Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Can you tell me where I can improve? Please, take it easy on me. :/ Reply To: Can you tell me where I can improve? Please, take it easy on me. :/



Generally, in the professional world, one photo would be submitted for critique. And judges would have specific parameters for basing their opinions. Unfortunately, the YANAP forum critiques are wide open — people will critique anything from posing to lighting, to framing, etc. So it is difficult to give a fair critique not knowing so many of the particulars about this work.

However, I would label this set of 5 photos as an “Informal portrait session.” Plus, we are working through Facebook which may also remove detail from your work. Keep in mind: this is all limited to the 5 shots.

First of all, let me say you are not fodder for the YANAP front page. I see nothing  horrid or totally wrong and nothing to make me slam my head on the desk. This is good…because there are many things MWACs, Momtogs and Fauxtogs do that are possibly ‘trendy’ or even requested by subjects but that pros don’t/shouldn’t do.  That sun-washed look? Ugh. Tilted background — just don’t. Precarious pose for newborn — nope. Oversized catchlights…groan. Glaringly large copyright…bang head on desk. I’m glad that I didn’t see any of this.

What I do see that you need to work on (and I lean WAY more toward composition than technical) is lighting. (Here is one of those not-given parameters: were you unable to move your subjects into a different area where shadows were not so distinct?) Truly experienced photographers can and do work around available sunlight and learn to manipulate it. In the first black and white photo, you must have thought about this because you moved them back behind the shadow line. Unfortunately, it did not stop the shadows from distracting the viewer. In the second photo, the girl in the dark stripe makes her especially dominant. The photo where the child is in the air — shadows wrongly cover his face.

You can use tools to work around shadows: filters, reflectors, etc. And you can manipulate them by changing the time of the shot and/or waiting until a cloud floats in front of the sun or just plain waiting until a cloudy day. The shadows are a problem because they take away from the focus on the subjects. They add unwanted dominance and lines to your composition. Shadows will ALWAYS be important because they are part of the light you use to make the image.
All that said about shadows — let me move on to your whole photo composition. I am staying away from using the word background because I am referring to the entire shot. THE first thing I see in the first photo is that there is a man with a wire shooting from his head. Try following the natural progression of your eye as it lands on the photo.

1. it follows the brick lines left, into the subject 2. then up his collar to his head and ends 3. being led off the image by the dark line extending upward. My natural eye line never even made it to the girl. But, my subconscious sent me back to the girl where her hairline lead me back to the bricks, along the side of the building and across the street to the white structure.

Now you see…this is only some information to help you think; to help you see lines in a creative way; to get you to open your eyes to new ways of composing your shots. Because I truly believe you could have used those same shadows and lines to lead us INTO your subjects. Some might say the line stemming from the subject’s head actually leads us into the subject — and that may be but it is an unnatural placement of the wire & therefore a distracting element.

In the shot in front of the brick wall, unfortunately my eye lands on two spots before it even gets to the subjects. The most dominant point is the gray area in the center then the wooden square.

But skip to the photo of the child being tossed in the air and IMMEDIATELY my eyes land on the subject. Why? Can you explain what lines in the photo lead me directly to the child?

This is but one element of a huge area in which you could begin to grow. I recommend you read anything by Dr. Richard Zakia to really get your photographic mind reeling and your creative vision flowing. Best of luck.