Using Facebook to Market Your Photo Business, Part 2

In order to have a steady stream of customers, you need to find way to market your services as a photographer. Get in with the times by promoting your photo business online in probably the most popular social networking site in the world, Facebook. We have written previously about how to use the features of Facebook for just that purpose and here are several more tips to get you going:

fb2 Using Facebook to Market Your Photo Business, Part 2Upload videos to share your ‘behind the scenes’ process – photos of how you set up your images are great but video footage of them are even better! Take advantage of the video option to share how you do your photo shoots, how you compose and light up your subjects. Video sessions are extremely popular and highly informative since clients can get to see exactly how your creative process works, from the preparations to the final result. For fans who want to learn more from you, you can also use video tutorials. There are some instructions that are easier understood when shown through a video tutorial rather than by reading them.

Build a solid client base – the strength of Facebook is in relationship marketing and less so at direct selling. Build connections and relationships with your clients and potential clients through regular interactions. You will have more success in getting sales this way plus a lot of regular and satisfied clients.

Invite people to your event by creating an event page – in case you are organizing or hosting an event for your photography business, use the Facebook event option to invite prospective and current clients. Having an event page allows you to spread the word to a large audience without much effort. It also allows others to RSVP so you know who are going and who cannot make it. This is not a substitute for formal (as opposed to virtual) invitations but it is a convenient way to make people aware of your event. The events page includes the details of the event such as date, time and location. You can also place a profile picture such as an image of the event poster. Another feature is that one can leave public comments which can be read by others and if these testimonials are positive and complimentary, then they certainly add to the appeal. You have the option to show the guest list so that others can know who else is planning to attend.

Try using the Facebook advertisement feature– with this option, you can create advertisements that appear on the pages of your target audience. This is another effective way to promote your business as well as increase awareness of your presence in the industry. Facebook does a great job of guiding you in setting up your ad campaign, and you have control over how much you want to spend to keep it running. You can set a limit to the ad budget and Facebook will stop showing your ads once you reach that limit. If it is your first time to use this feature, it would be wise to set up one advertising campaign at a time while you are learning the ropes so you can fully concentrate on it.


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More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips

Shooting group portraits, especially those of your family, can be challenging since you are dealing not just with a single model, but several of them. Each member would be different in height, looks and personality and not only will you be focusing on how to create the shot but also how to successfully direct the family to pose. We previously explained some tried and tested family portraiture tips, and here are some effective suggestions you can use as to how to take great family portraits:

presto44 P1050391BW More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips1. Vary the eye levels of your subjects – visually pleasing group shots usually have the subjects at different heights. Have some people sit while others stand. This will lessen the sense of monotony in the shot.

2. Make subjects interact – have the subjects in your family photographs get closer together. Minimizing the gaps between the subjects provides a sense of closeness. A family setting should connote a sense of intimacy and love. Ideally have each member hug, hold hands, or touch the person closest to them. Body language links people together and this is the perfect example to relay feelings or emotional impact when looking at the photograph. When your subjects are lined up for a photograph, position them at slight angles to each other and make sure that their shoulders overlap so that they will not look awkward. When dealing with large groups in a single shot, break them down into smaller groups to make it easier for you to coordinate the shot. You can arrange them in a diamond, zigzag or triangular formation.

family6 More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips3. Make sure your subjects do not blink during the shot – when shooting group photographs, the hardest part is not having at least one of them blink. It is easy to reshoot for small groups but for larger groups, it is next to impossible. It does not help to shoot in continuous mode because one is bound to blink. Do a countdown to make sure that everyone is aware that you will be clicking the shutter button any moment so that they will be conscious and will not blink. A really useful tip is to tell all your subjects to close their eyes at the same time and do a countdown, then open their eyes all at once. This will surely guarantee that they will all have their eyes open at the same time without needing to blink.

