I think there is a spectrum of what a true professional is vs. a fauxtog. Personally I feel I fall in between. I have a goal to make a living someday as a photographer, but for right now, it’s what I do on the side of my job, and yes I charge accordingly. I don’t charge as much as some around me who have more experience/better equipment, but I WILL charge more later on. I won’t sink low to give cheap work for cheap prices. I have told myself I will never stop taking suggestions or learning. I took a few photography courses when I was in college and thought I was ‘good” then, now I see I was not. But it was a learning process. I never charged anyone for photos then. (Well, except some family photos for a friend, didn’t charge much, but they were horrible… but they knew I was a beginner). I also worked as the editor and assistant to a very good local photographer for almost a year until her family moved away. She was very picky and got me to see how important properly editing photos, color correcting, exposure correcting, etc. was. Her plan was to get me out shooting with her more but then her husband got a job out of state and I didn’t get the chance. However, she was my mentor since then with shooting, as is my best friend who is also a freelance photographer in a different town. (She works also for a pro but is allowed to do her own stuff as well). The first wedding I did, you could maybe consider me a faux. But it was a girl I work with, and I charged them dirt cheap for it being my first, and she knew that. I’ve done two weddings since then (one as the 2nd shooter being contracted out, one on my own) and I think both turned out amazing. I know I’m not the best, and not all my images are perfect, and I have technical errors here and there, but I always try to be very conscious of these things and know I’ve been improving all the time. It’s so foolish to believe you can fix a bad photo with Photoshop. You can take an ok photo and make it look a little better, but nothing beats a photo done right the first time and just enhanced a little.
I briefly checked out those pages and the first two they don’t quite have their exposure right and don’t seem to color correct in post-processing, but the images aren’t horrible. I wouldn’t call them a faux, I’d consider them to be good but not great. The third one was kind of all over. Some of her images look good, while many look over-edited or too contrasty. When I edit I try to be pretty consistent. I’ll throw in some black and whites for images that work in black and white, and then some different-style edits in addition to a clean edit. Nobody wants everything edited for a vintage look.
I also wouldn’t say someone isn’t professional if they aren’t a member of the PPA or have business insurance. Yes, those are good things, and someday I will be at this point, but it’s a process. I can’t afford some of this stuff yet. I don’t charge as much as some of the super-pro studios do. I’m working on saving up for a full-frame camera and another lens. Occasionally my equipment I feel is hindering an image from being perfect. I’ve used top-notch equipment a few times and it takes it that extra level. I call myself semi-professional.
A fauxtographer is not someone like any of these links posted by the original poster. Those are photographers that are good and have potential but aren’t quite there yet. I’m sure some of my images fall into that category, especially some of my work from a year ago. For laughs, here are a few fauxtogs in my town that people surprisingly pay for, and if you’d ask them about lenses, RAW, f-stops, shutter speed, white balance, exposure, or Photoshop actions, they’d probably give a blank stare and reply “Um, I just like taking pictures. I have a nice camera.”:
Here is my Flickr page. I’d appreciate any constructive criticism : http://www.flickr.com/photos/roxanne_elise_photography/