Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Did my bestie use a fauxtog?

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    My friend recently had family portraits made, and found photographer new to the area, who was trying to build up her business.

    She shared these new photos, and I’m not sure how she feels about them, but I’m not completely sold.  These days, since the market is so full of fauxtogs, people like me can’t tell where or what the good stuff is anymore.

    Also, she made my friend look like she  has demon eyes somehow. I mean, it isn’t overly edited, but those are NOT how her eyes look.


    Not going to tell you which ones are her pics, but she does have little girls and the color scheme was peach. 😉



    No definitely not. Some of her images are lacking but others are nice. she just needs to learn how to edit properly


    I’m afraid you are right, she did hire a fauxtog.

    It’s like trying to read mud out there isnt it?

    Without giving you a photography 101 course, and making you learn things that you have no interest in, here’s a few questions you can ask a photog you are considering to hire, and a few things to look out for

    Are you licensed and insured?

    Now this won’t guarantee that you will get good images, but it will weed out fauxs that don’t care enough about their work, or their business to protect themselves.

    Ask if they belong to a photography association of some sort, like the PPA (usually this info is already provided on their website or marketing material).  This means they have resources for both insurance, continuing education, and take pride in their work and their peers.

    Ask how long they have been in business.

    Now this is not to say that new to the biz togs cant be legit and/or very talented, but if a tog has been in business for 5+ years they have made it through a good small business hump, that fauxs are completely unable to get through.

    Ask them how they back up/store your images

    A real tog will have multiple ways of backing up to insure your images are never lost.  Also ome togs only store your images for a certain period of time and it’s good to know how long.

    A real tog will also have pro quality vendors.  So if they only offer a cd of images, or use a printing service that anyone can use (Mpix, walmart, cafe press, shutterfly etc) steer clear.  A real photographer takes pride in their finished product and will only use a pro quality lab to finish your prints.

    Do they have a website that isnt free to you and me, and  Tom Dick and Harry?  A legitimate photographer will have a real website designed for them.


    (okay, confession time-  My bestie is really me, haha.  I guess I either didn’t wanna seem like an idiot for hiring one or something. But yes, it was me.)

    I had a sneaking suspicion.  When I did my research, I had found a legitimate photog I thought was this lady, until meeting her and quickly realizing the one I found who lived states away and the one who moved here were NOT the same.

    I became worried when she suggested doing some shots with her then 3 month old without knowing what a composite shot was. Luckily, I did know enough to say no to it. She also shot with her pop up flash the whole time, too.

    Now I has a disc full of pictures I’m not entirely in love with.



    That being said, here are some of the shots from our session:



    Not all are there, but these are two of them. Quite frankly, I am pissed that I put as much work into the subtle detail of my girls clothes without trying to overepower a shot, but I feel it was ALL lost in editing. :/





    And for the record, IHF, I am interested in knowing what the errors are.  🙂

    I have a great interest in photography, but it’s all such a daunting amount of info to process. Eventually I am interested in attending classes, but interested in hearing all the technical stuff. 😉


    The detail wasn’t lost with editing (not that she edited well mind you) it was lost in camera.  Looks to me like she shoots in an auto mode and that’s why exposure is all over the place.  No thought at all was taken with any of the shots I saw.  Bad direction/posing, bad comp, bad pov, bad framing, bad lighting….. She’s got the whole package going on.  I seriously wouldn’t even know where to start.  maybe a pro here will chime in and be able to explain better, what went wrong.  Here’s a site that explains all the common faux mistakes in a more lay person way.  (Be sure to look at the good the bad the ugly) Maybe it’d be a good place to start.


    no need to be embarrassed that you used a faux.  It’s happened to me as well, and it’s happened to countless others.  But I understand feeling uncomfortable about it.  Too uncomfortable to say anything to the  offender themselves, and too uncomfortable to tell anyone else as well.  It’s a creepy feeling getting ripped off or taken, and we do tend to take the blame ourselves  somehow.  “I should have known better” or “why didn’t I stop as soon as I thought things were going wrong?”  Or “am i just being too picky?”. Thing is, we all want to think the best of people, and when we are wrong it just plain feels bad, and we just want our mistake to go away.  Fauxs depend on this reaction, or they seriously don’t even know that they are making people feel this way.  I like to think the latter, but I’ve seen too many times how awful they can be to people when they are called out or their product gets questioned In any way by a customer complaint.  They can be quite nasty about it.

