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

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  • #14996
    IHF
    Member

    you invited opinions and criticism from the people on this public forum. You said “feel free” and out right asked, knowing full well we don’t hold back here.

    Quit with the temper tantrum name calling, it makes you look silly.

    So only snap shots for the past 10 years, and you’ve been shooting digital for the past 13 years. So you have about 3 years of broken experience shooting seriously in this medium? Maybe more time behind the camera is what you need? Then again, rpg has only been shooting a matter of months, and seems to have a better handle on things and a better understanding than yourself. So maybe time in is irrelevant? Not that I disagree with your critique you gave to rpg’s photos, and I’m sure he will take note even though he thinks your work is bad. your criticism was spot on, and holds merit, and I’m sure he can see that. (If not, wake up rpg) This is why I’d put my money on him if this was a race to become a competent professional photographer.

    But, what do I know? I’m just an amateur who’s only been shooting about three years (or maybe it’s four now? I don’t know, I don’t keep track of things that don’t really matter to my photography) You can go ahead and discount my critique as well because I am not a pro, and other than a collection of conceptual portraits I’m working on, and family/friends for fun, portraits aren’t what I shoot. Plus, I have really bad eyesight to boot.

    Camera clicker, you rock! Seriously you are such a cool dude, and you are so much help. Thank you for all the knowledge you share with us. I get so much from your posts, but you were way too generous here. I think I know of the type of photographers you speak of. the “workman” type. Their work is consistent, reliable, clean, and no nonsense. They know how to work in shitty light, and when confronted with it, they problem solve, and they sure as hell don’t create shitty light. No fru fru artsy fartsy, WOW! In your face, just straight up good clean stuff. I have the utmost respect for them. And out of all the photographer friends I have made during this time in my life, that handful of togs are the most helpful, and most critical. They are who I turn to when I have a technical type problem or any sort of confusion. Absolutely none of them would want their work to be grouped up with Brian’s work. I just don’t see what you are seeing. Unless I somehow misunderstood the type of professional you are speaking of?

    Brian, please don’t charge these people you will be practicing on. It’s just not right. This type of thing is why this site was created in the first place. Please reconsider And wait until you have a better handle on things

    #14998
    OldClicks
    Member

    I already made a very good living as a professional photographer. I’ve contracted with one commercial client for six years. The photo labs that printed my color sent me business on a regular basis too. Referrals from clients kept me about as busy as I wanted to be. But there’s no way today’s market, saturated as it has become, could ever support me in the manner my current employment does. So the title “professional” means little to me. I want to continue where I left off, but obviously need to brush up on some basics, while learning new skills.

    #15000
    nesgran
    Member

    I think you are being a bit harsh saying it is front page worthy, the blue baby with awful graphics yes but the rest aren’t.

    #15001

    I’m not a wedding/event/portrait photographer so take my advice with a grain of salt!  But here are my suggestions.

    I think one the biggest issues with your event photography is your use of DOF – everything seems done with a very tight aperture so your subjects aren’t isolated.  Shallower DOF would make your photos seem much more professional and less like they’ve been done by someone with a point & shoot on auto.

    Also your framing – here’s an example of a shot that’s (a) way too wide and (b) has way too deep DOF so your eye really isn’t drawn to the subject of the shot.  Most photographers would crop this way tighter and use a much shallower DOF.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613785525332152&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384008466.&type=3&theater

    Also looks like you were stuck shooting in some pretty harsh mid-day light – but there’s still some pretty hardcore blown-out / overexposed shots like these ones:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613785071998864&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384008507.&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613785181998853&set=a.613785038665534.1073741836.591852427525462&type=3&theater

    I would consider culling the shots you share on facebook a bit – not many people are going to want to pay for the kind of shots i’m highlighting (I wouldn’t).

     

    #15003
    OldClicks
    Member

    @thewestbackline – I don’t disagree about the dance photo. That photo was shot with my 17-40, and as much as I prefer shallow DOF, it’s not always possible with that lens. The chairs at the edges are a mess too. No one caught the blown out church steeple growing out of the groom’s head, but I think we can agree that photo would have been better served by a longer lens/wider aperture.

    The blown out photo of the groom? Yeah, looks like some bad old family print off Kodachrome, but the bride liked that look. (I’m not someone who considers blown out, contrasty photos “art”, but there was a time when some considered that to be) Probably a bad choice for inclusion.

    In the photo of the bride and groom where her dress is blown out, you see a dress with no highlight detail. The bride, groom, and all of their friends see a creeper best man photobomb, and they loved this image because of it. Would anyone want a print of this? No. But they’ll acknowledge that I caught the little moments that made their wedding memorable. There’s nothing special about this image either, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613785111998860&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1383985382.&type=3&theater, but it serves the same purpose.

