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Anna – I had been sympathetic to your perspectives and to the idea that these bad fauxtogs are not harming the business of actual professional photographers.
Yes, we all have to start somewhere. The difference with, say, Ashley is that she has already been shooting for a few years but is still totally inept (there is no excuse for red eye, completely out of focus shots – including out of focus still objects – no understanding of cropping, dreadful and amateurish post processing, terrible lighting, awful facial expressions and so on) and is clearly not interested in learning or growing as a photographer.
On the other point, after commenting on Ashley’s FB page I received a message from someone who is a professional photographer in the same small town as Ashley. I imagine that a small town can only sustain a small number of professional photographers. The other woman does really good work and having someone like Ashley around sucks away at her business. It also likely reduces total business in the town as no-one looking at Ashley’s photos would ever think “that’s great – I might get a professional photographer to do some shots of my family too”. So, this is a definite example of where a fauxtog is actually harming a real tog.