4. Choose a lens that has the right focal length – the most eye-catching portrait images are created using lenses without zoom, known as prime lenses. Some zoom lenses can also give you great close-up shots. Wide-angle lenses can make subjects wider than they actually are while telephoto lenses have the reverse effect and can make your subjects appear flat. Beautiful portrait images can be captured using lenses with focal range of 50mm-100mm. Having a shallow depth of field blurs the background and brings the focus to the subject. 

family2 More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips5. Get your subjects’ attention – when you are dealing with grown-ups and teenagers, getting their attention for a few seconds will not be as difficult compared to when you are dealing with babies, toddlers and older children. You will need to capture the attention of younger subjects to get a good shot. You may have to try hard to make them laugh, to the point of being silly. You can ask a whole group of children to do something fun together. This will give you a candid as well as a fun image. Best of all, this can make the children comfortable for the next shot. 

On a final note, remember to include yourself in your shots because you are also a part of the family. Use your tripod, a cable release or a camera with a shutter timer. While composing the group position, leave a space for you to fit in before the timer starts counting down. 



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How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect

Photography is a craft that makes use of various ‘rules’, which are actually simply guidelines to help provide a pleasing composition. It can also be an art form, and as ‘art’ is not meant to be controlled and restrained. The following are various photo ‘rules’ which every photographer understand before they are attempted to be broken:

break1 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect1. Always use The Rule of Thirds – this states that the subject should be placed on one third of the frame, either vertically or horizontally, to create a sense of balance and visual appeal. If you were to place the subject smack dab in the center of a rectangular crop, or if you place it at the very edge of the frame, you are breaking this rule and your image stands the chance of being unbalanced or off-putting. Yet, you can break this rule and still have an interesting image. More visual tension occurs and you can take advantage of this in your shot.

2. The scene must be adequately lit – under or overexposure can mess up a shot and turn a good composition into something you want to discard. However, careful use of lighting can make very dark or bright images striking to look at. Also known as low key and high key, these techniques make use of a lot of shadows or highlights in creating an artistic effect.

break2 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect3. Remove noise – apparent image noise or grain in a shot are often fixed as soon as they are discovered. We strive to keep our images clear and fine, with no trace of digital noise that can mar our shot. Yet, we can make use of noise to enhance certain images. When used effectively, digital noise can dramatically add to the mood of the shot and evoke an emotional response. For instance, a grainy image of a row of street lamps at night could benefit from some noise.

4. Keep it simple – uncluttered and clean looking images are usually best in presenting the subject to avoid any unnecessary distractions. Breaking this would mean adding a lot of extra elements that could potentially break the shot. Again, control is the key here when setting up the scene. Although it may look busy at first glance, each element can actually support the main subject and the message the photographer is trying to convey.

break3 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect5. Keep the subject sharp – the general rule is that subjects should remain sharp in the image so they can be easily recognized and appreciated. And yet, images that are completely out of focus can be quite interesting especially if you are trying to invoke a certain mood or design. As long as the out of focus or blur is obviously intentional and positively impact the shot, out of focus images can be a resounding success. However, do not pass off blurry snapshots as being artistic and attractive. Most viewers are discerning and know whether the out of focus is intentional or by accident.

6. Make the subject clearly visible – when taking images, the subject is usually in a prominent place in the frame and is obviously the center of attention. You can also create interesting and provoking photos by placing the subject in a more subtle position, thus creating a need in the viewer to see more of it. For instance, partial portraits are quite popular although you cannot see the entire subject. 


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The iPad and the Photographer

Now that the iPad has a firm foothold in the market, many of you might be seriously interested in getting one. But like all fancy gadgets, it can take time to decide whether it is worth spending around $499. Of course, it all depends on what you will want it for. As an entertainment device, it packs quite a punch. And if you are a photographer, you might find the iPad useful in various ways.

One of its major uses would be as a portfolio. When you are looking to be hired for photo services, potential clients would want to look at samples of your work. It is quite common to show your sample images using a laptop, albums or prints. By using an iPad, you can display your photos in one gorgeous medium. After all, presentation really does count. It is more striking and sleeker than a regular photo album and more intimate than a netbook or a laptop. At 9.7 inches on its widest side and at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, the screen is large enough for viewers to fully appreciate the images. Also, it utilizes in-plane switching (IPS) technology which allows people who are obliquely viewing the screen to still get a clear view. This is perfect for when a crowd of eager people want to see the picture you took of them all at the same time.

