Camera Operations


Nikon® D5600 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Camera Operations

Next up is the camera operation. So, let's kind of talk about everything combined, cause we've talked about all the individual features, and so here's some suggestions and ideas I that I have for general operation of the camera. First off, your basic checklist is: make sure you have a battery charged. You can't shoot pictures on a dead battery. Make sure you got a memory card that is installed and formatted. You want to try to have a formatted card anytime you go out and shoot. Make sure you have that image quality set. That's the really important one. Raw, large quality fine JPEGs for most of you. And then you might want to take a perusal through the menu system to see if there's anything that you changed recently, or you were out shooting photos last night and you were doing some crazy stuff. Nighttime photography, you don't want those for the sunrise in the morning. And if you take a big trip, or you're gonna go shoot something really important, like a friend's wedding, you wanna ma...

ke sure that your sensor does not have dust on it. So shoot that test photo and clean it off if necessary at that time. Alright. So, there's a lot of settings on the camera, but there's a few you're gonna come back to, over, and over, and over again. A lot of those are gonna deal with exposure. Your exposure modes, changing your shutter speeds, and then changing your apertures, which is very easy to forget at the beginning. You remember? You gotta press in on the plus/minus button and turn the main dial on the camera, and so.. The other key settings are gonna be in the iButton. So you press the iButton to get access to your ISO, as well as your white balance. And then your focusing modes as well, in there. And then over on the side of the camera, you remember that drive button over down on the left side of the camera as your holding the camera. So those are the types of controls that I'm gettin' into and changing on a regular basis. So, here's what they look like when we lay 'em all out. Let's figure out where we would set them for different types of photography. First up, let's do some super simple photography. And so, you wanna keep things as easy as possible. I don't like the auto mode on the camera, because it still puts those child-safety locks in case I do wanna make a subtle little change. The program mode is gonna be a very simple mode setting, shutter speeds and apertures for you. Normally, I don't like using auto ISO very much, I usually like to take control, but in a super simple mode it makes sense. Make sure the exposure compensation, that plus/minus button on the top of the camera, is set to zero. You're gonna wanna have your white balance set to auto white balance for basic shooting. It does a pretty good job. If it's not right, you can adjust it from there. If you're focusing on stationary subjects, people that are not moving around too much, general items, AF-S for single focus will work fine. Auto-area is using the entire focusing area of 39 focusing points, and that's gonna focus on whatever's closest in that area, but it's gonna pick up and it's gonna focus very very quickly for you. And for the release mode, usually you're only wanting to take one photo at a time, so single makes perfect sense under release mode. Let's try a couple of other scenarios. First up is landscape photography. This is where I would want more depth of field, and I may have the camera on a tripod, in case the camera needs a slower shutter speed that I can't hand-hold. In this case, you got a little bit more time to work with. It's a good time to be working in manual. One of the most important settings is setting the ISO to the lowest number possible, which is the ISO 100. You're gonna get the cleanest, best information off the sensor, the best dynamic range, the best color off the sensor. From there, you're gonna wanna set your aperture to get lots of depth of field. F11, 16, 22, depends on the exact scenario. When you have a small aperture, you end up having a longer shutter speed. The shutter speed will depend on what the lighting conditions are, but they're often slower, which means you often need a tripod and so that can be very helpful in those situations. White balance can be left at auto, unless you see that it's not looking right. Then you could change it to a specific setting. Your subjects are not moving around, so AF-S for single will do fine here. You wanna be very precise about where you focus, and so single focusing is gonna be fine here. Choose which point you want your camera to focus on, and that's exactly where the focus point is going to be. And for the release mode, you have a couple of options. If you have a cable release, you could set it to single, and if you don't have that, you could always use the self-timer, and the 2 or 5-second timer would work out quite well there. You could also use mirror lockup, if you wanted to kind of add a bonus in there, as well. Next up is portrait photography. In this case, we need to be a little more aware of our shutter speed, because we're probably not gonna be on a tripod and our subjects might be moving around a little bit. We often wanna be shooting with shallower depth of field, so the background is more out of focus, as well. And so setting up the camera with this, I prefer to be in manual, because I want to take a lot of photos, and I want to have the consistent exposure between them. In this case, I'll probably go with shallow depth of field. Not all my lenses have F1.4, so I'll just open 'em up as wide as they go, or maybe a stop or two down depending on the scenario. I would recommend 125th of a second or faster. That's gonna stop your movement holding the camera, as well as any subtle movements from your subject that you're shooting. If they were moving really fast, yes, you'd have to go to a faster shutter speed, but 125 will do for most people in a portrait scenario. Try to keep it at ISO 100, raise it as necessary according to the light levels. White balance at auto, change that if necessary. As long as your subjects aren't moving around too much, you can be in the AF-S single focus mode, so you can focus on your subject, potentially focus lock by pressing halfway down on the shutter release. Recomposing for a pleasing composition. I like choosing a single point of focus, because I want to be able to focus very precisely on the eyes of my subject, not the nose, not just the general head, but the eyes of my subject. You can be very precise with that single point. You can move that point around with the