Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Fauxtog Horror Stories

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    Have you had experiences with Fauxtogs before and you think your stories interesting or funny (or just want to vent about it)? Well I wanna hear it. I’ll start:

    I was at my cousins wedding who had hired a pro to photograph the event, but many other people were taking pictures, too, including a fauxtog  who was “building his portfolio”. The way he accomplished this was being as intrusive to the wedding party and rude to the other attendees as possible. He would do stuff stick his eye to the veiwfinder and not look where he was going and go out to the dance floor and ask people to stop dancing and pose for him, but I think the thing he did that made me stop being annoyed by him and start actively hating him was the thing he did at the actual ceremony, when the bride was halfway down the aisle, he got up, planted himself in the aisle and started taking flash pictures.  Did I mention he used a flash for every picture in this well-lit church rather than changing the ISO on his Rebel?


    I had the honor of shooting a wedding with a FREE assistant who was all of 13 years old and was given a point and shoot camera and told…and I quote…”Here honey, your good at taking pictures, go help her!” The poor kid followed me around and took every single shot I took and in at least 5 of my photos you can see her little arms holding her point and shoot right in front of my camera! It was cute for about 10 min then I was ready to scream!


    A guy contacted me and asked me to critique some photos of an art group ( paid, of course). I arranged to meeting to discuss. He said he had been a military photographer on a base and “just shot crap” for their newsletters, etc., but in the same breath started saying he was going pro and would I teach a lighting class for the group as well? I said, “if you’re going pro, shouldn’t YOU be able to teach your group?” He said he didn’t know anything about lighting. Uh huh. So I said I would think about his offer. Then I got an email where he said he wanted all my notes and reference materials so he could “make sure the class would be suitable” for his group. Yeah, right. I just told the guy I had rejected the offer ago teach due to a scheduling conflict. Now… Get this… He goes out and starts a Facebook page and sets up classes less than a month later and teaches. the best part of this is his logo is “we teach the pros.” I nearly died laughing. He has shot a few ugly wannabe models in scary poses trying to look like fashion shots. This guy is a redneck old military dude who wouldn’t know fashion if it slapped him in the forehead. Christ. He charges $35 per photo session and for a class. Imagine the wealth of knowledge he spews forth onto his unsuspecting students. I feel like I should report him to the state for operating a school without a license. But hey…if you’re dumb enough to think you’re going to learn anything from someone with pictures as bad as his…you deserve what you get.




    This isn’t really a horror story but more of a vent when I came across one. There’s an art gallery at the local botanical gardens which was having a community day just the other day. There was a photo exhibit from a local ‘artist’ featuring pictures from the botanical gardens. The fauxtographer was at the gallery explaining the photos, her inspirations and other shit she was pulling from her ass and generally talking herself up trying to sell the pictures. Each photo was virtually the same using a wide angle lens to look up the trunk of a tree, the only difference was it was a different tree in each image which was photoshopped beyond recognition. The photoshopping was horrendous, the pictures would either be entirely blue, entirely red, entirely green, etc with no resemblance at all to the original photo. I actually heard her telling people the photos weren’t that good to start with but when she photoshopped them it made them really artistic. She didn’t even have a theme in mind, just wanted to make them artistic. According to the pamphlet that was being handed out, she took over 300 photos and of those she only saw potential in 20 which were basically exactly the same.



    I LOVE these stories!!!