Another asset of the iPad is that you can upload images to it right after you take your pictures. With the use of the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you have the option to import image files using a USB cable or straight from an SD card. It supports both JPEG files and RAW formats. Right after uploading, you can even send the images by 3G (you have to sign up for this extra service) or Wi-Fi to a client who might be waiting for them. A drawback is that photo editing is limited with the iPad. It will not be the best tool to do heavy post processing since iPad photo apps do not have the extensive editing features of Photoshop and other similar software.

Although the iPad is a fantastic device, it does have its weaknesses. It does not support Flash so if your online portfolio is flash based, you will not be able to access it. It also has little storage space (64GB max) compared to netbooks or laptops, and it does not have the capacity to multi-task so you can’t receive instant messages while you are previewing your photos or fixing your slideshow. Keep in mind that this is version 1.0 and that over time there will surely be improved and more feature packed versions that might address these issues.

The iPad might not replace a netbook or a laptop in terms of productivity or functionality but if your purpose in having one is to pamper yourself with the latest gadget that will give you tons of fun, and at the same time allow you to have a stunning portable portfolio that can show off your pictures in vivid detail, then this might just be the ideal gift you can give yourself.

 

 

 


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Counting the Dots and Upsizing

The number of pixels in an image determines how far you can enlarge your digital images in print. Each pixel represents a square in an image. The more squares there are, the greater the clarity of an image when enlarged. Usually, the general accepted standard for professional printing is 300 pixels per inch (ppi). For ordinary printing, it’s 200ppi which is more than enough for ordinary use. The difference is seen when the image is enlarged to its maximum size for which a picture can be printed.

dots1 Counting the Dots and Upsizing

How big a pixel can be depends on how far away the print is when viewed. Working out the maximum printable size for the number of pixels for your image is simple. You can use the tools in any manipulation software such as Photoshop and Elements. The image size window will show you the printable size  for the set number of pixels per inch. You can hen change the pixel concentration to make the image bigger or smaller.

There is a confusing question regarding pixels and dots. The resolution of digital images is measured in pixels which is an image file that has no physical dimension. It is only when pixels are displayed or printed where their size is visible.  Pixels per inch help calculate just exactly how big an image can appear for a particular use. Printers and paper are sold based on how many dots per inch (dpi) is their capacity. Printers can also have the option to allow you to choose dpi settings you require.

Dots per inch vary from pixels per inch in a way that dpi rating is a way of describing how small a dot of ink the printer can create on paper. The more dots of ink in a printed image it has, the finer the detail in the final outcome. This is only apparent when you use paper that has the capacity to show it. If you’re using ordinary paper, it would only be a waste of ink to use higher dpi settings.

Economy Normal and Fine– 360dpi is the minimum resolution setting when using normal paper and basic inkjet stock.

Photo – 720dpi and 1444dpi are reserved for good quality photo paper.

Photo – 2880dpi or higher is best use only for fine, glossy media.

dotscomp Counting the Dots and Upsizing

When using basic calculations, an uncropped image shot using a 3 megapixel camera can be printed at just about 10×8 inches at 200ppi. This can have a maximum output of 7×5 ices if you use 300ppi as a standard. You can however still produce larger prints with a 5 megapixel camera by manipulating the image using an editing software. By using the program, you can add more pixels to in image so that it can be further enlarged without showing the tiny squares called pixelation.

This process increase the size of the image file as well so only do this to images that need upsizing and not storing. This process is called Interpolation. By using a software to  make a guess as to how to add new pixels to older ones. Upsizing means that a image produced by a digital camera can be printed out at a far greater range of sizes than the standard norm. There can also be some quality loss, Photoshop has five Interpolation processes you can choose from. Bicubic option is for all around use. Depending on the type of image, each may produce varying results. You can choose the best tool that fits an image for better quality.

The resampling process should be done before the image is sharpened. For large changes in the number of total pixels, it is worth doing the upsizing in stages than all at once.


