Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Fauxtogs are overwhelming!

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    Hey everyone. I am brand new to this site. As i see this site as refreshing for those few REAL professional photographers out there, i do find myself disheartened at times when i see dozens and dozens of new “professional photographers” popping up on facebook in my area daily which take just awful photographs but are constantly praised for “awesome work” “greatly talented” “amazing photo” “Love this, your so gifted” and so on and so forth as comments on images that are just god awful horribly taken and composed. I just don’t understand! I have spent the better part of 10 years perfecting my understanding of photography, lighting, posing, composition, etc. Its rather depressing when someone just picks up a camera at the local best buy and prints business cards off their home printer and names themselves a professional photographer. My market area is completely over saturated with “Professional Mom Photographers” and the like. I try to tell myself that quality work will win the day, but after seeing time and time again, terrible photographs being posted on hundreds of fauxtogs facebook pages with a ton of praise such as “amazing!” “love it” “your so talented”…. im beginning to wonder if all the effort of doing it the right way even matters some days when countless people cant seem to even SEE the real difference in a well done photograph compared to one shot on the green box of death auto mode and slapped with over editing in photoshop…. I guess i just needed to rant some and this forum seemed like the right place to blow off some steam. Anyone have anything to add to this? I am just extremely frustrated and overwhelmed in my area with the ever increasing population of Fauxtogs! I feel as if im being drowned out and that is a scary thought because i cannot compete with $20 photo sessions and i rely on the quality of my work, which sometimes seems futile when i see all this praise on fauxtog facebook pages for terrible photographs. Can people in our visual society today even tell the difference i wonder!


    If they see terrible work as talented then they’ll see yours as the Sistine Chapel.

    If you want to survive in this industry then you have to get better at marketing yourself and being a better businessman. Those clients who would pay for $20 photo sessions aren’t clients that you want to have anyway. Find clients that value art. Market to those clients and make them know why it pays to pay for that extra dollar.


    My town is exactly the same! There is a facebook group someone created here for local buying/selling (it’s a very useful online rummage sale) and people, myself included, often advertise business on there too. Every time someone posts “I’m looking for an affordable photographer to do my family pics this fall” tons of people comment and suggest “photographers.” I often click through all of the suggestions. Yes, there are a few that pop up that truly are good, sometimes a few that are well-established businesses or freelancers who’ve been doing it for awhile and are great. But 80% of what’s posted is HORRIBLE. I wrote in another forum topic on here about a few of them, but a couple stick out in my mind. One has no clue about how light or composition works in photography. I mean complete disregard. She posted photos where the people were sitting down and clearly bright sunlight was filtering through trees and giving them spots of orange on their faces. Another one takes nothing but out-of-focus photos, and has no idea how to pose people (several had trees growing out of their heads, and there were several of a very overweight girl laying down exposing her armpit with deoderant residue and her huge double chin front and center) And another one also had countless blurry photos (well, the background elements were somewhat in focus, but the people were not). A person commented on a horrible photo and asked to have it in an 8×10 and the fauxtographer commented “I’m sorry but an image that size will be pixelated.” All of these look like they’re using a point-and-shoot camera, honestly though I could take a better photo with my cell phone. I’m soooo tempted to knock their work when others suggest them, or to comment on their page “So, what is your favorite lens and f-stop, what RAW conversion program do you use, and what ISO would you use on a cloudy day?” but I’ve had to bite my tongue and remain professional and hope that people see my work and realize I’m actually good. I think some people are blind, or have extremely low IQs to think some of that work is good. Oh, but they’re “super cheap” as others suggest, and “they give you the full copyright for free!” aduhvuaigfiuabskjvabkdjf! You don’t ever give away your copyright! I sell print rights for those who want it. I have a 2-page contract and a separate print release form. I back up my images on an external hard drive and SmugMug for safety (hey, my hard drive almost failed on my computer this fall and I had to send it in to get a new one right in the middle of all my sessions, and I hardly missed a beat other than being delayed a few days on editing) I think I charge a little too less but am waiting til I can get a 5D Mark II before I raise my prices up.