    My very first encounter with a fauxtog was years ago.  I was getting ready to move out of state once again, and my Mom hired someone to come and photograph my siblings and I, and all her friends (we are all like family).    She was charged $600 for the session, free CDs for everyone who ordered a print, and prints were individually priced.  The faux showed up with lighting, back drops, props, and an assistant, and really seemed legit. We all took turns having photoshoots, and we all posed for group shots as well. As she started taking pictures, they had it set up so we could view them instantly on a lap top.  Quickly I saw that her lighting was only for show, as she wasn’t using it properly at all, and our photos looked washed out, out of focus, flat, and horrible.  We all looked to have anemia. Her assistant asked her to change the settings on her camera and to move the lighting, and told her that the photos weren’t looking good.  Her response was “That’s what I have YOU for.  You can photoshop anything and make it look fabulous!”.  So her assistant sighed and grunted, came and moved the lights and directed them differently, and things improved a little, very little…  She never adjusted her camera once and used it as a point and shoot.  We all received CDs and we ordered a group shot and one of me and Mom.  We had lot’s of laughs looking at them, lot’s of laughs.  OMG they were absolutely horrible!  At the very least, I wish we had properly taken, funny awkwardly posed photographs to look at and reminisce about.  We really wanted these pictures, because we most likely wouldn’t ever all be together again and that’s the ONLY reason we bought.  To top it off she had them printed at a grocery store’s photo lab.  Since then, two of my Mother’s good friends from that day, have passed away and I have been living out of state for 5 years, with at least 3 more to go.  We’ll never get it back.  I wish she was what she actually advertised herself to be.  I wish my Mom and all of us weren’t taken by this fraud.  I think this also is something the fauxs dont understand, when people order from them, or hire them.  The photos are so wanted, whether they are well taken, printed and edited properly or not, they are so very wanted.  and when photos aren’t taken with care….it’s just not right…  We didn’t complain.  How many of these faux clients are just like us and just keep their mouths shut, and chalk it up as a wonderful time, and a hard life lesson?  How many people keep coming back to you?  How many recommend you? How many are feeling exactly as I am right now?


    The other thing that I’ve notice happen time and time again is that people don’t want to pay for a professional photographer, so they get someone in the family to take photos of the event in question.  Perhaps Uncle Bob has a “really good camera” and can therefore automatically take amazing shots in low-light with no actual training as a photographer. The camera does all the work dontcha know!

    Earlier this year my husband’s distant relatives invited us to the christening of their twins. I asked if they had a photographer, as I’m always on the lookout for potential opportunities (although photographing for family is usually more hassle than it’s worth!).  They said they had the photography covered as the mother’s sister was going to do it. Ok fine, no worries. I thought I’d bring my camera along anyway, as it is not often that twins get christened, and I thought I’d get some practise in to keep my skills honed. We’re talking Greek Orthodox here, where a christening is a big event and the baby gets fully submerged in the font, not just a splash of water on the forehead.  The ceremony is also pretty boring, so I like to keep myself amused by taking photos.

    Come the christening day, I had set up my camera settings and was just mucking around taking some shots of the church, which was absolutely stunning and had skylights so there was an amazing beam of light coming down right on the altar, lighting everyone’s hair up in a halo effect. Too awesome not to photograph!  The sister turned up and to my horror she had a mid-range P&S, which as most of you will know,  is next to useless when it comes to taking a number of photos in rapid succession – the load time between shots is insane! Plus you can’t get a fast enough shutter speed, as the one she had didn’t have manual controls and would have picked a slower speed over aperture (and ISO? what is that?).   To cut a long story short, I took a bunch of photos (making sure I kept out of her way, since that is only polite), and learned first-hand how challenging it is to try and photograph two babies at once!

    A few weeks later I was asked by the family if they could see my photos. Apparently they hadn’t gotten anything useable from the sister and they were devastated.   They ended up offering me money for my photos because I’d gotten ones that were actually in focus, and so I ended up getting paid for it after all, yay!  I’m not that altrustic that I would have just given them the shots….shame on me?

    This happened AGAIN last Sunday, at another Greek Christening. The cousins-in-law said earlier in the year that they were going to pay me to do the photography. I never heard anything else on the subject, and in the end was given an invitation to attend the christening as a guest. I’m at a stage where I have written family off as clients, because of disappointments like this.   I took my camera along anyway because my parents-in-law were overseas, and hubby and I would have had our arses in a sling if we didn’t give them some photos of the event, lol.   Turns out that the father’s brother had been roped in to do the photography. At least he had an SLR! With an external flash!!! However, the flash was facing forward with one of those pointless “diffusers”, and he hardly took any photos! This particular church has shocking light and I know from experience that using any kind of flash is going to either light everyone up horribly, or give the effect where foreground is lit up and everything else is hideously blackened, in a fine example of inverse square law.  I myself shot at high ISO with no flash, and used Lightroom to smooth out the noise afterwards.