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Architecture Photography for Editorial Use

Stock agencies will almost always ask you for a release for you images most especially when you are dealing with models and property rights. This, however , doesn’t mean your image cannot be licensed. In most cases, the jeopardy is shouldered by the publisher. But never pretend you have obtained a release when in fact you do not.

archi3 Architecture Photography for Editorial UseIt’s always better to be safe by acquiring a release for your images, but when using them for editorial purposes, it will hardly ever have a need for one. There may be numerous stories claiming to have gone through hell and high waters with this type of problem but it is a rare scenario.

Wide angle lenses are quite pricey and a common thought among photography enthusiasts is if it is possible to photograph buildings without it. It’s always fun discovering different angles that would allow you to capture buildings and other types of structures with a telephoto lens. Distant viewpoints can give out of the ordinary perspective of a well known architectural landmark, this allows you to focus on architectural detail and patterns in a selective way.

archi2 Architecture Photography for Editorial UseBut because buildings are tall and as well as being surrounded by other buildings, the most extreme wide angle lenses are useful for architecture than other subjects and become even more so when shooting indoors where possible viewpoints are a lot more restricted.

One particular drawback in using a wide angle for large structures is that to get the whole building’s image from top to bottom in the whole shot, you have to tilt the camera. This can cause parallel vertical lines to meet in the actual image. This type of result can be unique when it creates noticeable diagonal lines. 

When shooting from a farther distance with a longer lens can help get the whole architectural structure in your shot and you don’t have to tilt your camera as much. Another technique you can use is to look for a high vantage point such as another building from across the street will give you a better view and allow you to keep the camera at a vertical position. Furthermore, you can utilize a perspective control lens which is an expensive accessory for some DSLR cameras. This allows you to shift the camera’s lens up to be able to include the upper portion of a building without having to tilt the camera.

Converging verticals can easily be corrected by using any standard image manipulation software which is essential for every aspiring photographer. By stretching the building from the top archi1 Architecture Photography for Editorial Useportion will align the vertical lines. This will however make you lose some of the picture area. It’s best to study the image and imaging how you can use the software to your advantage to enhance your image while still I the scene and remember to frame the subject loosely to make sure you capture all the important elements for your final image.

The ideal equipment for architectural photography are:

  • A super wide angle zoom that can cover focal lengths effectively in the 15-30mm range. A wide angle or semi fish eye converter may also be used.

  • A standard zoom with a 35-200mm focal length can be very effective. This enables you to shoot from varying distances as well as effectively crop your images to enhance details.

  • A tripod is very important when shooting indoors but is also important for outdoors. A tripod allows you to make full use of the fixed nature of architectural structures as well as image quality ad depth of field.

 


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Using Facebook to Market your Photo Business, Part 1

Now that the internet is deeply imbedded in the world’s conscience, it has opened the floodgates for business opportunities in the global scale. Gone are the major barriers of geography and distance, of language and cultures. The internet has brought people closer together and has kept us connected in wafb1 Using Facebook to Market your Photo Business, Part 1ys we could only imagine not too long ago. Facebook is arguably the current most popular online social networking media in the world. It is not only used to keep in touch with family and friends but also to promote and market various businesses. If you have a photography business, using Facebook’s features can greatly work to your advantage just make sure you always link back to your blog or photo website as part of your promotion.

Have a fan page and keep it updated – self-promotion is a very effective way to get your name and business known to a wide audience and you can do that by having a fan page. You can have your family, friends, clients and people with similar interests as your fans. As others notice your page in their friends’ wall, they will visit and might decide to also be a fan of yours. There are many ways you can make your fan page attractive. A big come-on would be your profile picture. You can have a picture of yourself or your business logo, or even combine the two. The image should represent your skills as a photographer. Keep this page active by posting regularly and updating your fans with what you are up to in terms of your photo business. You can post links to your blog or your website, show your latest photos, invite people to attend certain events, and the like. However, don’t post too often (such as several times a day) because too many messages can irritate your fans who might consider removing themselves off your fan list.

