Basic Controls: Auto Modes-


Nikon® D3400 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Basic Controls: Auto Modes-

So first off, we're in the full auto mode here, which means the camera is gonna be setting our exposure system for us, which means it's gonna be setting shutter speeds and apertures. It's gonna be controlling the focusing system for us, so it's gonna automatically focus. But many of the buttons on the camera and many of the features in the menu system are going to be disabled, and so if you did not see the rest of this class, this would be the easiest place to just throw the camera into this mode and take photos. And so if you want the easiest mode, that's where you can put it. This is also a great mode if you're gonna hand the camera to somebody else and you don't have time to explain how to use the camera. Just throw it in the green auto mode, hand it off, and they're gonna be pretty safe in shooting any type of photos. But my guess is that most people didn't buy this camera just to throw it in the auto mode. They probably bought it 'cause they want to try and they want to get in and...

manually control some of the other things, because they want to get specific results from certain photographs. And if you want to get in and take control of your photography, which is where I think it's a lot of fun, because you get to do things exactly the way that you want to do them, we're gonna be moving beyond this. So let's go to the next step, and we're still in the mode of auto here, okay, so, the flash off mode is exactly the same as full auto, with the exception that the flash is not going to pop up. One of the irritating things about the full auto mode is that the flash will pop up even in situations where it's not really gonna help you out. Imagine being at a concert, up in the stands, really far from the stage, it's dark in there. In the auto mode, the flash is gonna pop up, but it's not gonna be able to reach a stage that is 50 meters away. And so, if you're in a museum where they don't allow flash, or you're in an area, you're photographing a city that's way off in the distance, your built-in flash is not gonna be able to illuminate that, so that would be a good time to use the flash off mode. That way, the camera knows the flash can't help it out, and it's gonna have to figure out the exposure using shutter speeds, apertures, ISOs, and anything else that it has in the camera to do that. And so, flash is not gonna fire, everything else is fully auto, and it does prefer to try to keep you at a reasonably handheld shutter speed. It assumes that you're handholding the camera, and it's gonna try to do its best, with the technology that it has, to give you a good image in that particular situation. After this, we have a series of scene modes, and scene modes allow you to let the camera know, "I'm shooting a particular type of photo. Set the camera up for this type of situation." And so if you were doing a portrait, you could put it here in the portrait mode, and the camera's gonna try to give you a little bit shallower depth of field, so that your subject is in focus, but your background, which is less important, is out of focus. The flash will frequently fire, 'cause it assumes that if you're shooting a portrait, you're not too far away, and that flash will have enough power to reach your subject. And it also goes in and adjusts the color tones so that it's more appropriate for skin tones. And so, if you don't know much about portrait photography, this would be a first easy step to start. The next step would be going into a more manual mode where you can actually control all of these features on their own. Now as I go through these scene modes, let me just kind of give you one extra thought, and that is, is that the camera, in these scene modes, is not doing anything you can't do yourself. So there's no magic mojo the camera throws on the photos that you're not allowed to do on your own. This is fully capable, if you know what you're doing. So if you don't, this is a great place to just start off and let the camera, you know, take you on a shortcut to these types of photography. Landscape is gonna give you more depth of field. It assumes that landscape's pretty far away, so the flash is not gonna fire, and it does allow you to use slower shutter speeds, so you're gonna have to keep an eye on the shutter speeds. It may be that you need to use a tripod in some situations, so be aware of that. We have a child mode, and you can shoot children in the portrait mode, but we all know children are moving around a little bit faster quite a bit of the time, and so the camera tends to use a little bit faster shutter speeds so that you're less likely to get a blurry shot. Like the portrait mode, the flash fires on a little bit more regular basis, and we have more standard colors here, so they're gonna have a little bit more bright and vivid colors in some cases. Next up is a sports mode, good for any sort of fast action. Obviously here, we're going to have faster shutter speeds to stop that action. There is a different type of focusing system, where it's gonna be able to track that focusing a little bit better. There's a continuous drive mode that's turned on so that when you press down on the shutter release, it'll take one picture after another, and after another, as long as you keep your finger down on that button. And usually, when you're shooting sports, the subjects are too far away for the flash to be effective, so that's turned off and not active. Close up, so this one's gonna be using the center focusing point, and we will be talking more about the specific focusing points as we get later into this class. Flash is on automatic, and it's trying to keep you at handhold-able shutter speeds. You know, this would be a good place if you're gonna do food photography in a restaurant, you could use this, this would be the most appropriate mode for that type of situation. And then the final one is night portraits, and this is where you may not have a lot of light, but you're still trying to shoot a portrait. The camera will use slower shutter speeds, so you may need to use a tripod, or you may need to be at least very careful about holding the camera as steady as you can. In some cases, it'll use the flash if it thinks that it needs it. One thing to take note of is, it may have a challenge focusing. The camera does not focus as well under low lighting conditions, and so you need to point the camera at subjects that have a lot of brightness or contrast to them. It'll pick up focusing a little bit more quickly in those cases. Alright, this one's an unusual one. This is the special effects mode, and when you get in here, there is a number of unusual things that you can do. And this is sometimes what I refer to as Photoshop in the camera. There's a lot of tweaks that are going on here, these aren't just straight photos. And so, the way that you change this, is just put it in the effects mode, and then you can start turning the back dial to select from the different modes out there. So I wanted to take a look at what these do, and so let's take a look at what these are. Now, this is not a very good setup for night vision, but it does turn the images black and white, and it does play around with the tonalities to make it look a little bit like a night vision-type shot. Super vivid, it's just gonna pump up the saturation on your images, as is the pop, just in a slightly different way. Photo illustration adds kind of an outline, I don't know, watercolor type look to the images. Toy camera has a big vignette, so a darkening of the corners and very subdued colors. This is a bad setup for the miniature effect. What it does is it blurs out everything that isn't in the middle line of the frame. And if you're shooting from a high angle, like the top of a building, it can have a fairly interesting look, but it's not something you're gonna want to use on a lot of your photographs. Selective color is gonna be choosing an individual color that you can keep in there, and everything else goes black and white. So here, you can see yellow, but you can't really see much of any other colors. Once again, this particular setup is not the best for silhouettes, but in the right situation, it can help silhouettes come out a little bit more clearly. High key is just a brighter image, and low key is a darker image. And so, if you want to play around and have some fun, you know, you can investigate, try this out. This is probably not where you're gonna be spending a lot of time taking photos. You want to be careful because, once you take a picture in a special effects mode, it's kind of hard to undo the effect. In fact, it's probably impossible in most cases. And so, you don't want to shoot any important photos that you want standard style in the effects mode. It's just kind of for playing around and having some fun. Next up is a guide mode, and here in the guide mode is a way of kind of learning the camera with some simple instructions on the back of the camera. And so, it's a way for people who didn't read the instruction manual and that didn't see this class that want some little bit of help in working the camera. And we could probably spend a lot of time, but I really don't want to in here, because we're gonna get into the more manual settings where you can actually get in and control much, much more, 'cause it's still fairly limited what you can do in here. Now there are some unique scene modes that you can go in and take a look at, and so there's more, there's only, what do we have, like six different scene modes on the top dial. There's just not enough space to put more, and so they've buried some more here in the guide mode. But once again, this is not doing anything that you can't do on your own.

