Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Don't know if I want to do this :D

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    I’m probably just a MWAC but I have been studying photography instensely for about 6 months now after I deciding I wanted to understand exposure, not just think something was cute or a sunset was pretty and point and shoot and hope for the best, which has been my “technique” for the last 20 years. My uncle was a professional news photographer so I have grown up with a lot of great examples and lucked into a lot of great pictures of my children over the last 20 years.

    My interest lies mostly in people, faces and emotion. I like a pretty landscape as much as the next person but I can’t seem to get past the ‘there are thousands of pictures of exactly that’ already. Maybe with more study and time I will develop a better eye. I have little interest in posed portraits either. In the link there are plenty of pictures that are ‘portraits’ but they were me walking into the situation and pointing my camera. The one of the four gentlemen was taken at a train station. I walked over the tracks and asked if I could take their picture. They laughed at me, I took the picture. The only posed pictures are the mom and baby and the baby on his tummy with the vignette. I have done some editing in a few of the pictures, most are untouched and just out of the camera.

    My goal is to continue to take meaningful pictures and learn more and get better.The only ‘pro’ I’m looking at is doing birth photography. I have an extensive background, experience and certifications in childbirth education and support and would love to be able to capture the emotions of that day via photography. It would be a real calling……if my skills are worth it. I have a few friends I am going to photograph their birth for cost. I guess I’ll really know if I have anything then




    Watch this:


    it’s severely warm, and needs a white balance correction. It’s also blurry from shooting at 1/40. Depending on how your camera handles noise, the iso needed to be higher to get a better shutter speed.

    I don’t think it’s bad knowing that you aren’t editing them. I don’t think you are ready to start charging by far. Even with candid portraiture you need to understand your light and how to use it. A lot of the kids have rather dark shadowed faces, that I believe could use some post work to help brighten them up.


    Thanks for the input, intuition.


    All the shots in that church were severely orange/warm in tone. I think it was light coming off of the peach walls.  I’ve done ok in editing a few to lessen it but I don’t know what I should have done to begin with to avoid it. I am learning editing and shoot in RAW and have had some photos definitely improve, I have edited versions of many of the photos I posted with brightened faces but I was looking for criticism of my composition more than my editing skills, I guess. I know I’m not ready to charge. I just want opportunities to practice.  I am developing a relationship with a local family/children/wedding  photog and I am hoping to ask her if I may tag along in the future. She does a little too much ‘baby in a bucket’ for my taste but she has got lighting down.

    The birth photography is a whole different animal as there just isn’t space in most situations for more than one dedicated photographer. I’m on my own from the get-go.


    my biggest current lack of knowledge is flash. I have a Speedlite and have had some success with fill flash but overall I’m struggling. Since I am mostly interested in birth work flash competency is not essential (as one rarely if ever will use flash in birth photography) but I can’t consider myself serious until I master it.




    I’m a MWAC too 🙂

    The church pictures would actually be really easy to fix the warm cast on if you shot in RAW. You could select the white on someone’s dress and white balance the photo to that point. The colors would look a lot more natural and less orange, I especially notice the warm cast on the white dresses, some of them look kind of orange-y to me. Then like intuition mentioned play with your ISO and figure out when you start to get noise. For example I know with my Nikon d3100 I can shoot 1600 ISO before you start to notice noise which is great inside usually. Once I get higher than that though the noise is noticeable.

    One of the advantages to being a MWAC is I have these two awesome little kids that I can employ to do all sorts of things while I practice different techniques. They really earned their keep while I figured out the speedlight lol. I have one that will swivel around 360 degrees and will also point at 90, 135, and 180 degree angles. So I pretty much just sat in my living room with my toddler standing by the wall while I turned the speedlight and set it to each of the different angles to see what would happen and played with the power on it. Now I like to think I’m pretty decent at bouncing it to make it look like my house has more windows than it really does, but it took a lot of practice to figure it out 🙂 taking the pics with it at the different settings and angles and having them just all side by side really helps though so that you can see how bouncing, etc affects the shadows.