    If anyone is curious, here’s some of my work: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roxanne_elise_photography/


    browneyedgirl… i really hope you are joking when asking what ones favourite f-stop is or what iso someone would use on a cloudy day… Those things are not even remotely related. I really really hope you don’t think that the ISO has anything to do with a cloudy day, K maybe, but not the ISO. and favourite raw conversion program?? waaa?


    explain yourself cause, to be honest, you sound like you dont know what you are talking about…


    @soaring turkeys  She seems to know just enough to sound stupid.  My favorite lens is the one that is going to work the best for what Im shooting at the time.  ISO means virtually nothing on a cloudy day.  I can shoot at ISO 100 with my 50 1.8.  They have RAW conversion programs?  Mine open up automatically in Photoshop CS5.


    Browneyedgirl, You’re definitely not a faux,  but you do have composition issues.  If they are part of your “style”, like your dutch angle, I would reconsider.  A photo should be able to stand on its own without funky angles.  Personally I hate dutch.


    yeah you are right click it.

    Yeah favourite lens is a legit question. Everyone has a go 2 lens. Mine would either be the 50 1.4 or the 35 1.4. I can’t decide between those two. Probably 35. no 50. yeah i like 50 better. But i’ve never really thought about having a favourite F-Stop. That’s just a silly question. That’s exactly the same as asking what someones favourite shutterspeed is.


    I probably should have worded it differently, but thanks for calling me an idiot. Jeez. I guess my point was, does a faux even know WHAT these things are and how they relate. Yes, ISO and f-stops are related, of course, depending on what lens you use, yes. I’d shoot at 100 ISO anytime when possible, to minimize noise. But if the lens I have available doesn’t go down to a 1.8 and the lighting is a bit dim, the ISO has to go up unless I want to compromise shutter speed. Favorite F-stop also, I prefer to shoot wide open (situation permitting). I have a go-to lens that is versatile for many situations but also have others that I will use of course. RAW conversion- I meant do you prefer Camera Raw or Lightroom. I use Lightroom to import and then do editing both there and in Photoshop, then my batch export from LR.


    The question was never the relation to fstop to iso, it was iso to a cloudy day. In which case there is none.

    Also fun fact if you are real persistant about having less grain to minimize noise. ISO that are divisible to 160 produces less grain. In fact studies have shown that 160, 320 and 640 have less grain than 100.


    I just have a question though more related to your thinking process which is very peculiar.

    You are saying that you adjust the shutter first (your comment about not compromising shutter speed) then you adjust ISO then F-Stop?

    I’m not saying its bad. It’s just unique. Definitely different from the way some people shoot. Usually it’s either F-Stop or Iso first then shutter is adjustable.


    I have been trying to learn and absorb as much as possible in an effort to simply take better pictures of my family.  I had wanted a decent camera for a few years and about two years ago my hubby bought me a 50d.  My hope has been and continues to be that I will continue to master my camera and learn about lighting and composition and processing an image.  Honestly, I have had friends tell me “start a business” “you are talented” but I have resisted for many many reasons.  The most important is that I do not have enough knowledge about what it takes to make really great photographs or about running my own business.  I’m not even sure I would want to have a business, so why rush into it.  I think so many people see dollar signs and hear the compliments from friends and family (which do make ya feel good for a few minutes).  Now I don’t really want to put down people for trying.  Obviously, I have not got any room to criticize anyone’s efforts.  My problem is that I look around and see the “work” others are selling and I’m sad.  I come here and see the same kind people whose business I wouldn’t solicit and yet they are drumming up business.  Just like anything else, everyone has their own taste.  I get that.  The thing that really bothers me is that I have family who know how much of a passion I have for learning about photography.  And of course, in my ideal world of dreams I would be a great photographer with my own business, but it is just that a dream.  However, I have a cousin in particular who bought a Canon Rebel and less than 6 months later opened shop.  I’m so embarrassed by her work that when people say they see her pictures I cringe, I wonder if they think that is what I strive to do.  I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be to those who have years of training and experience who work so hard to make a living at something they have a true passion for.  I also happen to work for a lawyer who tells me of his constant frustration with “jail house lawyers” or “friends who know the law”  it drives him crazy.  He has spent so much money on his education and his time.  He is in a solo practice and it stuns me that people actually try to tell him the law.  So I suppose MWAC shouldn’t surprise me too much.  I guess it just makes me want to hang up my camera because if those are the kinds of images people want, I would never want to be in the business.  I’ll just keep on taking snapshots of my family and call it a day.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I was perusing facebook today and I was appalled at how many facebook photogs there are.