    We should all strive for technically perfect photos, but not at the expense of missing the “decisive moment”.

    #15005
    emf
    Member

    I think it’s fine that the clients liked these things. People who don’t really know about the medium go for all sorts of technically flawed things; however I’m not sure they should be included in your online portfolio, i.e. you fb page. I agree with others that a cull is in order.

    Also, I think the images with the graphics and backdrops are VERY dated, and look rather cheesy. I must admit that if I were looking for a photographer and that was the first image I saw I would turn back. I’m sure some people love it, but imho it may turn off more prospective clients than not. Just my opinion.

     

    #15006

    I suppose this could have been made worse with some spot colour and a nice white vignette.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606229989421039&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384025286.&type=3&theater

    Honestly, I think your stuff would have looked dated 15 years ago.

    You really don’t seem to have grasp the point of Facebook ( or possible the internet) It’s a classic faux mistake, putting everything you shoot on line. It’s no good coming on here and defending crap images, they should never have been uploaded. If these are you best work then I’d have to agree with everyone else.

    Fauxtog pictures and attitude.

    #15007
    OldClicks
    Member

    emf – your comments are absolutely valid, and appreciated. I think what some people on this forum might be missing is that “good” photography doesn’t have to mean “fine art” photography. We have all seen photos that are perfect in every technical aspect, yet lack any sort of emotion. And being successful commercially requires both.

    Step back a bit, and look at my Facebook page not as an online portfolio, but as a marketing tool. Although I did link to it from this site, everyone else who views it is not doing so with the critical eye of a photographer. They’re comparing it to “their uncle with that fancy (digital Rebel) camera”, or other local photographers. If I want to make money from my work (which isn’t a concern right now), I don’t need to compete with you guys, I only need to be better than my competition.

    You don’t have to like the graphics or the backdrops either. I put those out there to gauge the response from prospective clients. If no one likes them, they’ll go away. If the response is positive, then I will have to make decisions on whether I want to spend more time taking photos, or processing images. Personally, I would rather take photos. But business stagnates without some market research and experimentation.

    I’d be interested in reading what other members do as far as marketing, and how they find new clients.

    #15008

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606229599421078&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384025286.&type=3&theater

    And you have the cheek to point out a security  camera in a shot by some one who didn’t ask for a critique!

     

    #15010
    OldClicks
    Member

    Yes, yes I do. Again, the security camera image was in someone’s portfolio. That’s their “best work”. The Facebook page is a marketing tool – images with a purpose, not my “best work”.

    #15011
    emf
    Member

     

    Step back a bit, and look at my Facebook page not as an online portfolio, but as a marketing tool. Although I did link to it from this site, everyone else who views it is not doing so with the critical eye of a photographer. They’re comparing it to “their uncle with that fancy (digital Rebel) camera”, or other local photographers. If I want to make money from my work (which isn’t a concern right now), I don’t need to compete with you guys, I only need to be better than my competition.

    I’m sorry, I disagree OldClicks, your FB page should only include your best – i.e. portfolio standard. I hope I’m not being stupid but surely your portfolio is your marketing tool? All other images should be reserved for client only areas.

     

    #15012
    OldClicks
    Member

    This may sound unusual to many of you, but my portfolio is just that – a portfolio. People flip (not click) through it, because it’s made up of prints.

    #15015
    emf
    Member

    It doesn’t sound unusual to me – or most I guess, I’m a fine artist and do understand the concept of a portfolio – but I think you can/should have an online one too. Ok, it’s better to see actual prints, drawings, paintings whatever, but an online one is instant and more accessible.  I think it would be beneficial to you to research and check out FB pages of photographers who have outstanding FB pages or indeed websites.

    I disagree with you when you say that you only have to be better than your competition – this is your art, you should strive to be the best you can, not just settle for being better than your local fauxs.

    #15018

    Thanks, I hate Fauxtography!  I will stand by my assessment of Brian.  I think your description of “workman like” agrees with mine, or may be slightly elevated from mine, and I think Brian falls into that group.  I think he has been sideswiped by digital, but I see a lot in his work that suggests the 600 events.  What I see that distinguishes his photos from what I perceive fauxtographer’s work to be, are samples like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606229429421095&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384022089.&type=3&theater

    This is from the same group and might be an even better example:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606229499421088&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384022089.&type=3&theater

    They are standing in front of a stained glass window, lit from behind, and wearing black suits.  The average fauxtographer has extreme difficulty with this sort of photo but in these, the skin looks pretty good and you can see the detail in the suits.

