Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Feel free to turn your critical eye my way

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    I started off shooting film, moved out of the country years ago, and when I returned, everyone was doing digital. Poorly. I sold my studio gear and hung up my camera, since I wasn’t about to compete with amateurs for peanuts. But my wife and I decided to get back into photography, so here I am. Am I out of touch, truly bad, or just a bit rusty?


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    you’ve got a very steady foundation from the film days but you have a lot of digital to master. The big problem is that your colours are completely whack. I see blue babies, wildly varying colour between each shot in a series. Do you print yourself? If you do, print 2x3s of one of the weddings you shot, lay them out next to each other in chronological order and see if you’re happy with the colour consistency. Otherwise get them up as thumbnails on the computer, if you are using windows go for extra large icons and see what it looks like.

    As for the photos themselves, why hardly any candid shots? Are they all posed? Here I’m mostly thinking of the weddings. When it comes to portraits, they look much the same with the same framing, the same pose. You will need to vary things a lot more if you are going to put that many photos next to each other online. You probably need to get out of the each frame must count mentality we had in the film days. Looking at the teenage girls they are almost all head and shoulders portraits, it gets a little monotonous looking at them.

    I would also suggest consider doing local exposure adjustments in post, for example bride walking down path, Sharon. She is very dark and if you lifted exposure of her skin by a stop she’d stand out far more giving you a nicer photo. It would basically work like a bit of fill flash, obviously don’t go overboard but I trust you to know what makes photos stand out from the crowd. Realistically that shot would have been better to be taken with a flash from the start

    Rpg Valentine

    am not gonna sugar coat it . Your work is pretty bad . You claim to have 20+ years doing it right ? Did you even study lighting , posing , post , different lenses , etc in those 20+ years ? I think you just bought a camera and started charging people to take there pics . I feel you dont have passion for photography , and only do it for the money . “hung up my camera, since I wasn’t about to compete with amateurs for peanuts ”


    You sir are a FAUXTOGRAPHER !


    @nesgran – thank you for the insight. You are correct about the color. I didn’t realize until I viewed some images on my laptop just how off the colors are on my monitors. I have plans to upgrade them, and do some sort of calibration. Although the blue skin tones seem to be limited to the images shot in front of the green screen, rather than using a backdrop.

    As for the headshots, that’s always been my preference. Since I was taking the images for myself, I cropped tight. One group of photos was taken under terrible lighting conditions, at a cemetery. So a long lens was used to keep background distractions to a minimum. I don’t like the fact that my sync speed is limited to 1/200 or 1/250, when I could go to 1/400 or 1/500 with film, depending on the camera.

    Not sure which photo of Sharon you’re referring to.

    @Rpg Valentine – I don’t see a link to your photos, and your comments are of zero value, making you an ineffective armchair critic, at best. It’s ironic that we can say possession of a camera doesn’t automatically grant a person the title “photographer”, but having nothing more than a computer can certainly turn someone such as yourself into a douchebag. In all fairness, I suspect you would be one without a computer as well, if the above is your idea of constructive criticism.

    But I will still answer your questions. Yes, I studied lighting, posing, the importance of lens selection, flash, mixed lighting, and printing. Lots of printing. I even took an offset printing course to get a better understanding of shooting for publication. And I spent a lot of time doing something you’re probably not familiar with – actual printing from negatives. It’s a great way to learn about exposure, composition, contrast range, and the differences between portrait work and commercial work for publication. I have not spent much time using Photoshop, other than minor adjustments. I used to have an assistant who was also the printer at a professional photo lab, back when I shot film. She was there when I took the photos, and knew exactly what I expected of my prints. I suppose now I will have to spend more time at the computer, and less time behind my camera. The other point that you got completely wrong, poor grammar aside, was that I “do it for the money”. I’m at an age where my job affords me the luxury of pursuing hobbies, so I can take photos because I enjoy photography, not because I need to make money. Yes, I may charge people as I see fit, but I could just as easily work for free.




    Wow!  Harsh!

    I think most of Brian’s photos are comparable to a lot of professional photographer’s work.  It’s workman like, rather than “Wow!”  A quick blast through a gallery and every photo seems to have something in focus.  The wedding photos look like he subscribes to “f/8 and don’t be late.”  It’s the sort of photography that makes me cringe when I hear someone saying “professional” when they mean “good” rather than “paid”  I don’t think it falls into the fauxtography class that we see on the front page, or generally complain about in the forums here.

    That said, it could still stand some improvement.