    I know not everyone will agree with me, but on pics like this one: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LrOPBjEpi6Q/Uhf0WN11BxI/AAAAAAAAASo/9qkeus8vhY4/w818-h545-no/reunionupload-7_zps938e9f23.jpg I do think it’s OK to blow out the background a little bit so that you can see the person’s face. Of course the fix is to put a reflector in front of her and to wear a white shirt so that her eyes brighten up a little bit and you don’t have to blow the background out as much.


    Trust me my kids are forever being experimented on. “Oh yay, mom has a new camera lens, flash, photog book, reflectors…”

    I just order an off camera shoe cord which will mean lots of practice with kids, cat, dog, chickens etc….

    Tomorrow will be a lot of outdoor work. Headed to A&M for my son’s March-In. In a perfect world I’d bring my tripod and use my telephoto to pick him out of the crowd but  there will be too many people to make that feasible and I can’t use my telephoto without a tripod. My hands just aren’t steady enough at this point. I will probably just bring my trusty 50mm/1.8 that I use so much and wait until the march-in is over and take pics of him and his buddies.

    Gig ‘Em


    That pick above of my daughter was a snapshot outside the church under the awning after my niece’s wedding. Since I wasn’t the official photographer I came with just one lens and no ancillary equipment. I didn’t want it to look like I was trying to upstage the professional. I have reflectors coming next week and can’t wait to practice with them


    When I was reading your post, I had a feeling I was going to like your work. And I do. I think you definitely show potential to be a really great photographer. I get a sense that you love being behind the camera. I love the candid moments that you capture. I don’t think you really need anything fancy in terms of lighting. You need to keep it simple unless you want to do more structured portraits. But I really like the natural light style, personally, so I think that you should focus there. A fill light would be helpful. Just take your on camera flash and point it at the ceiling. Depending on the amount of light already in the room, you can adjust the flash accordingly. But I would keep it really low so that the light still feels very natural but has a little bit of fill so that things don’t go too dark.

    This photo: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915463710059047234?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915463710059047234&oid=116541004292231676202

    Nothing wrong with it. NOthing wrong with being a little soft or having some movement. Color temp. inside is a pain. When in doubt, consider black and white.

    Beautiful bride shot: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915464027991380018?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915464027991380018&oid=116541004292231676202

    Love stuff like this. It’s not perfect, but its good: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915463891285867682?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915463891285867682&oid=116541004292231676202

    This is kind of cool: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915464218799965362?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915464218799965362&oid=116541004292231676202

    awesome: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915464343203086450?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915464343203086450&oid=116541004292231676202

    beautiful: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915464907432327090?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915464907432327090&oid=116541004292231676202

    Cute but needs to be brighter and color balanced. Probably about 1.5 stops brighter: https://plus.google.com/photos/116541004292231676202/albums/5915463635662120177/5915465298084169490?authkey=CMueuL_biYviEw&pid=5915465298084169490&oid=116541004292231676202

    I’m interested to see what you do in the future.


    My opinion is: Yes.  You are a MWAC at this stage, but don’t let that discourage you from moving forward.  The key to getting better is practice and then more practice.  Always always learn and read.

    6 months is not nearly enough time to learn everything.  I’m 5 years in and still learning something new everyday.  Your decision to just now learn exposure is late.  That should be the first thing you learn.  Photography is about light period.  if you don’t understand exposure and light, you don’t understand photography.

    Learn exposure in relation to shutter, aperture, and ISO.

    Learn basic composition and practice before you break the rules of composition

    Then learn color correction and basic corrections and sharpening.  Many resources online.

    Study these 3 in depth, for hours, weekly trying to learn something new each time and your skills will get much better.  Do all of this before you think about adding flash.  Flash is an entirely different game.

    Seeking critique is a powerful tool for moving forward, so you are in the right mindset, but be prepared for honest opinions.


    I originally posted in August. Since that time I have taken classes in manual exposure, LR basics and am currently learning newborns and let’s not talk about how much I have read and practiced-my Flickr is FULL of nothing but practice shots for classes.  I am currently portfolio building and am working my way towards being good enough to charge. I have also applied to be a photographers assistant for NILMDTS.