touch pad on the back of the camera. In the release mode, using the single shot mode is usually fine. Some people might want to have it in the continuous, but single is usually gonna be fine for most people. Next up, action photography. So here, we're gonna have to make some changes with our shutter speed, and with our focusing system. So first up, I do like to be in manual so I can get consistent photos shot-to-shot. In this case you're probably gonna need a faster shutter speed, probably 500th of a second or faster. This is where lenses with an aperture of 2. can really pay off. If you don't have that, probably just open them up to the widest setting you have. Because you're choosing a faster shutter speed, you're probably gonna need a higher ISO. Most likely, even under good light, you're gonna need 400 under indoor light. You're gonna need something like 32, or maybe 64000 just depending on the light levels. You don't worry about exposure compensation in manual. You can go with auto white balance unless you see a problem. Focusing mode needs to be changed here. This is one of the most important changes for action photography, is getting the focus set to continuous mode. This is not available using the live-view mode. You don't want to be using the live-view when you're shooting high-speed action. The camera is much faster at focusing action when it's in the standard operation mode, not live-view, not the movie mode. For focusing area, there's a number of options here. I like the 9 point, if my subject is not too erratic. If they are more erratic, then I might choose the Dynamic 21. Or maybe very erratic, like a bird in flight, that would be the Dynamic 39-point option. And this is where we're gonna wanna choose one of the continuous speeds, the low speed or the high speed, whatever is most appropriate for what you're shooting. Alright, the last one we'll do in this class, is what I call basic photography, which is where you kind of don't know what your next shot is gonna be, but you wanna be ready to adjust for almost anything available. I do like a little bit of automation in aperture priority. And so I'm not gonna worry about shutter speeds as far as setting them. I'm gonna keep my eye on them. I'm gonna adjust my aperture according to how much depth of field I need, or according to how fast I need my shutter speed. So I'll leave my aperture relatively wide open, so that I'm ready for relatively quick action. I'd like to leave my camera at ISO 100 by default, but if the light levels get lower and my shutter speeds get slower, I will often be bumping up my ISO from time to time. Check to make sure that your exposure compensation is not plus or minus, someplace that you don't want it. Zero is a good default position for it to be. Auto white balance is good, and as long as I'm not shooting action, the AF-S option for single focusing usually works fine in most scenarios. As far as the focusing area mode, the single point, if you are pretty accurate about pointing the camera in the right place for getting focus is good. If you want a little bit of help, you might go to the Dynamic 9-point there, but I like the single point. And then with the release mode, just setting that to single is fine. If something happens pretty quickly, you can just kind of pump up and down on the shutter release button and take several photos. So folks, there you go, congratulations. You are now a Nikon D5600 expert. Congratulations. Get that camera out there and start doing some tests with it and getting to know your camera really well. If you are interested in other Fast Start, this is my 49th Fast Start, so if you are interested in other cameras, I have a number of other cameras that will be coming up. For instance, I got the new, mirrorless Canon M5 and M6 coming up. Nikon just introduced the D7500. I'll definitely have a class on that one. I'm even gonna be doing some classes on Leica cameras later this year. So if you need a camera class, this is where I think you're gonna find the largest collection of in-depth classes, anywhere around out there. If you are interested in photography classes, I do have a couple of classes. Depending on where you are in photography, if you're just getting started you might want the Photography Starter Kit for Beginners, it's a nice short, quick class. If you've been into photography for a while, you're really getting engaged, you really wanna go deep, take a look at the Fundamentals class. It's gonna be a great class for anybody who loves photography. I do also have two specialized classes: one on Nature and Landscape and another on Travel Photography, where we get to really explore those subjects in-depth. And then, I have an in-depth class on Nikon Lenses. That is actually one of my favorite classes, cause I get to really geek out and go into all the technical specs on the lenses and choosing one lens over the other and what it's good for. That's one of the beauties of an interchangeable lens system is knowing those lenses, having those lenses to go work with. I think that's a great class to follow on with this class. Now that you know your camera, get to know the lenses. They seem pretty simple, but there's a lot more going on that you might not suspect.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But trying to understand the manual can be a frustrating experience. Get the most out of your new Nikon D5600 with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential. In this Fast Start class, you’ll learn:

  • Learn the best autofocus options for both standard and live view shooting
  • Link your D5600 to your smartphone using Nikon's new Snapbridge system
  • Customize the camera in the menu system to fit your style of photography

John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This fast start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Nikon D5600's settings to work for your style of photography.


Steve Weinstein

I thought this class was excellent in that John Greengo showed me the essentials of my new Nikon D5600. I learned all about the menus, the settings and the relationship between shutter, aperture and ISO. Highly recommended.

Kyosa Canuck

I find these interesting and very informative just for the featiures. I would like to see one on the slightly older Sony a77. Note, too, Mr Greengo that this manufacturer is, as I have been many times corrected, Neekaan and not Nighkawn.

ronald james

I have had the D5600 for some 5 months and purchased a few instruction books on the camera but just an hour with the lesson and I have learnt far more in a short time than I thought possible - John Greengo is the man