Moose's Cheat Cards for the Nikon D3100

Woohoo! The wait is finally over...I'm proud to finally announce (after many months) my 1st ever Cheat Cards for the Nikon D3100.

Nikon D3100 Cheat Sheets for Beginners

If you've ever been in a situation and wondered which settings to use with your camera, these nifty little cheat sheets will tell you exactly which settings I would start with.

My settings are specific to the Nikon D3100 and select Nikon lenses. This allows me to provide very detailed settings which will improve your odds of capturing a keeper.

Sound good? Click here for more info.

For this first pack, I created 17 Cheat Cards specifically for the D3100 and the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens combo. In the next few weeks, I'll be rolling out additional packs for other popular Nikon lenses mounted to the D3100.

In case you're wondering, these Cheat Cards can be printed at home or viewed digitally on an iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire or desktop computer. If you have more questions, check out the F.A.Q.

The funds I earn go directly to supporting my young family (wife & baby boy). Thanks for your love and support!


  • edited December 2015
    Hi Moose. Is the cheat sheet for the D3100 18-55mm for taking baby and child pictures indoor with or without flash? I've been trying to take pictures without flash, but it's always dark, even if I put the ISO on high.
  • Hi @tirsjen - Whether you have VR or not, the cheat cards will still work. VR is a nice added bonus feature, giving you the ability to steady hand-held shots in low light. While it can help produce sharper results in these situations, it has no bearing on moving subjects. If the subject is moving in low light, you'll need the right settings in order to freeze their movements. All the best!
  • edited December 2015
    Hi @buzzle - The 18-55mm isn't really suited for photographing babies indoors. If you can position the baby near a window with natural light, you can capture some decent shots. I have a cheat card specific to this exact scenario for the 18-55mm lens. However, if you're photographing your baby indoors at night, then you'll need a much brighter lens, something like the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G (see here) and possibly even an external flash if there isn't enough ambient light. All the best!
  • edited March 2016
    When using the cheat cards for the 35mm lens (the outdoor family group photo), my pictures were coming up white. Is there a setting I should be changing?
  • Hey @Malia_W - Yep, just beneath the "Initial Settings" are the "Setup Instructions." There you'll find the steps to brighten or darken the photo. :)
  • edited April 2016
    I just got the 18-55mm VR Cheat Cards for my wife. She was asking why there aren't may settings for nighttime. Also, are there any settings for sports/action daytime indoors? Can she just follow the outdoors and change some settings to make it for indoors? Thank you very much for your cheat cards. It's a lot of help to her since she doesn't like watching videos or reading guides.
  • Hi @rezyle - The cheat cards are built upon the strengths of each individual lens. While the D3100 is quite capable of capturing sports/action in any type of light, you need to use the right lens.

    For low light action, you need a lens with a bright f/2.8 aperture or lower. The 18-55mm only goes down to f/3.5 at 18mm and f/5.6 at 55mm, which is like wearing a pair of really dark sunglasses indoors. The camera simply can't see through the lens, which results in a blurry/noisy mess.

    You'll notice the sets for the 35mm and 50mm f/1.8 have scenarios for low light action. This is because of their bright f/1.8 aperture.

    The ideal lens for indoor (low light) sports would be the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, but it's expensive. You could always rent from an outfit like Borrow Lenses ( and use if for a couple games during a season.

    All the best!
  • edited April 2016
    Thank you very much @moose for the info. My wife and I are both novice. That info really helps us a lot on what we need. We're always following your site, keep it up.
  • Excited to put the cheats to use! Thanks!
  • edited August 2016
    Thanks for the Cheat Cards, they are very helpful. I am using a 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens, any plan to add the Cheat Cards for this lens?
  • That's awesome @krys0621! Feel free to reach out anytime :)
  • Hey @Johnson, you can use some of the scenarios from your 18-55mm set. More specifically the landscape/architecture, sunset/sunrise, stars, exteriors/interiors, fireworks, waterfall cheat cards. All the best!
  • edited October 2016
    Just stumbled across this great website and signed up straight away.
    As a novice but eager learner, I have found out much information in a short space of time here.
    Any chance of doing a cheat sheet on Tamron 70-300 SP Di with Vibration Control?
  • Hi @Serg69, thanks so much! The Tamron 70-300mm VC is compatible with the 55-200mm set. They share the same f/4-5.6 aperture range. Here's the direct link:
  • edited October 2016
    Great - thanks very much.
  • edited October 2016
    Just started using the cards; great improvement in my shots. Many thanks!
  • edited November 2016
    A couple years back I bought a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens.
    I would like to upgrade it. The zooming effect is not satisfying at all.
    Some of the pictures turn out to be blurry, and I don't know why.
    Kindly guide.
  • edited November 2016
    Hi @Moose, thanks for the advice on the Tamron 70-300mm.
    I purchased the Cheat Cards for the 55-200mm set as advised, and I have already started using them.

    One request I have is that I take some photos of my local soccer team that plays on a Friday night, in the dark, but under floodlights. I have been struggling to get good photos under these conditions. Would you advise on best settings for this scenario?

  • Hey @serg69 - That's a common struggle for a lot of people. Unfortunately, this is a scenario that requires the right gear. To achieve good results of fast action in low light, you need a much brighter lens. The one most people use in this situation is the 70-200mm f/2.8. Sigma and Tamron both make a version of this lens. The price, size and weight will shock you a bit. One alternative is to rent the lens a couple times a year to get some awesome shots. You can do so from places like and
  • edited December 2016
    Hi. I've just come across your cheat cards, and I'm looking forward to ordering. Just a question about which ones to order. I will order the 18-55mm, but I also have a Nikon 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G AF-S. Can I use the 55-200mm for that lens too? Thank you. You're a godsend!
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