Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Please be kind!! Reply To: Please be kind!!

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Megan,

I just looked through the photos on your facebook page. I will repeat what I have written x times before: Facebook is one of the worst online photo presentation tools, but that’s what we have. There may be more stuff we could “like” but Facebook’s algorithm wipes it out.

But MBC is great at reading facebook portfolios from an experienced and educated photography background, so I would advise you take seriously any of his tips.

I like that there is nothing blatantly wrong in your photos (i.e. stuff that makes the YANAP front page). But professionals go way beyond that; even beyond “okay.” Which is the main point for most of us: the web is filled with “okay.”

But as I look through your facebook portfolio — and this is in general — there are things that immediately catch my eye (a 35 year photo veteran). I see an entire portfolio polluted with trendy lightroom/photoshop actions. I know it is intentional. I know your clients might like it (i.e. it sells!) And that, my dear, is the “problem.” It is the difference between shopping at Wal-mart and Barney’s New York. Cookie-cutter, trendy stuff; photo cliche. I would encourage you to step out of that habit. Step into original images with no editing (aside from possibly a crop.) I think the fact that we cannot pinpoint a particularly bad shot is a great indicator.

Another consistent thing I noticed was tilted background. I was nearly seasick. To the right, to the left, to the right. It hardly stopped, making it difficult to determine if you could do backgrounds professionally. Here’s some vocab from the old days of photography: Rule of Thirds and Horizontal Lines. Buy a book or two on those specific subjects. (The fact that there are entire books about lines in photography should tell you something.) Perfectly horizontal lines create a sense of calmness. Tilts, crooked, uneven lines leave the viewer unsettled. You might be surprised just how fun it is to learn this part of composition and how wrong many  “fauxtogs” are. Specifically, go to October 17. There is the photo of the 2 girls and dog; then two kids. The one of the two girls: the horizon line is unsettling here — just barely off. Annoyingly off AND it runs right through their heads — which could be a good thing but in this case is not, because it is tilted. The lines on the photos with the two kids are extremely dominant and kept my eye from even looking at the kids.

Now there are OBVIOUS lines, real lines in photos and there are imaginary lines — perceived lines that don’t really exist physically. I strongly suggest every photographer study Gestalt. That alone would give you a whole new perspective on your work. I think subconsciously you ARE using lines, but possibly using them incorrectly or just not knowing how to use them. The one of the boy at the lake on October 15 is just plain wrong. Water horizons are not naturally tilted and so the viewer is left unsettled.

But there is so much potential. You need to force yourself over the learning curve and step into more advanced methods. Practice using lines, dominance, white space, repetition of patterns/shapes. Don’t practice any more lightroom/photoshop tricks.