    The studio photos of the one year old, and the bride from the wedding set, (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=638583476185690&set=a.638583239519047.1073741839.591852427525462&type=1&theater) look like they are pasted onto a painted backdrop.  It would be nice if they seemed to be separated from it.

    Some wedding photos look posed and some look candid.  Nothing screamed at me, either good or bad.

    Nesgran pointed out digital is not film.  That sounds like it should be obvious, but experience has shown many photographers who are not also engineers don’t really comprehend the differences.  I know an awesome photographer who shoots large format landscapes.  He got a Canon 60D, and struggled until he worked out the differences between film and digital.   A few quick thoughts:

    With film, you pay by the roll.  With digital, you pay by the body and a body is good for somewhere between 100,000 and 400,000 photos depending on the body.  Your manual will tell you the shutter rating of your body.

    With film, you shoot a roll, then give it to your lab to process (OK some people do their own processing), with digital, the lab is in your camera, or in your computer.  Usually the computer version is the better lab.  Shoot to raw files.  Think of them as negatives.  Convert to JPEG in the computer.  That will let you get back blown out backgrounds like in https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606229502754421&set=a.606229376087767.1073741834.591852427525462&type=1&theater.  It will also allow you to drag detail out of shadow.  It is best to nail the exposure when taking the photo but some scenes have more dynamic range than JPEG can handle (some even have more than raw can handle, hence HDR) and using lights to compensate is not always feasible.   It won’t solve everything but if you have raw files, you can recover a lot.

    Unless you have an incredible film lab, what you shoot is what you get.  With digital, you can shoot to raw, then adjust exposure 3 or 4 stops in either direction, for all or part of a photo.  You can change white balance a lot.  You can add or remove saturation.  There has to be over a dozen ways of converting to B&W should you desire.  Double exposures are a breeze since you can do them from separate photos in the computer, so you can shoot the first exposure today and then take dozens of other shots before shooting the second half of the double, and you can shoot both at the correct exposure for that shot.  When you put them together, you can adjust the opacity of each, independently.

    With film, the emulsion is part of the film, and every image gets a new piece of film (unless you are doing double exposures).  If you get dirt in the camera, it sticks to the film and gets wound onto the spool, then washed off in the developer stage.  If you get dirt in a digital, it sits on the sensor and causes grief for dozens of photos!  Film, is immediately behind the shutter.  A digital sensor is a wafer of several layers, and in many cameras, one of those layers is an anti-aliasing filter designed to remove moire patterns.  It is expected that you will restore the sharpness that is removed by the filter, during post processing.

    Facebook is not the best place for photos.  Between a bad user agreement, their stripping EXIF data, and the things their compression does to photos, there are many sins.  Flickr is free, and better.  There are other sites as well.  Flickr is a good choice for here because you can put a Flickr link on its own line here and the image will appear in-line.  Clicking on the image will take you to the Flickr page, where you can see it full size, with EXIF data and any comments that were added.

    Film can see UV, so a UV filter is useful for removing it.  Digital does not see UV, so a UV filter is just mechanical protection for your front element and a useful place to smear Vasoline, should you be into that.  Polarizing filters come in a couple of flavours.  You want the Circular Polarizer variety so it will not interfere with auto-focus.

    What you know about gelling flash to balance mixed lighting still applies.  Mixed light is one area where the white balance latitude of a raw file will not save you.  If you have white light in the foreground and yellow light in the background, for instance. It is possible to fix that in post but it is a pain!  It is easier to fix it when shooting — assuming you want the light to be all the same colour instead of adding atmosphere.

    This list isn’t anywhere near exhaustive.  There is lot’s more, but it will get you started.  It’s still light and shadow, but some of the tools have changed dramatically.  Enjoy!



    to be honest…oh gosh, this is difficult for me to say, but If I was to take away all the background information you gave us, and the info provided in your “about” and mentaly changed it to something like “Hi! I’m new to photography, but always had an interest since I was a young girl and bought my first point and shoot. After getting my first real camera after the birth of my precious little boy this past spring and falling in love with it, I’ve decided to take my passion to the next level and capture all of your precious memories you”. Or if I simply, was given no information at all and were just given your images to view…

    I’d have to say, you currently are a fauxtog. Lighting issues, posing issues, color issues, composition issues…

    I completely understand that transitioning to digital from film is very strange/foreign/, and can be quite a long challenging process, but light, posing, composition, work quite the same no matter the camera/equipment used, and when I see you are struggling with all of the above, it makes me question those 20+ years of experience. I’m going to have to agree with rpg as much as I truly don’t want to.