    P.S. This is my first post and I am brand new here, but I actually did want to see if anyone could review a few of the pictures I have taken of my kiddos, nieces and friends (for FREE) just for practice.  Like I said, I am NOT in business and do NOT charge a dime for pictures, I’m just willing to do it for free for people I know who I tell to have low expectations and that I am practicing in an effort to learn.  If they are happy with some, then that’s a bonus.



    soaringturkeys: When I had a crop body iso was the last thing I would change but I just got a Canon 5d yesterday and compared my 40d and the 5d and now I am comfortable shooting at iso 800 with the 5d. I suppose I think about shutter speed first because I photograph people and don’t want any motion blur but that all depends on the situation. If i’m using flash then it does not matter as much.


    @Soaringturkeys: I usually don’t adjust shutter speed first. Typically, I find the f-stop I want to shoot at, given the number of people/situation. I prefer the style of shooting wide-open as possible, in most situations (of course not landscape photography though). I feel like portraits are best done wide-open. I initially set the ISO to the type of available lighting. On a day with plenty of light I do keep it at 100 (But, thank you for the reminder, I was told once about the least amount of grain when at 160 etc… I had forgotten and now I will remember to do that when shooting on my 40D, unfortunately, when I use my Rebel, it only goes in increments of 100). If a lower ISO then compromises a decently fast shutter speed when handholding, I adjust accordingly. For portraits I don’t like to go below 1/100 but have gotten by just fine slower, but handholding when I have a heavier lens I often get some camera shake even with IS lenses. I do not like using a tripod, though I have one.

    If you’re wondering why I sometimes prefer my Rebel T2i over the 40D, it is because the Rebel is 18 megapixels and the 40D is only 10. While this often doesn’t matter, I’ve wanted to make very large prints from images on the 40D and according to size charts, at the number of ppi the images are at by default, I don’t want to risk pixelation. Please, give me some insight on this if you have some. I’ve done some research but haven’t come up with a solid reason to use the 40D more. I believe it has more image sensors and is better with autofocus, and the CF cards save much quicker the SD cards the Rebel takes. It is also easier using the dials to change the f-stop and the joystick to change autofocus points without having to take the camera away from my eye, whereas the Rebel is clunky and you have to press buttons and go through menus to change some of this. I have used a 5D Mark II for a couple weddings and love the controls. I am possibly getting a used one for Christmas. It is truly amazing how little grain it produces at higher ISOs. I just cannot go up over 400 on my Rebel, whereas I shot in the church ceremonies at 1600 in some cases and it wasn’t too grainy.

    @Ggjo: I get very discouraged when I see people paying $25-$50 for just terrible work. It’s like the fauxtog got a camera (some I swear are point and shoot) and did just that- pointed, and shot, then burned the disk with 100 images with absolutely no care for posing, composition, lighting, focusing, etc. Now my images certainly aren’t perfect all the time! But these are things I always pay attention to. I ask myself also “Is this what people want?” but they’re just out to make a quick buck, taking pictures of 5 people per week and just burning them a disk so they don’t have to deal with anything.


    @Soaring: I had always thought the lower the ISO, the less noisy the image, so I found your reference to multiple of 160 interesting. I’ll have to try them when I shoot again.

    : Megapixels are way too overrated. It’s a marketing gimmick to get unsuspecting consumers to buy into the idea that more MP is better. I’ve successfully resized a 6 MP image at 240 PPI to a 16″ x 20″ with amazing results (no pixelation even when viewed from just a couple inches away). Theoretically then, you could take 10 MP to 20″ x 24″ or even 20″ x 30″ and 18 MP to 48″ x 60″ or even larger. Since one rarely views such images closer than a few feet away, some pixelation is not going to be noticed except by the most discerning of photographers or artists. I’ve used OnOneSoftware’s Perfect Resize to scale images quite large (300% – 400% in each direction) and the results have been amazing. There is other software that does the same thing but PR has been great for me at an affordable price.

    I shoot a lot of sporting activities, so the first thing for me is shutter speed, then aperture (usually 2.8) and then ISO (topping out at 1600 but only when ABSOLUTELY necessary). This is usually done in low light indoor arenas from the stands. I find that the 36 MP Nikon D800 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II (VR being Nikon speak for Canon’s IS) 1/500, f/2.8 and ISO 800 to be fantastic for this given the D800’s noise handling at higher ISOs. The D800 tops out at 5 fps with a grip, but I get the shot more often than not.

