Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Fauxtographer in the Family

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    I’m a pretty open person, not much I keep back. I offer critiques here online and in person for those who ask for an honest assessment of their work. I don’t hold back much, if anything, but I do it not to be mean or judgemental, but to be constructive and earnest.

    As many of you know, when people submit their work on this site for constructive criticism or maybe a nod of justification from others that share the same passion of photography, they are doing it knowing that they cannot rely on most friends and family for that nod or that “real” justification.
    Myself, like so many others, fall into the same trap of family and friends providing praise and encouragement, even if your works are utterly horrible.
    So this week I am presented with a family issue of a cousin that has been given that “false praise” from a friend. I am in that position where I am running blocker, so-to-say, to keep my cousin from falling into that “fauxtographer” trap.

    My cousin means well, much like so many of fauxs we have seen here and about, but she currently has the mentality that if she buys a better camera/lens that her photos will be, well obviously better.
    She currently shoots with an iPhone, and she has been shooting a lot of sunsets. Friend “X” has planted that horrible evil seed in her head, that she should sell her photos at the local market. I [assume] it is a farmers market or something of that nature.
    On the good note, she has looked into purchasing a seller’s permit and doing it all legally, but I have to work on her and the camera issue before she puts the cart before the horse. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud her for wanting to sell all legit, but you have to have the basic skills of photography down before selling them as “artistic prints”.
    Her current photos are nice in composure, but are extremely grainy, simply because the iPhone just can’t take good photos in low light. I have an iPhone and I absolutely hate it. The default camera app is, in my opinion, horrible and lacking.

    I have encouraged her to look into taking some courses in her area for learning the fundamentals of photography, but not sure if that will sink into her head. She has other, but older cameras, but she has always shot in full auto. The older cameras she has are just not the right kind of camera to meet her needs, especially if she wants to sell prints.
    I have been trying to drive the notion in her head that having a nice camera and lens can help achieve in taking better photos, but you can still take very good, if not, great photos with not so great or expensive gear.
    As a comparison, I emailed her 2 sunset photos I took, one with a $450 camera and lens combo, the other with a $9000 camera and lens combo. I then asked her to tell me which one was taken with what gear. Of course she could not, but that was the test.

    My mission with her is not to mold her into a fine photographer, unless that is what she really wants to become. But I am walking that fine line of trying to guide her in the right direction without crushing her pride or creating a family feud.

    I’ll try to update this post and let you know of her progress, if there is any.
    If any of you out there have this same or a similar situation, I would love to hear your take on it.



    Even in other forums, people will do their best to say nice things and try not to offend you.  When I put a photo shot at high ISO and smoothed to within an inch of disaster, it still got “nice” reviews, rather than honest ones.  I think it confused a lot of people too.  No big deal, but interesting to observe.

    I have an Android phone, with an 8 Mpx camera, same pixel count as my Canon 30D.  The Canon delivers better photos in almost all circumstances.  That has nothing to do with the photographer and everything to with the hardware and ergonomics.  The couple of exceptions that come to mind are the exceptional DOF of the cell phone at close focus distances, and being credit card thin with a very small lens it can fit into places and shoot between things the larger camera cannot.

    You said:

    Her current photos are nice in composure, but are extremely grainy, simply because the iPhone just can’t take good photos in low light. I have an iPhone and I absolutely hate it. The default camera app is, in my opinion, horrible and lacking.

    I can’t think of a better argument for upgrading to more capable hardware.  If the problem is too much grain, then upgrading to a sensor that’s ten times larger and much more tolerant of low light really will deliver the result “that her photos will be, well obviously better.”

    If you have spare, or old gear, let her borrow a camera and see what she can do with it.  She may surprise you.


    I agree with you CC on the DOF at close range for most current cell phones. For their size and what they go through on a daily basis, they do take great macro photos and photos in general.
    I had an Android Samsung Galaxy S4, but dropped in into a pond with no waterproof case, it took wonderful pictures. I currently have an iPhone 5 and the default app is basically full auto with no option to take control of the settings. I like Apple, but I don’t need Apple to tell me how to take a photo.

    I would give her one of my backup cameras that is fully capable of performing what she requires, but she happens to live on the East Coast and I here on the West. I could ship it, but I’m not quite 100% sure how serious she is or if this is just that money making scheme that Friend “X” has planted in her head.

    Until I get more of a feel for her full intentions, I will continue to just try to guide her from not being a typical “faux on the street” selling crappy artwork next to the velvet Elvis paintings.
    True on the statement that upgrading to a much larger sensor will indeed result in better photos, less grain, but since she shoots in full auto not even nighttime scene mode, I don’t see her photos getting better due to just a gear upgrade.

    Hopefully these will appear as I screen grabbed a few photos of hers for reference. Now these I grabbed are not the best ones I have seen of hers, needs a lot of work on the composure among other things, but just to give a f=reference. They are on my flickr page if they do not appear here.






    The thumbnails look really good.  Vibrant colour.  Nice scenes.  The sort of thing you might see on post cards.  I hear Scott Kelby’s voice in my head saying they look just like a thousand other photos on the Internet.  The middle one is screaming for someone to paddle a canoe through the scene.  Either that or a fishing boat and someone casting.  The noise really affects the larger view.


    I could not agree more CC.  Though she is finding some decent sunset scenes, and as pretty as they are, there are about a million of them out there.

    As thumbnails, they are not that bad, some need more work than others and I think that they are definitely lacking subject matter.  Clouds and sunsets are fine, but you need something to say “but mine is different”.

    I have been pointing out that these would be nice if the sunset was just a backer to the main subject, like a silhouette of a fisherman casting out on the shore or of strange looking tree leaning out over the waters edge.  I think you get what I am thinking.

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