    In a couple weeks I get to assist one of the best newborn photographers in my state and I can’t wait. It will be hard work (twins) but I will learn so much.

    So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, progress.

    Shots taken since my first post:














    http://flickr.com/gp/10210363@N02/cc7ESo   (the photo that prompted me to upgrade me gear-my Rebel couldn’t handle sucha  low light situation and I didn’t have a lens that opened more than 1.8)






    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10210363@N02/10997896635/  (this is SOOC)






    Some links didn’t work for me.  Looking at your Flickr page, the recent stuff (this year) looks like a bunch of photos of a doll, and one of a girl with parts bordering on too bright?





    I think you said your uncle was a professional news photographer.  Go back and look at his photos, then look at yours.  What do you see that is different?


    Since it doesn’t seem like it is possible to go back and edit:


    maybe this link will work.




    Yes, there is missed focus, a horrid limb chop (although I LOVE her face)  and sloppy wrap, I know these aren’t perfect.


    The editing window seems to last for about 15 minutes.  After that it’s still possible but it becomes a techie thing.

    I took a quick peek at the two most interesting thumbs.  Unfortunately the baby still attached is out of focus.  Since you mention missed focus, I gather you already know about it.

    The beautiful sunset was taken with a small aperture, so the sensor dirt shows.  Sensor dirt is a scourge of digital.  Get dirt in a film camera and it gets wound out with the frame as film is advanced, frequently washed off with the developer, once in a while it scratches a frame.  With digital, even with the shaking filter assembly, dirt can be there in the same spot for hundreds of photos.  You can heal it out but it gets to be a pain if you have to do a lot of photos.  There are lots of videos on cleaning sensors, it is not difficult, just fiddly.


    Focus fell on the baby’s foot I think. I was using a Rebel T3, maxed the ISO and a nifty fifty wide open. That scene was not appropriate to be shot wide open but my shutter speed was something like 1/25 already and you have a split second to get that kind of shot :D. I had no tripod- like I could put one where I was standing-wedged between the back of the bed and the wall. Birth rooms are often very dim as this one was.

    I chose to upgrade my body during the Christmas deals vs. buying a 35 or 50 1.4.

    That T3 is now my backup and I have a 6D. o/ Now I can shoot in low light with acceptable shutter speeds and apertures. I’ve got another birth booked in May and I know that one will be VERY dark, there was no way I could have handled it with the T3 without buying a 1.4

    I’m primarily shooting newborns and families with a sprinkling of seniors and headshots this spring so my 85 1.8 and 24-105 will get the biggest workout. And no, I am not charging, these are all portfolio building/practice/class practicum.

    I begin a composition class as soon as my newborn class is over. I am looking forward to it, they focus on such different skills.


    No one has ever mentioned the sensor dirt. I’ll have the Rebel cleaned/clean it, thx.


    You show a lot of potential, not saying they are great but for this stage they are a great starting point. Do yourself a favor and keep shooting and don’t get that cocky like some do and think that you have everything down pat.

    The one thing I notice is that you tend to shoot very slow shutter speeds, or you are trying to max out the exposure in some way, fine in some cases but when your subjects are fluid (in motion) a slow shutter speed can add unwanted softness and motion blur into the photos.

    A kind of rule that helps combat this and forces you to make other adjustments is to not shoot slower than your focal length. So for instance, you are shooting with a 50mm, don’t shoot below 1/50″, shooting a 70-200mm or other variable zoom lens, see what your focal length in according to the barrel markings and don’t shoot below it.

    I normally try not to shoot below 1/100 (depending on the scene and scenario). I put some examples together fo you as a quick guide:

    50mm – 1/50″
    70mm – either 1/60″ or 1/80″
    85mm – either 1/80″ or 1/100″
    100mm – 1/100″
    135mm – either 1/125″ or 1/160″
    200mm – 1/200″ or higher

    Again, these are not set in stone Rules, these settings are just helpful guides to prevent motion blur in general shooting scenarios, you would have to adjust them according to what and how you are shooting of course.

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