Fill up the info section – Facebook has an information page where you can include pertinent details about your photo business. Your potential and current clients will be sure to stop by this info tab to find out more about you, such as your website address, your blog site, your online portfolio site with www.PhotoStockPlus.com, and if you have other networking or photo sites such as Twitter or Flickr. The info page is what you would normally see when you use search engines so try to keep the details informative and concise. However, also try to keep the tone light and fun to attract prospective clients.

Use photo albums to show your sample work – it is only natural that you show off your photos in the photo album section. This is where everyone can see samples of your work, so upload and maintain a small portfolio bu talways link back to your main online gallery. Albums can be categorized so make use of this feature to keep your photos in order. Some people assume that online images are free to be used without permission and might copy your work for their own needs without your permission and knowledge. To lessen the chances that your images can be used, never upload the full resolution of your photographs. Resize the image to make it smaller but still good when viewed, such as a pixel size of 800 or less on the wider side. Also, use the ‘save for web’ option when saving your photo after post processing.

Having photos in Facebook means that you can receive comments from fans and others who are visiting your account. These comments can greatly boost your popularity and also be a venue for receiving feedback. Having a healthy interaction between you and your fans or other commentators is a fantastic way to personalize your business. They can ask you questions which you can readily answer and it is this immediate connection between people, no matter where they are, that makes Facebook the perfect avenue for promoting your photo business.


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How to Minimize Digital Image Noise

Even though camera technology has advanced tremendously over the past decade, it still has not totally eradicated the presence of image noise. This usually appear as little dots or speckles over an image area that should be clear and smooth. For example, graininess might be evident in dark areas or tiny dots of pink and purple might show up across a clear sky.

noise How to Minimize Digital Image Noise

Noise can appear in your photo for different reasons. One would be when you use high ISO settings on your camera. Noise signal increases with the light signal when high ISO is used, therefore your camera will capture more light to illuminate the scene, but graininess will also be more apparent. Another cause of image noise is heat. When an image sensor heats up, photons separate from the photosites and taint other photosites. Long exposures also give your image greater risk of showing image noise, since the sensor is left open to gather more image data and this includes electrical noise.

What can we do to combat image noise? One of the most commonly used methods is to use Photoshop or another photo editing program where we can remove noise and other imperfections in post-processing. However, we can lessen the possibility of noise in-camera as well, and as they say ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!’

Try to shoot in the lowest possible ISO without compromising loss of adequate light. This will reduce the possibility of the appearance of image noise. Camera companies have acknowledged the issue and most of the recent camera models can accommodate high ISO settings, as high as 6400, without very obvious image noise. This is a far cry from cameras which captured unsightly image noise at ISO 800, and this was only a few years ago.

Protect your camera sensor from high heat. As mentioned earlier, heat can create havoc with photons and the sensor’s photosites. As the sensor works longer, such as with long exposures, constantly using live view, or during burst mode, it heats up and your shots will most likely include those tiny speckles you so want to avoid. Leaving the camera in the car on a hot day or under the sun will also cause the sensor to heat up and capture image noise.

If you have dark images and want to lighten them in post-processing, you might notice that doing so will increase the appearance of image noise, especially in the shadowy areas. To avoid this, try to shoot to the right side of your exposure meter instead to slightly overexpose the shot. You can darken certain over-exposed areas in the image in post-processing rather than lighten the shadowy areas. Fixing a shot in this manner will give you a clearer, noise-free image.

It may not be long until image noise will turn out a thing of the past. But until then, practice these in-camera tips to prevent, or at least reduce, image noise dotting and speckling your otherwise perfect shot.


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Quick and Easy Methods to Maximize Your Camera Battery Power

Have you ever experienced running low on battery life, or worse, the battery dying on you while you’re in the midst of capturing that elusive picture perfect moment? How about going on an outing and having the battery drain out and the day is not even half gone?  Having your camera battery die on you at the most inconvenient time can be very frustrating, to say the least. One solution for this not to happen to you is to bring spare batteries. Yet, you can also make your current batteries last longer by following some conserving habits:

battery1 Quick and Easy Methods to Maximize Your Camera Battery PowerUse the viewfinder when composing, not the Live View – yes, Live View can be very convenient since it shows you what the lens sees, and allows you to compose the shot right before you click the shutter button. However, it eats up a whole lot of battery power and whenever possible, use the viewfinder instead. To avoid parallax error when using the viewfinder (where what you see in the viewfinder is not exactly what the lens sees) allow more of the area to be included so there is little chance of anything essential being inadvertently cut out of the frame.

