction towards your goal.
Full-automatic mode may offer an easier path to snapping photos, but you lose so much in quality in the pursuit of quantity.
While many amateur photographers rely heavily on these functions, any veteran will explain that you are always better off setting your camera to a semi-automatic shutter mode for situations when you want to take several photographs in a burst sequence.
Even though you may not be trying to become a professional photographer, not using the full-automatic mode is one way you can drastically improve the quality of your photos without much extra effort.
This is because the semi-automatic mode will enable your camera to take a slow burst of targeted photos. This allows you, the newfound professional, to focus your camera on a moment and capture that moment while retaining focus on each frame. When the burst is over, you can either resume another set of photos, or move towards the next object.
Most newer photographers who get a sports camera are immediately drawn to the rapid fire feel of full-automatic mode, and that is precisely why avoiding this feature is the first tip in this article.
Shoot From A Low Angle
One major distinction between the average photographer, and a master, is using angles to highlight and illuminate a photo.
Our recommendation that we do not see enough people utilize in sports settings is to aim your Nikon d3500 Sports Camera from a low position.
This vantage point offers several benefits.
First, shooting low will simplify your background. This is especially important while photographing sports events because you often times want the players to be the feature. While there might be a magnificent sunset in the background, what you really want to highlight is your daughter scoring the winning goal.
Second, a low shot will emphasize the foreground in the landscape. In this scenario, the landscape will technically be the sports players. Not only will this ensure the camera more readily focuses in on the players, but you will add depth into your frames making them more interesting overall.
And finally, a low angle will pack more picture into your shot. Shooting low will shift how subjects in a scene relate to one another. More clearly, the lower angle reduces vertical space between subjects, which optimizes the background and foreground areas.
Of course, there are certain situations where you will be interested in capturing not only the player but also other information in the background. The prime example could be to capture the fans in the stands behind the team.
But more often than not, shooting from a low angle will add a little style to your photos that you will notice is lacking from many others.
Use Aperture Priority Mode
Properly utilizing aperture priority mode builds off our first tip, which is to never use the Nikon d3500 Sports Camera’s automatic mode, and instead stick to a semi-auto shutter mode.
The reason for this is that the semi-automatic shutter mode will greatly reduce the likely hood that you will take blurry photos. This is especially an issue while taking photos during times of high movement (the classic example being: sports).
Aperture priority mode continues this trend, but instead of focus, it gives you manual control over your exposure in that you set the aperture and ISO limits. With the right measuring and control, you will end up with almost 100% of your photos properly exposed to light.
If you ask any experienced photographer, they will tell you taking pictures comes down to three factors: position, light, and focus.
Aperture priority mode, when used properly, seamlessly takes care of the light and focus factors, which gives you the opportunity to explore different angles, distances, and positions to capture your perfect moment, from your perfect perspective.
Of note, effectively utilizing and understanding your camera’s aperture priority mode can feel a little daunting at first since you need a basic understanding of ISO, depth, and shutter speed; however, there are a number of clear and concise articles that specifically address what aperture priority mode is and how to understand and integrate it into your photos.
We highly recommend searching for one of these articles because once you garner the fundamentals of aperture priority you will never shoot again without it.
Position Is King
Another tip that people sometimes forget, is to anticipate your target picture, and ensure you are in the best position possible to capture that moment.
Far too often, individuals will just sit in the middle of the stands and take far off pictures of their children or friends playing sports.
The fact is, if you want a picture, a real picture that tells a story, you got to work for it just a little bit more than the average person. Considering you just purchased a phenomenal camera; we are willing to bet you’re looking to take above average pictures.
To offer a few examples of how positioning can play a critical role in your pictures.
If your child is a goalie in a soccer game, setup near the backline, and try to pay attention whether the opposing team’s main shooter is a righty or a lefty. This will ensure you can get a phenomenal photo of your child diving in the correct direction while capturing the initial shot taken by the opposing player.
Or, if your friend is playing some pickup football, and he is the star running back, it doesn’t make sense to be standing near the quarterback. You need to be thirty yards down the line, getting ready to capture a phenomenal pass, catch, and sprint towards the endzone.
While it may seem like a commonsense tip, far too many people forget this simple rule. Positioning will always be one of the most important fundamentals of capturing a beautiful picture and utilizing this advice will ensure your Nikon d3500 Sports Camera is put to the best use possible.
Snap, Snap, And Do Not Stop
Learning a new camera is like preparing your favorite dish, breaking in a new pair of leather boots, or getting to know a new friend. It takes time and a little work, but the payoff is always worth it.
Your Nikon d3500 Sports Camera is no different. How to focus your camera, understanding and fully utilizing its precision, and exploring different angles and distances will take practice, but before you know it, you will be taking superb, high-quality photos with every flick of your camera.
For this reason, our final tip is to snap and just keep on snapping.
Play with your camera and learn how it feels and operates in different light, color, and backgrounds.
Don’t be afraid to fill up your memory every time you go out. You can always save your photos to the Cloud or delete them. It costs nothing but a little of your time.
Take our tips to the test. Try shooting in full-automatic mode, and then switching to aperture priority mode. Or snap a number of shots from a high angle to low, and then take the same one from a low angle to high.
I guarantee, you’ll see a monumental difference in the quality of your pictures.
Most important, if you take enough pictures, and gain an appreciation and understanding of your camera, when the time comes to capture a truly special moment, you will be more than prepared to make that moment last an eternity.
These tips and tricks are five easy ways to vastly improve your photography without spending an immense amount of time or spending money on professional classes.
Now that you are prepared to immortalize the world with some beautiful photos, go out into the world and get started on taking some stunning photos that will endure the test of time.
And course, remember the most important tip of all; to enjoy yourself!