    @rrjo: I know exactly what you mean about anyone with a camera received at Christmas setting up shop on New Year’s. It happens here too. Continue to practice, shoot for free, develop your own style and in time you’ll have people outside of family and friends who recognize the value of your work and be willing to pay for it. Many aspiring photographers these days aren’t willing to put the time investment into building a business when all they see is dollar signs.

    @everyone: Google “photography what I really do”. Note that in the “six perception” images that come up, the last step is post production, even if it means just a little bit after striving to get it right in camera in the first place.


    Thank you Sharra. While I don’t often order very large prints for people I will check into those programs. I like having more image to work with also when editing. For those images that I get that aren’t tack-sharp (yes, it’s something I’m working on to figure out why I sometimes get perfect sharp images and sometimes do not), when I blow it up to do some editing on the skin and eyes it’s fuzzy. “They” say you don’t need more than 10 mp to create excellent images. But I’ll have to do some testing with prints to really be sure for myself. And I believe both of my cameras make 240 dpi images by default.

    I also love my new Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS (optical stabilization) for portraits. I love the compression of DOF, but my issue occasionally like I said is the camera shake is more pronounced the more I’m zoomed in. I bought this to replace my JUNK kit lens, the EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6. While it’s a nice little lens with a good focal range for nature shots, and is lightweight, I will never use it for portraits again after wanting to throw out every portrait I shot with it. Nature/flower/etc. shots seem to be ok, with slight lack of clarity much less evident than in a portrait. I thought about selling it for $150 but I think that I’ll keep it, and once I get the 5DII I’ll just keep it to take on my Rebel for when I go hiking around and don’t want to chance damaging a more expensive camera/lens out in nature, and plus, the person I bought it from included a UV filter which is great for shooting water, you don’t get sun glare. My Rebel will be my toy camera.

    This winter, with a lack of clients wanting portraits done, I’m planning a fun shoot with a girl who does makeup art on the side, to work on exposing for snow/cool winter tones, and focusing better on faces, even while shivering. Might be a challenge but I need to do it.

    If anyone is wondering about my progression of skill, I received my first DSLR I think at the end of 2009. It was a Panasonic, piece of junk, super color-noisy, and you couldn’t even change the lens. I didn’t even know what the difference of any focal length meant, could not remember if a higher f-stop or lower f-stop gave you more light, and I didn’t even know what the heck ISO meant or how it related to the picture. I feel that I’ve come A LONG way since then.



    I think at the moment it’s a Canon thing. It’s more natural for ISO to be 160 than it is to be 100. I haven’t really done my research with other brands but it’s definitely a thing for Canon.


    Have you thought about getting the Canon 70-200? The IS on it is great. Definitely reduces shake even when shooting at 200mm


    I’m going to have to set up a test and try out an ISO 160 noise test.

    — Camera shake is more noticeable at longer focal lengths.  This is why very few short lenses have image stabilization and most of the long lenses do.  It is also the reason for the rule of thumb that shutter speed should be at least 1/<focal length>.  That rule does nothing to stop motion blur caused by a moving subject but it does tend to minimize blur caused by moving the camera.   The Canon 70-200 has a stabilizer mode switch to facilitate panning in mode 2.  Probably the Sigma has a similar arrangement.  Make sure the switches are set correctly.  Stabilization should come on when the shutter button is depressed half way for focusing.  You should be able to see the effect through the viewfinder and if you are in a very quiet room you may be able to hear the stabilizer come on.  As one of the other commenters mentioned, I am not a fan of tilted images but leaving that aside, I saw some photos I really liked.  I have a 30D which takes pretty good photos but is only 8 mpx.  I also have a Rebel T2i, which I carry when travelling or when I am just out wandering around.  I find it light and very capable although other models have stronger auto-focus.  It has very good noise control, a 5D Mk III is only about a stop or stop and a half better.  Any model 5 is full frame so you cannot use the EF-S lenses, you have to have EF lenses.  If you are using Sigma lenses, you have to use DG lenses, the DC lenses are only for APS-C sensor (crop) bodies.


    — Most people will accept you as being whatever you say you are, if you can say it with a straight face.  Educated customers should be able to discern which photographers are really good and which are clueless.

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