Don’t review every single shot using the camera – wait until you get home and have uploaded your shots to the hard drive before you review and admire or delete your shots. A lot of battery life is eaten up whenever you access the memory card and the LCD, and unless you absolutely need to look at the shot you took or you need to delete some shots to add more space, be a little more patient and review your shots in your computer instead.

Avoid using the zoom feature – zooming in and out while composing the scene is another power guzzling factor. Make your camera mechanisms work as little as possible by refraining from constantly zooming.

In between shots, keep camera on standby – turning it off completely then on again every few minutes is one sure way your battery will quickly drain. It takes more power to shut down then restart the camera compared to simply leaving it on standby mode, especially if your next shot will just be within the next minute.

Avoid built-in flash – in low-light situations, instead of using the camera’s built-in flash, look for ambient or available light sources and use those instead. The flash takes a lot of battery power when used and the resulting image might not look that attractive with the flash anyway, since it has the tendency to make one appear like deer caught in the headlights of a car.

Avoid half-pressing the shutter button if you won’t be taking a picture – like the zoom, this is another habit that will reduce battery life quicker than usual. Try to make early preparations by composing the shot in your mind and deciding on the camera angle, distance from the subject and so on before half-pressing the shutter button.


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5 More Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light Trails

Images of car light trails are often captured by photographers because they can make for stunning shots. Since this subject matter often entails going out at night or twilight, plus using long exposures, there are quite a few things to consider. We previously listed four important things to remember when shooting car light trails, and here are five more to keep in mind:

light trails41 5 More Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsPerspective – light trails by themselves are already interesting but add a creative perspective and your image can go even further. Aside from taking the shot at the often used eye-level angle, play around a bit by shooting low or taking a shot from top view instead. See if you can take the shot from an elevated viewpoint such as from the second or third storey of a building by the side of a road, or from an overpass. If you are situated on the side of a straight road and face the road straight on, the light trails will appear as moving from side to side. It might look flat and two dimensional, although it does not mean the image will turn out bad. By angling the camera so that the road has a vanishing point, the light trails created will also appear to have more perspective.

light trails2 jusben 5 More Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsFraming – the basic composition rules still apply when shooting light trails. The Rule of Thirds, balance, leading lines, and the light can all help make the shot more visually appealing. Take note of your foreground and background and see to it that they add, rather than take away attention from the point of interest. The horizontal or landscape format is often used but if you were to rotate your camera and shoot using the vertical or portrait format instead, your image might achieve a more dynamic impression.

Exposure settings – knowing the right exposure settings will be a result of trial and error. Luckily, we don’t have to worry much about taking a whole lot of test shots with a digital camera as compared to film. By reviewing your shots in the LCD, you can already gauge how to adjust a particular setting. Let’s discuss the three settings in more detail:

Shutter speed – a slow shutter speed will allow you to capture the movement of light. Try starting with shutter speeds between 10-20 seconds to give the cars enough time to travel through the frame. 

light trails3 5 More Things to Remember When Shooting Car Light TrailsAperture – remember that aperture affects depth of field so if you want most of the scene to be in focus, choose an f/number that corresponds with a smaller lens opening such as f/8. Keep in mind that the smaller the opening, the less light enters the sensor and you might need to leave your shutter open a little longer.

ISO – grain or noise is usually most visible in low light scenarios and if you can, try to keep the ISO to a low value such as 100. At ISO 400 or more, there is a bigger chance of obvious grain. 

Use Bulb mode – some cameras have a Bulb mode that allows the shutter to stay open for as long as you want. This is especially handy when shooting light trails. It is ideal to use a remote shutter release when using this mode to avoid camera shake while the shutter is open.

Manual focus – during low light situations, it could be a challenge to get your focus locked in on the point of interest if you are using autofocus.  Switch to manual focus instead to make sure you get the clarity you intend. 


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