Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Comment/Critique?

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    Okay, its time to bite the bullet and ask… “am I a fauxtog?” I’ve come *here* to ask, simply because (in addition to loving the blog) I know you can be both brutally honest and constructive with posters, unlike family who will just fawn… and I WANT to improve  😉

    I have the bare-bones beginnings of a portfolio here: https://emily-hoefman.squarespace.com/

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do/don’t like, things to work on, etc! Basically, have at it! Thanks in advance!


    Well, poo. Already a fail on my part. Flickr to the rescue. http://www.flickr.com/photos/101296646@N06/


    OK.  First thing, it is a Square Space trial, so there are a couple of steps a visitor has to go through to get to the page.    My first thought was that I would have to register with them or that I could not see it.  I suppose those steps will be removed if you stay with them…

    Do you shoot in raw mode?  The opening spread has a couple of jockeys in the left photo.  Their faces are quite dark.  Easily lightened if you shoot raw files, still possible if you only have JPEGs.

    Two horses looking at camera, over a fence – hairs on chin of the one on left stand out pretty well but both horses look soft.  Shadows could have more detail.

    Several riders photo looks soft.

    Horse with green bandages on hind legs – you cut the jockey’s head in half!

    Panning needs practice, it’s not bad but could be better.

    LOL!  Horse’s asses and jockey’s asses!  How did that make the cut?

    Last (far right) photo – how did the horse manage to get a brochure?



    Flickr is easier to navigate, the file names are present and some of the photos look better on Flickr, too.


    Many are still a bit soft.  Not sure what to think of the B & W horse parts.  I like the benches best!  Many seem to not have enough DOF or focus is in the wrong place, perhaps.


    Cameraclicker – JUST what I was looking for!! Thank you!

    You know, I seem to not even consider the rider in far too many instances, hence cutting off of heads and leaving faces almost black. 😉 Having been a rider at the track, I should have taken note that it’s nice to see yourself in the image too, and not just the horse. Heh!

    When it comes to softness in the photos… I’m having a really tough time in less than ideal lighting with my long lens (ancient 70-200 4-5.6)… i.e. anything other than full-on-sun. On my T3 body, any ISO above 400  to keep a higher shutter speed seems to bring on pretty bad noise and sharpness issues (obv), and if I drop the ISO to counterract that, I lose a lot of speed and bring in the motion blur >:( . When it comes to a quick-moving subject in shadow/cloud, do you have any suggestion for me to balance it out a bit better? Because I’m obviously not there.


    I think overall they are pretty good. It’s hard to take good horse pics because you have to get the timing just right on the shutter. If you are having trouble shooting above 400 ISO with your body you will definitely need to find a newer one or deal with more noise though, KWIM?

    I’ve noticed a lot of people take horse pictures with too short of focal lengths but you don’t so all the horses actually have butts in proportion to your heads. I’m not a huge fan of suspension shots in the canter/ gallop, I like the look of the 2nd beat more right before the inside front hits the ground and the first beat isn’t really as good a way to show the horse when they start to reach under themselves just because it sort of makes their butts look funny.

    The photo that I notice the softness in the most is the one where you have the gray landing after the white/ green vertical. There is also the jockey with his skull hat cut off and the others that CC mentioned.

    The photo with the baby bothers me the most because it scares the begessies out of me just because it isn’t a safe thing to do at all and although I do see it time and time again from other horsie friends you should never risk the safety of a child for this photo IMO. The only way you could do this photo safely is as a composite. I don’t care how bombproof a horse is, horses are unpredictable by nature and their forward eyesight is poor and they have trouble seeing little kids. Once the horse picks his head up even just a little higher he won’t be able to see that baby there at all, KWIM? (It also looks like there are horse apples next to the kid but that bugs me less than the safety aspect).


    Are you planning on catering just toward jumpers/ race track crowds or dressage as well? Dressage riders will want to see trot and lateral work as well 🙂


    ETA: Cameraclicker’s comment about shooting raw will help a lot with noise/ blur. If you do get stuck shooting a step or two underexposed to stop the motion you will be able to fix it a lot easier in raw than in jpeg with less noise.


    I’ve nothing much to say with regards to a critique as I quite like most of them (apart from the chopped head on the rider, mentioned above). This one though   http://society6.com/EmilyHoefman/Graze-0Bd_Print   had me staring for a good minute. It could so easily have been a kid aiming the camera incorrectly but I found it interesting trying to figure out exactly what was there, which end was which etc. Although I know it’s a horse, my immediate thoughts were “boulders”, “landscape”, “distorted mountain”  and things along those lines.  Overall I’m thinking you’re doing a pretty good job.