    I can’t wait to see the photos that they got…these are wealthy people and they could have easily afforded a professional. I don’t understand why they didn’t. It didn’t have to be me, but surely you’d want to have someone who knows what they are doing for an event as precious as a christening????? People are cray-cray!   Mind you, the mother once told me that I have a ‘nice camera’ when she saw some photos I took…..kind of says it all really.

    Not that I’m bitter 😉



    faux not funny

    I know a lady through facebook who was a party planner, then one day she sent me a message to my inbox. It said something like this.

    ” I have been out and bought a good camera and a vinyl backdrop. I was wondering if I could use your business name to advertise my photography services”.

    Well, my jaw hit the floor. A day earlier she was a party planner, one shopping trip later, ta-da, she’s a photographer.

    I said no, incase you’re wondering lol

    Anyway, she set up her “photography” business and the results to this day are truly awful. To start off with EVERYTHING was way under exposed and she appeared to be coloring in the white background with the brush tool. From there she progressed to a white vignette (she still uses that). Now her images are ALL over exposed with very very little contrast. She doesn’t even adjust the contrast when she converts images to black and white, so they just look like they have been faded by the sun for twenty years. Any head and shoulders shots she takes are OOF or have camera shake. Her first  photography album on her facebook profile was called “my attempt at photography lol”, yet she had already started a page offering photography to paying customers.

    Well, I was angry, but now I just find it funny. She must have seen my client base was well established and just decided she wanted in on  that. It was never going to happen.


    Luckily, I don’t have any experience with fauxtogs as a client, but my city is just saturated with them, and they’re stealing business and credibility from other small-business photographers like me. Maybe other towns have this problem, but every day another Facebook “business” page pops up for one! Or someone “got a nice camera,” now they’re starting a business. Average-Joe clients sometimes don’t see how horrible the images are, either that or they’re just really, really stupid, because somehow these pages have a lot of likes and people comment on how “awesome” the photos are. (Shaking my head!)

    One of them I hate to make fun of, because she recently passed away suddenly from an illness… let’s just say it looked like she used a point and shoot for everything, it was all shot in the same park in town that EVERYBODY uses (by the same covered bridge, same fountain, same flowerbed, you get it) and she often had people wear matching American flag t-shirts. One that stuck out from hers was the engagement photos, the guy and girl were standing on either side of his Chevy and over the license plate… well, 3/4 of the license plate, she photoshopped a white block with their names and “2013” over it.

    Another one that has been advertising on a local buy/sell group on Facebook had some terrible baby photos that were completely out of focus, lots of bright white and colored vignettes, lots of goofy frames, lots of text in the photos, etc. One image was of a little girl on a bridge. The bridge was in focus, and the girl was not. A person commented that they wanted a certain print in an 8×10, and the page owner said “I’m sorry but a print that large will be pixelated.” WTF?

    I met a local fauxtog at a “gallery showing” last year (local crappy art gallery that accepted anything and everything and eventually closed). I chatted with her briefly (after viewing her work on Facebook) and asked what camera she used. She said “Oh! It’s here in my purse actually, it’s a Powershot.” All I needed to know.

    Now the kicker- a girl I work with got married a few years ago in a courthouse and is renewing her vows next summer, and they’re making it like a full wedding ceremony, dress, bridesmaids, and all. She has been talking to me about doing the wedding. She really likes my work. I’ve done 3 weddings now only but I think I’ve done very well (the first was ok, not terrible, but the recent two I feel I did top-notch work). She said she’s trying to convince her husband that my work is better than this other one, Bekka Gene. I finally found them on FB and OMG how can he even compare me to her? EVERYTHING is blurry. She uses some free editing service online. I can take better pictures with a cell phone. She has no idea what composition is, as most of her portraits have a tree sticking out of someone’s head. She has rampant use of spot color and putting people’s names “creatively” into the image. The photo he had in question was a perfect shot I did at a wedding where I was the 2nd shooter (I was in charge of the groom’s first emotional look at his bride coming doing the aisle as the 1st shooter was in charge of the bride). I got that happy accident perfect shot of his face in perfect focus, trying not to cry, while it was framed just right by her dress in beautiful bokeh. (Link to my image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roxanne_elise_photography/8028585176/in/set-72157631618564124). Well, this girl’s husband said “What he heck, the bride’s all blurry.” At first I felt bad for being remotely compared with this other photographer, but now I just have to laugh. Here’s the fauxtog in question. https://www.facebook.com/BekkaGenePhotography


