September 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm #3732
I am going to be redoing my web site very soon. The photos in my portfolio are somewhat older. The gallery is my Zenfolio site that has all my recent stuff on it (mostly the sports section).
I shot film with a Minolta SRT102 after starting out with one of those Kodak Disc cameras (anyone remember those?). My dad passed away when I was 19, so I inherited his Minolta. Not wanting it to go to waste, I started buying film and lots of books. I was below average for a very long time. The meter in it ran off a mercury battery that had long died, so I didn’t even have a meter. Eventually, I found a way to fix that and things got a little better (but not much).
When the Nikon D50 first came out, that’s when I switched to digital. Being an IT guy full time, it was more in my comfort zone. I would always get chemicals and the ratios wrong, so working with Photoshop was a little easier on me. I also seemed to grow a lot more because of the instant feedback. I would try to take notes when I shot film, but I could never be sure my notes lined up with photo I was looking at.
Anyway, I upgraded the D50 to a D7000 last year. I had a really nice electric guitar that was collecting dust because I couldn’t seem to get passed only the basic chords. So I sold that to pay for the D7000. Still using kit glass because I am pretty poor at the moment. I have a young family and a wife that stays at home with the kids, so I don’t have the available cash to get the good stuff yet.
I am not charging session fees for anything. The prices on the zenfolio site are only there because people want to occasionally buy landscape prints. When I started shooting sports photos, I added a price list for those because the players were wanting to buy prints of the games, so I put a lower price on those for them. I’ve made enough to cover gas to the games, and that’s about it.
This year I was asked to do senior photos for a couple of the players. I was considering charging, but didn’t, for 2 reasons.. 1. I don’t feel my quality is enough to charge the going rate for a professional photographer. 2. The one players mom had cancer (And beat it) a couple of times, so I felt I had to help them out because they are financially strapped right now too.
After doing photos for him, I’ve decided that’s what I want to do. I do NOT want to do weddings. That is NOT for me, at all, in the slightest. I will second shoot if they want me to, but I will NOT do weddings as a primary photographer. I am keeping my day job, because it would be silly to stop doing that. I know I have talent, but lack some of the technical skills (and equipment). So my goal right now (and why I’m posting here), is to get comments and critiques, learn the ropes of the business aspects, find out what I need to do, and get my name out there (which is why I do a TON of sports/events for free right now). The more photos I take, the more practice I get, and if I don’t charge, I can safely screw it up. 🙂
So who wants to rip me up first? lol
Here’s my facebook page that ended up being a dumping ground for the sports stuff: http://www.facebook.com/PhotographyByAaron
I found that facebook works really well to drive traffic to your web site…September 6, 2012 at 6:58 am #3735stefModerator
This is absolutely not the place to learn the business aspects. It might be the place to get honest criticism, but that remains to be seen as the site develops.
I looked only at your website, not facebook.
Regarding your “people” section, tilting the camera does not make anything more interesting. It makes things more annoying. There are times to tilt an image. None of yours were those times. The kids looked pretty good, although the light was a little too hard for that kind of portrait, and they’re probably a little overexposed. The b/w shot had good tonality and could’ve been good, but was ruined by the composition. Besides being tilty, there’s also a pole coming out of his head. All website sections are titled “Test Album Page”, and it looks somewhat haphazard.
“Transportation” contains nothing interesting or very creative. It might be fine for a webzine saying “we were there”, but nothing in that section took any creativity of yours to make. So for editorial work and tearsheets, great… otherwise, not portfolio material.
The long exposure night shot you did of the bridge with your 7-leaf lens cranked down is cute. I’m glad you didn’t tilt it. Your Places is better than your other stuff, but you overprocessed it. For the most part, you added too much local contrast, causing a bad HDR look from non-HDR images. All the disadvantages, without any of the advantages. Again, I liked the tonality of the b/w and the composition was decent. I also like that you saw that image and captured it. That shows you’re looking for the shots. You don’t need 3 shots of lightning in a portfolio, unless you’re looking for a job as a tornado chaser or something. Plus, while they’re great shots of lightning, they are bad shots. Poor cropping, composition, strange color, stuff in foreground, etc.
Overall a few of your people shots were good, but need improvement. A few of your Places shots were acceptable, but only the b/w and the bridge stood out as good images. The rest was not professional quality for many varying reasons above.
You have an honest assessment of your skill and what you need to look at and what you need to study. Before you worry about business, worry about photography… THEN worry about business twice as much. You don’t need this website to tell you anything.
If you ask me tomorrow, I might disagree with myself since I liked some of your stuff, but my verdict is: You are a fauxtographer. But you kind of knew that.September 6, 2012 at 8:40 am #3737IHFMember
I took a look at your fb sports shots dumping ground since the pp covered the website. While I think you are doing alright documenting the games ( I don’t know much about this genre of photog though so you might what to ask togs in the same genre) what’s up with processing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen sports photography processed in an attempt to look vintage ever before. Why are some desaturated, while others the sat is brought up too high, then some more, have some other effect of some sort thrown onto it? Sports photography is usually SOC or edited very little. Even when heavily edited, its edited in such a way that no one can tell. People want to see true events, in true color. Football players are usually pretty proud of their school/team colors as well. Correct me if im wrong everybody, but Isn’t sports photography about documenting an event, and not the artist’s interpretation of life?
Yeah, I’m going to have to say you’re a fauxtog currently. Get some help/inspiration from within your own genre and away from YANAP, and I think your photography can and will improve a lot, until then don’t worry about business end of things.September 6, 2012 at 8:54 am #3738IHFMember
Ok, I wasn’t completely honest… It’s not just that I dont know a lot about thegenre. There’s just so many to go through, too many. Do yourself a favor and pick a few of your best shots, and put them n a separate album before you ask to be critiqued again. I think then you might get more feed back about your images, and how to improve themSeptember 6, 2012 at 9:42 am #3739
Stef – Thank you for the feedback. I need to be much more selective about what I put in the portfolio because I don’t believe those are my best work. I need to go through my collection and put more recent shots up there and definitely remove the bad ones.
I hate Fauxtography – For the processing on the sports photos, there are 2 things with that.. 1. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing when I started, so I started messing around with them. In the earlier shots I was taking, some had slight motion blur, some had horrible backgrounds, and some were just plain bad, so it ended up being an attempt at “salvaging” some of them, instead of just deleting them. 2. The players really liked it after they saw it, so I didn’t stop… It might be time for me to stop doing that. Now that I can nail the action shots and don’t even keep the horrible ones, I don’t really need to do the post processing on them.
I will update my portfolio page on the web site with more current and better stuff. But I think I will wait a while longer before asking for another critique here. You two have given me the inspiration I was looking for.September 6, 2012 at 9:54 am #3740
And I reread what I wrote to Stef and I don’t want it to sound like I am dismissing her feedback because I didn’t have an updated portfolio. I’m not – she is right and my current work, while it’s no longer tilty, still exhibits some of the same problems.October 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm #4118lovethissiteMember
Really nice sports work
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