    Wait a minute

    “13 years shooting digital” I guess you’ve already had plenty of time to transition then?


    I don’t like the fact that my sync speed is limited to 1/200 or 1/250, when I could go to 1/400 or 1/500 with film, depending on the camera.

    Medium format cameras haven’t changed much, sync speed remains as it was.  But the cost of some digital backs may make your head spin.  Back in the days of the Canon FTb (a film SLR), sync was at 1/60th, so it has improved a lot over the last 40 years!  If you are shooting with Canon or Nikon, and perhaps others, and you have the right flash, you can use High Speed Sync.  Flash power is reduced but it is effective for many situations and you can add extra units to get more power if desired.


    @Rpg Valentine – I don’t see a link to your photos, …

    Visit this post:  https://youarenotaphotographer.com/forums/topic/am-i-a-fauxtog-4/

    Rpg Valentine

    Thanks, Rpg Valentine.  Really like some of your photos!

    Rpg Valentine

    @ cameraclicker


    thanks 🙂


    Jesus, OC, the photos are really bad. Curious to see what your film work looked like. The technical issues aside, it doesn’t appear you know how to light, pose or, really, take photographs at all.

    You really seem to favor this photo, since you decided to make it your profile picture: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=638585066185531&set=a.592053060838732.1073741827.591852427525462&type=1&theater

    It’s not good. Shooting digital doesn’t mean you enhance photographs with shitty graphics. You can let publications do that for you.

    I don’t really come from a film world. I learned on film. This means that I shot film, developed B&W in the beginning and then eventually started paying someone else to process negatives. Then I switched to transparency b/c it was actually saving me money (and time) while on a college student budget and then transferred those transparencies to digital by scanning on a drum scanner. My transition into shooting digital was made very easy by the fact that transparency and digital were very similar. Transparency was incredibly sensitive to exposure compared to negative film. In a lot of ways it still is. So while I don’t have decades of experience with film, I can say that I truly and completely understand it.

    That being said, film is completely dead. Aside from a few magazines, it’s not being used at all. Conde Nast Traveler was using it, but they just fired almost their entire photo team…and I think that means that film photography won’t be used anymore. It doesn’t matter if that is a good or bad thing. Magazines are dying a slow death anyways. In the meantime, photographers have to shoot digital these days. It’s not even a real question anymore. The most important aspect is whether a photographer can shoot amazing photographs. From what I’ve seen, you cannot. And given that there isn’t that tremendous amount of a learning curve anymore, because digital can be amazing even with super cheap cameras and shitty photographers with a little bit of good luck, you gotta bring it, man. And you aren’t.

    I agree with the naysayers here. Your work is very bad. It’s fauxtog/front page material.

    Don’t take it too personally though. It’s not like you are the only one. There’s an entire fucking website devoted to it.


    Seriously? I haven’t done much more than casual snapshots in the last ten years, but how the fuck can this tool think he has any right to be critical of other photographer’s work?

    Was there some reason you didn’t crop out the out of focus blob in the foreground here? http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpgvalentine/10505498963/

    Does this woman actually have a security camera growing out of her head? http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpgvalentine/10505350744/

    Is this an example of a good candid shot, or a properly posed shot? http://www.flickr.com/photos/rpgvalentine/10393056805/



    Flickr may be great for sharing your photos online, and if that works for you, go for it. But the advantage of Facebook as a marketing tool shouldn’t be overlooked. The images I put up there may not the best, but they’re still better than any of the tragic images I’ve seen on here. And when I posted them, they were shared and commented on, which allows me to reach my target audience.

    Back on topic, I still welcome pointers from those of you that know what you’re talking about, and aren’t just blowing smoke. Cameraclicker nailed it with his “f8 and don’t be late” comment. I did event photography in SoCal where we contracted with the venue to provide photos of their clients, but the venue owner had very specific requirements. At the time, I was interested in paying off my photo gear (and home), so I did as instructed for about 600 events. That left me in a nice place financially, but not artistically. Medium format B&W was a nice creative outlet.

    Demographics has played a huge role too. My former portrait clientele consisted of dual income families, usually with one or two children. Now I am surrounded by large, single income families, and they are not very sophisticated consumers. Even if they can be educated about what good photography is, the majority cannot afford it. At least I have a never-ending supply of subjects to practice on. It shouldn’t take me long to get back up to speed with my new gear, but I’m not going to kid myself into thinking this is a highly profitable venture. As I acknowledged in my into, I feel I am a bit rusty. But I have the means to purchase whatever gear I need, and the patience to continue learning, along with the humility to accept valid criticism.

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