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#4383

How long you’ve been doing it is merely something that helps inform me how best to advise you in proceeding. The question of which you charge is paramount. If you are not marketing your services you cannot be a fauxtog because the definition of a fauxtog includes charging for sub-standard work.

If you were going for a certain look in your first shot, it does not enhance the shot in any way, so I would say that it probably not an experiment you want to put into your portfolio, it looks very much like a mistake.

Your biggest weakness is probably lighting, sometimes it is decent, sometimes it is very awful. Remember that available light does not mean ignore the lighting and hope for the best. When you shoot in the real world (as opposed to a studio) you need to work with the lighting almost as though it is another model in the scene. Working with available light is very limiting, but can produce amazing work with a little extra effort.  It will make you explore options you wouldn’t if you had control over the light. Art through adversity applies here. This is the stumbling block that would make me classify you as a fauxtog. Your composition, posing, use of cliche’s and lack of finesse in processing are all things you should be working on and I would advise working on them some more before going pro, but they aren’t really breaking the shots for the most part. Exposure and contrast issues will be largely corrected by learning a little more about the lighting as well.

Just because I don’t think you’re there yet, doesn’t mean I don’t think you can get there. You’ve been at it long enough that I know you enjoy what you do and your work is fairly consistent, so I know you’re thinking. I suspect most of your problems are probably resultant from either not realizing your weaknesses or just not knowing where to go to get the information you need to continue. Trying to maintain a business while still having the freedom to shoot what you need to learn and grow is almost impossible, and if done, slows your growth tremendously. If you step back, shoot only for yourself with the goal of improving your lighting with the help of an experienced mentor, you could easily be up to pro level within a year.

I recommend you sit down with every shoot and throw away 90% of your shots. I know this is tedious, but write down why you threw away what you trashed and why you kept what you did. Doing so will help you identify what works and what doesn’t so you can do the things that work on purpose and better avoid the pitfalls.

I see a ton of potential in your work, so get out there and harness it.