    Yes, I want you to complain and tell her exactly what you told us!!!  She needs to know what she is doing is wrong!   She needs to know that her customer is unhappy with her product!  but I also understand if you don’t, and I’m not going to push it, when I was unable to do it myself,  and when I completely understand that horrible uncomfortable feeling.  The me I am now would do it, but the me I am now, it most likely wouldn’t happen to.


    And FYI I noticed AllieB seems to like everyone’s photography, even the biggest offenders around here. I’m not sure why that is.  Could be she’s just looking for friends, and wants to be “nice” or maybe she has the mindset of a lot of photogs out there “let them continue doing it wrong, then they will be done that much quicker” instead of trying to be helpful.


    What a shame! It must be so frustrating to not be happy with your photos. As a photographer I would be completely gutted if a client hated the photos I took, but at the same time I would definately want to be told, because there is always room for improvement! Feedback is of vital importance.

    The first glaring problem I see is the colouring of the photos. That partial sepia gimmick that seems to be all the rage at the moment just drives me to tears!  Sepia only works when people are wearing ye olde outfits, otherwise it should be used sparingly or not at all. I wouldn’t even consider these to be proper sepia, more like random washed-out yellowish tones that suit nobody! I wonder if the photographer has calibrated her monitor…. 

    Other issues: toddler bending over and being cute is ruined by the placement of the tree trunk behind her. Either zoom in so that the trunk takes up all of the background or move around to not have it there at all. Man holding baby with the fenceline being at the same height as the top of his head…ugh! The next photo is better composed, with the baby looking over Mum’s shoulder, and the fence creates an interesting background effect. The last photo of Mum and baby taken on an angle is one of my pet peeves – I can’t stand wonky angles and horizons. This is considered ‘arty’ but it only works in a handful of situations, and really I just like a nice straight-to-camera look. Symmetry is best 🙂

    Using pop-up flash is also a very amateur thing to do. Proper lighting would have been either an external flash with a diffuser (even then I’m not a fan), off-camera lighting, reflectors, or even just using natural light to its fullest effects (eg: positioning people in correct angles so that light illuminates their eyes). 

    These are just a few things that I have noticed….the colour is definately the most annoying aspect though. I don’t blame you for not liking it!


    Thanks for reassuring me (Well, as best I can having paid for poor quality). I really did think I was being too picky. For the record, she charges a comparable amount to legitimate photogs in the area, but she included a disc, so my mother in law talked me into using her.  And thanks for the link, IHF!

    She just kind of had us play with our girls and she shot pictures while we did so. (She also caught another family shooting in the same location in one of our pictures) I had a direction I wanted to go with them (Was planning a  nice collage for my living room) I had been familiar with YANAP before this session, and had recalled some of the things fauxtogs are known to do. So, when I saw her get out of the car, I could see that she was one of those “I bought a nice camera, so now I’m a photographer” types.  She meddled with her settings for a bit at the beginning and then didn’t touch them again, despite the fact we moved from daylight to sunset and from shady to sunny areas.  So, I’d agree, in my very humble opinion that she didn’t have one iota of direction. (Even commented that the other photographer looked silly for using a reflector). And tried to talk us into shooting on train tracks(which I informed her was illegal).   But still, the most unnerving was her wanting to do that hands under chin baby shot and not knowing what a composite was. Personally, I don’t think *I* should have to explain that to my photographer.

    OH! Did I mention she was ONE HOUR late to our session?! Yeah, that wasn’t fun.