Class Description

The Nikon D3400 camera is the perfect DSLR if you're looking to move up from taking pictures on your smartphone. This class will give you an in-depth instruction on how to make this transition easily so that you can capture high quality images. John will guide you through the features, menus, and buttons on your camera, giving you the confidence you need to take pictures like a pro. You’ll learn how to:

  • Use the D3400's AF precise focus system, even during high-speed shooting and low-light situations
  • Link your D3400 to your smartphone using Nikon's new Snapbridge system
  • Create time-lapse videos, ultra-smooth slow motion sequences and more
If you've just purchased this camera, or are thinking about buying it, this in-depth class will help everyone from amateurs to professionals love the new NIkon D3400 camera.


Tuan Hoang

John Greengo is a great instructor. He is indeed an expert. 1) Great voice ( clear tone) 2) Extremely friendly look ( must be a humble person) 3) Is indeed an expert ( know what he's talking about) 4) Have a passion teaching the secrets ( some instructors tend to hold back the information but not John) 5) And many more...


Great course to help an amateur get familiar with this camera. As a first time DSLR owner, and new to photography in general, there are settings and abilities of this camera that I find to be intimidating at times because they are over my head as a newbie. John explained settings and buttons in a way that cleared up some confusion left from reading the camera manual. I highly recommend this class to every owner of a D3400! John is a great instructor and I look forward to watching more videos of his.

Gloria Vázquez

Great class. I'm new to photography and I just got the Nikon D3400. Just to look at the manual made me anxious so I decided to buy this class and I don't regret it. I've learned a lot about the camera and about basic photography. John is an excellent instructor. I'm planning to take his class Fundamentals of Photography next. Thank you!