    Someone has a sense of humour!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=606230132754358&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384022089.&type=3&theater

    What an expression!  The background is in focus and not very clean, but she is in focus and her dress is not blown out.  I don’t know if it should make the wedding album, but it’s a great photo!  She’s spread out across the whole frame and since she is holding the strawberrys in one hand and holding someone else’s hand with the other, it would be difficult to crop without losing part of the story.  Posed, or grab shot?  I don’t know, but definitely you shoot it now or it’s gone.

    I’m not a fan of the practice of cake in the face,

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613785885332116&set=pb.591852427525462.-2207520000.1384022089.&type=3&theater

    But, this seems to be a flash photo, yet the background didn’t get much light and his face is not blown out, which suggests control.

    Some other photos have wedding dresses over exposed by half a stop or so, which probably wouldn’t bother print film, and a good lab would dodge and burn a little to get the detail.  I think once he gets his monitor calibrated and sorts out the differences between film and digital, he will be back to producing consistent quality at an acceptable level.

     

    Sandy Tam is a photographer where I live, so a lot of her backgrounds are immediately recognized by me.  She created quite a stir with this:  http://www.chfi.com/2012/05/24/wedding-photo-in-the-middle-yonge-dundas-intersection/

    Her blog post for it, hopefully, is here:

    http://sandytam.ca/blog/view/184

    Weddings start at $3,000.  She has great photos that tell stories and I bet her customers love them.  Her photos are pretty consistent.  She has the planning and staff to pull off a photo shoot in the middle of one of Toronto’s busier intersections during the all-ways-walk signal.  She has shot a lot, and has beautiful galleries.  Can we still pick her photos apart and see things we would like done better?  Well, yes.  Does that matter?  Probably not.

     

    In engineering, there is the principle of “good enough”.   If you use materials that are too good, the product is too expensive, or it lasts too long and no one ever needs to buy a second one, either way you go out of business.  So, you engineer it to be good enough.  Good enough varies by market and may change over time.  During the first 100 years of the phone industry, 99.999% reliability was the target.  The last 10 to 15 years, that has been slipping as people have moved to cell phones and more features while caring less about reliability and more about cost.  NASA probably had a higher reliability target because riding a bomb into space is just plain dangerous.  Most products are made with commercial grade components instead of military grade because the cost is less, and reliability is not that critical.  I’m coming to suspect the same thing applies to photography.  Lots of people seem to be driven by cost rather than quality, so there is a bit of a race to the bottom.

     

    When I was growing up, Time, Life and National Geographic were considered to be where the great photographers were working.  Thanks to YouTube, you can see a video of Joe McNally, working on the Sense of Sight photos, here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VacqxeJ8AN8.

    The video shows why National Geographic has such great photo spreads!  It was a large story, it took a year, something like 40 photos on 40 pages.  More than 1200 rolls of film, so 43,200 + photos are whittled down to 80 which are presented to the senior folks, and eventually those  are whittled down to those few that are printed.  If you watch the video, listen to what they are saying about the photos and the selection process.

    I started shooting slide film.  I shot a little print film, a little B&W.  The first photo I saw, that I was told was digital, was in 1996.  It was 2002 before I got a good digital camera.  I got a cheap digital camera in late 2001 or early 2002.  Coming from film, there has been a lot to learn.  I started shooting JPEGs at 1024 by 768 because they fit my monitor, now I shoot to raw files almost 6000 px wide because that is the sensor size, and I regret some of the early photos because I did not shoot them to raw, even though I could have, had I understood …

    There is a lot of information out there.  Unfortunately, not all of it is accurate.  Sometimes it is just different ways of looking at things, sometimes it’s just bad information.  Figuring out what is accurate and what is not has been time consuming and expensive, but also enjoyable.  And then there is art, which for someone with an orientation toward science, can be daunting.  It’s coming along.  There is still a lot to learn.

    Back to Brian for just a moment longer, he pointed out he has an understanding of his local demographics and that affects the work he does for others.  Sure sign of a business person.  And, not a bad thing.  We moan and bitch about fauxtographers who have customers, but no quality in their photos; while it breaks my heart that the customers receive such poor quality product, it is impressive that the fauxtographers apparently receive payment.  If Brian sticks around for a while, perhaps he can provide useful marketing and sales suggestions.

    #15019
    OldClicks
    Member

    Once I have more current images that are appropriate for my market, I’ll have a portfolio online. California, Australia, and Utah have very different demographics.

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