    faux not funny

    @browneyedgirl89 – I looked at one of the albums on the fauxtogs fb page, cringed at every single image in there!  I hope the woman wears the trousers in that relationship as it would be such a shame if she is talked into hiring the fauxtog.


    ps, I love your work.


    In a follow up to my recent Christening debacle story, I posted up some of the photos that I took onto private online gallery for my cousin-in-law to look at, and last week received a text saying “We love your photos, can we have them?”…..*twitch*.

    Apparently the brother only took a few photos of the Godparent with the baby but none of the parents or anyone else! Then I was informed that they were so thankful I’d been there to take some photos as well. Cue effusive and embarrasingly over the top praise from them. Me: head repeatedly connecting with wall, mixed with tongue biting so as not to say “I told you so!”.

    Will they learn from this? Yeah – nah!

    (I ended up selling them a DVD of the photos for a nominal fee – since I refused to give them away but am not so vindictive as to charge full price, much as I wanted to 😉 )



    I enjoyed all the stories!  I don’t have any personal experience with a fauxtox. I do have this one set of friends, who have a baby. I KNEW when they had photos taken of the baby it would be from their fauxtog relative. Although this girl seems to have a lot of clients, they are all family and close friends. Sure enough they posted photos and they were horrible. I look at her stuff on FB, it is like a train wreck, you can’t not look. Even some of the comments are great. One person asked for the same photo that was posted, but of her smiling and the fauxtog commented that the photo that was posted was the only one that didn’t come out blurry. Really??  http://www.facebook.com/PicturesByChell?ref=ts&fref=ts


    I haven’t really had to deal with any fauxtographers, but I did have to deal with someone who would be the perfect client for them. She was someone who worked with one of my sisters, and sent me a message on my page asking how much I would charge to take photos of her and her 6 month old. Well I usually give people who my sister refers a discount.  I asked her what her budget was in order to determine what kind of discount I would give her, and see what exactly she was looking for. This was her response (her spelling and everything):

    “Depends on how long of a session it takes to do pics  i hve someone tht is willing to do flat rate of 40 bucks to do it but am unfamiliar with her work and doesnt hve fb page to se previous work. I would be willing to pay 25Per hr or so n also depends on what u are able to provide us with as far as backdrops go and props etc.”

    Well I do not have a studio, but I do have a portable background stand and backgrounds that I will gladly take to a clients location. (Which also is figured into my rates).  I kindly informed her that I would not be willing to lower my prices that much, and best of luck to her with her other photographer. (in case you wanted to take a look….here is the photographer she was referring to:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Anchor-Photography/226986970737493)

    What I wanted to tell her that $25 an hour isn’t even worth the gas to drive to her location. Let alone set up a background, lights, etc….

    Every day it amazes me what kind of bad pictures people are willing to pay for just to save a couple of dollars.


    Holy crap, gfox5… I won’t even load my car for under $150, and that’s if I pay myself nothing.



    Those who brag about not using photoshop and then boast pictures of themselves as “the face behind the camera” kind of scares me.  She actually took pictures of my friends.  I have been studying for almost 3 years (self-teaching/workshops) and I still feel I have a few more years before I could venture into a business and these kind of people make me wonder if there is anyone left who even knows what a good picture is.





    Ugh, Blue Anchor had this on their page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=284038668365656&set=a.246731822096341.34218.226986970737493&type=1&theater

    I mean come on! The kid’s face is completely out of focus!

    Blue Anchor has a handful of “ok” shots, they have potential, but they have a lot that would have been successful if they hadn’t cropped them the way they did, and several that the posing is really unflattering.

    @ggjo! Omg, she needs to bleach her stache! I remember you showed me her page once before.

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