    EDIT – http://society6.com/EmilyHoefman/Rollback_Print   I like this idea too, I can’t help thinking I’d prefer all 4 legs in the shot though.

    EDIT 2 – http://society6.com/EmilyHoefman/After-The-Races_Print   I actually want this on my office wall!


    Cassie – I really should leave a disclaimer in the photo description with the chestnut and child – my sister was actually standing crouched, holding him by the waist while I took the picture, so should he have moved a muscle, the little one would have been out of the way, and I removed her when editing. (I trust the old man with my life – but not my son’s! ha!) Looking at the picture after the fact (it’s about a year old), I can tell I was a bit sloppy with removing her hands around his waist (shirt details), and there’s still a bit of her shoe stuck in there. Oops! 😉  … as far as disciplines go, racing and h/j are probably the biggest things around here, though with the horse park right next door, I’d love to get out to shoot some of the higher level dressage – I could use the timing practice, for sure. Really, I’m smack in the middle of all things equestrian, so getting out to events of all types would be a great benefit.

    Thomas – that’s actually why that picture (Graze) didn’t get deleted straight off… I thought there was something interesting about it, being so weirdly abstract. LOL … and as for wanting “After The Races” on your wall – by all means – be my guest! 😉 I’m glad you like it!

    Thank you all again! Your comments are wonderfully helpful.


    All of these were shot raw, none with your exact camera and lens but it will let you see what other gear can do.  I left EXIF data on them and added brief notes in the comments, if you click on the thumbs here they will take you to Flickr.

    First a horse and rider shot back lit:


    A couple of horses going around the arena, just on the other side from the one above, similar light, mostly behind and above them.


    Out in the middle a bit more, more light overhead.


    The camera can make darkness look pretty bright, even with all those lights on the ceiling, it is dark to the eye.


    Different arena in the same complex, all artificial light here.


    And, this isn’t even an arena, they just put some fences up and sawdust on the floor in the convention centre


    This dog is more challenging, he accelerates much faster than a horse and can go as fast.


    OK, finally something taken with gear comparable to your T3, except the T2i has the 18 mpx sensor so your T3 should have a slight edge at higher ISO and this was taken at ISO 800


    And another bird.  These guys are very fast and only going across a swimming pool so they are just in the air a few seconds.


    As I said before, shoot raw.  Raw files have easily 80% more information in them than the JPEGs, if you need to fix white balance or darken highlights/ brighten shadows, you have way more latitude to do it.

    Some bodies have 3 focus modes, some only have 2.  You only really need 2.  One shot mode is great for focus and recompose but is not super for fast subjects.  If your subject is moving you are better off setting Servo mode and turning on all the focus points because it will track what is under the focus points.  Most of the time I only use one focus point, even with the 5D Mk III where all the focus points are pretty impressive.  The centre point on the Rebel is much better than the rest so it does all the work unless I need the rest to track something that goes fast, and bobs and weaves.

    Most of the time I shoot in Aperture Priority mode (Av) because it lets me control DOF and not have to worry too much about shutter speed.  With the bigger bodies, in Manual mode you control shutter and aperture with separate dials.  With a Rebel, you use the same dial and press a button on the back.  That is slower.

    I usually only use a couple of metering modes, mostly I think it’s called Centre Weighted Average, the open rectangle.  When I need finer control I use spot metering.  The Rebel has one spot meter, some of the bigger bodies have a coarse spot and a fine spot.

    Usually I have drive set to multiple shots.  Slow multiple of bodies that offer fast and slow, the Rebel only offers one speed.



    Cameraclicker – the visuals and exif are *incredibly* helpful. I see what you mean about being able to preserve detail in the darker areas without completely blowing the available highlights with the raw files… I’m going out to the yearling sales at Keeneland this week, and I’ll be implementing all of this, since so much of it is indoors (where I’ll have the advantage of my faster 40mm 2.8, which fits well with your comparison shots). I’ve certainly used jpeg as a bit of a crutch for the quicker burst shooting, but it’s harmed my timing and probably killed some otherwise useable shots in the process.

    Thank you!!!!!


    I just took a very quick look and I will look at it more in detail later, but I have to say that at first glance I’m not really impressed but at the same time I’m incredibly happy that I don’t have to look at yet another botched wedding or senior portrait. I’ll be back…


    I will say that I’m impressed! I love love love the colors (I’m a sucker for those pastels) in the first shots.
    In a message above mine they were saying how the horses withers looked like a distorted mountain. I guess that is what nonhorsey people think (as I immediately knew it was a the neck) but I have to take into account that their will also be people who don’t even know what a horse is looking at your portfolio. The only thing I found that I did not like at all was the baby picture. The first thing I noticed about that picture was the manure and I KNOW that is not what you were aiming for your audience to see.

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