    When I got my proofs, I looked through them wanting to be impressed, but I just was not.  There was one she took from a really unflattering angle, and it made me look 60lbs heavier, I swear. I sobbed. lol

    She included a ton of blurry and half assed shots telling me they were the best ones from the session.  I still want my family photos on my wall to showcase my beautiful girls (my demonized self will be left out. Have I mentioned I HATE those eyes?! lol) until we do something better, but I don’t know how I’ll get a cohesive look since half of them seem to have a blue hue and half seem yellow…

    And while I’m nagging about local people for me, this is the one my mother in law suggested I go with, who I was able to identify as a fauxtog! lol



    Also: I did inform the photographer that I would not write a positive testimonial as she asked me to do. It’s a shame, she was super nice.


    Hopefully you didn’t pay much. Her facebook shots show potential in her future once she learns some basics, but she’s nowhere near the level where she should be charging people. My recommendation is that you let the next photographer know you would like straight clean color and or black and white shots. Trust me, all these over/under saturated editing styles are going to look SOOO tacky years from now when you are looking back at them. Personally, I think it already looks tacky. That’s just my opinion though.


    After looking through more of her photos as well as the ones you posted,  I’m starting to reconsider the “potential in the future” part of my comment.

    They’re pretty damn bad.


    Nah, I didn’t pay too terribly much. I happened upon her at a time when she was running a contest on facebook for 50% off. I was far and away the winner, having brought her five likes in. lol So, that should’ve tipped me off.  But the point is, that’s money I could’ve stowed away for a real photographer whose pictures wouldn’t be yellow tinted and clash with my red couch. Hrmph.


    She’s also since gone back and retouched some of her older work. Like a picture of my baby she’s using on her website where her skin appears to be made of burlap. Maybe it’s my monitor, but I doubt that.


    Also, I can’t be the only one whose first thought was “My God, she is naked!” upon seeing this:




    Well, I would like to thank you all for completely changing my mind. I will never take another picture. That was your goal, right?


    Also, yes, your photos may look “peachier” to you than they ever did to me. I have recently been contacted my someone who says theirs too looked more yellow than they would have liked. I check my photos on every other computer I could get my hands on and they are correct. Apparently my screen (a MacBook Pro with retina display) shows colors differently than older PC’s and even Macs. So I apologize for that. I am still offering to re-edit some, but I can tell from here you want nothing more to do with me.

    I will try to refrain from posting any more and due too all you horrible people without the balls enough to contact the photographer directly (except one nice woman), I am quitting photography and will be a stay-at-home-mom with no dreams. I hope you all feel fantastic and get a huge kick out of this.


    Sorry you are upset, WD, but as with any form of art there will always be those who will critique your work (ie rip it to shreds).  You would give up on your dreams because of the comments of a few strangers (including myself)?  There is no reason that you need to stop taking photos, but as your client has indicated, your work isn’t quite at a sellable level yet. And if you can’t make your customers happy, then your business isn’t going to take off in the direction you would like.

    Does this mean you give up and go home? No! Like anything in this world, photography is a constantly evolving process involving the study of new techniques, and practise, practise, practise!  The day you think you are great is the day you stop becoming so.

    Now, some quick advice for some easy improvements you can make:  the first thing is to calibrate your monitor, so that you see true colours.  You can pick up a Spyder4 Express for around $100, and it pays for itself the first time you use it.  Basically you will see a huge difference in your monitor before and after, and it then makes colour correction of your photos a lot easier.

    The second thing is that yellow casting in photos is going to make them look very dated very quickly. This also applies to any other gimmik of the month, like spot colouring, wonky angles for the sake of being “artistic”, and HDR, which has been done unto death.  Get rid of all the arty junk and focus on your subject – perfect your horizons, subject placement, focus on eyes, and the simple aspects which when done right, make a photo amazing. I would much rather look at a plain photo with amazing focus and beautifully balanced colours than something that has been over-worked and looks sickly yellow.

    Hopefully you will change your mind about giving up. People here aren’t trying to make you do that, but you need to understand the outrage that many of us feel when we see work that isn’t up to a professional level being sold as if it is. Also, take these comments as a true and honest critique of your work. Strangers don’t lie, those who love you will, or at least will see you work through rose-tinted glasses.

    Best of luck to you!




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