Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Hmmm…. this may be scary

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  • #4274
    erikahat
    Member

    Ok, I have wanted to post mine for awhile but I was scared. You guys may rip me apart. I guess we shall see. I could use a good evaluation, hopefully it doesn’t end in tears. My most recent stuff is all on facebook, the website needs updates badly.

    So here’s the link…. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Erika-Hatfield-Photography/119281728713?fref=ts

    {cringing in fear}

    #4276

    All in all, not too bad. You have a very good eye and you get really good emotions out of your subjects, which is great. On the other hand, your technical skills are definitely not up to pro level yet and your decision to go into business was a very hasty one. You are just making far too many mistakes to have the consistency to be charging.

    Judging by the progress you’ve made in the last year, I’d say that if you buckle down and really learn to make the environment work for you instead of against you you’ll be up to that level in a year-18 months though.

    The biggest things to work on:

    Lighting: Your in studio is a little weak but coming along, Unfortunately, when you shoot outside, it looks like you just sort of put the people where you want them and pray the lighting goes your way. Sometimes it is really nice, sometimes it is downright terrible. Almost anything you can do in the studio can be done outside with nothing but the big light source in the sky, a reflector, and a little planning and ingenuity. That is how I do 99% of my outdoor work, it is limiting, but worth the effort.

    Composition: in particular posing, You are not alone in this, but you can’t pose guys the same way you pose women. For example, in this photo
    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/66106_10151296421853714_1600870109_n.jpg
    you’ve got him posed with a feminine head tilt and her posed with a masculine one. This is an incredibly common problem that I run into when I work with female photographers, they are just not sensitive to issues involving masculinity because men and women look at it differently. Guys should always be presented in a masculine way. There are degrees of this, when I work with male models who are naturally more feminine, I have to strike a balance between the two.
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/432016_10151183426813714_1015714436_n.jpg
    This image is a good example of this, it is an extremely feminine pose. This compounds the fact that the model is already skinny and is young enough that his features are still very soft. A lot of this you just have to use your best judgement on, but this is a common problem in your work. Also, generally speaking, no crotchflashing in photos either.

    Railroad tracks: It is a violation of federal law to shoot on the railroad tracks. I know a photographer currently doing time for this offense. Please stop doing it

    Color: This is all over the place. It isn’t the mix of warm and cool that you normally get in a good portfolio, it is just all over the place with the color not really complementing the subject matter, you have muted colors in happy shots, bright colors in serious shots, with no rhyme nor reason to it.

    Work on those things and you’ll see a lot of improvement in very short order. You’re close enough to being there, I wouldn’t close up shop, instead I’d recommend you tell your clients that you’re going on sabbatical for a year while you take the time off to learn. Also find a high-end pro and volunteer for him or her. This will help you a lot because you’ll get regular one on one feedback from someone who can help you along.

    Also read this: http://chamberlaindigital.com/bwadjustment.pdf

    #4277
    erikahat
    Member

    Thank you so much for your critique. You brought up several things I had no idea I needed to work on and a few things I am currently working on improving. I had no idea about the railroad tracks, the last 3 times I did railroad tracks it was because the client asked, now I can tell them that it is illegal! Now to figure out how to pay the rent for my studio while I’m on sabbatical for a year…. hmmmm.

    #4278
    Gnork
    Member

    To go along with the posing discussion, this photo is another example:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151285306528714&set=a.10151285305898714.531945.119281728713&type=3&theater

    Several of the men look like they need a desperate run to the restroom. Also, I also can’t decide if this was shot on a hill, or the frame is just tilted.

     

    You seem to connect with your clients, and you’re clearly good at the business aspect of photography, since you’ve had so many clients. Overall, I’m not blown away by your work. You are definitely lacking in several technical skills, but that’s not my biggest problem with your work. My biggest concern is your pricing. I won’t go in to session and print pricing; the one that blows my mind is the disc with all ordered images. $1500? I understand that I live in a more economically depressed area than you, but that still seems steep, even accounting for higher cost of living. It’s made even worse by the fact that the disc doesn’t include all edited images, just the images they ordered. So my question for you- Does anyone actually buy that disc from you? If so, send them my way; I’ve got some swamp land in Florida to sell them.

     

    #4279
    erikahat
    Member

    The disc is a bonus level item, so I give it free with a $1500 purchase. I do of course give it away lower on occasion, and have let people purchase it for $200 after $x order. I do always include every image taken on the disc, although the price list does not say this. I forgot I never changed that on there. In the future, I will send them to you to buy swamp land instead.

    #4286
    Sharra
    Moderator

    Erika, MBC knows his stuff so don’t ignore it. I’ve learned not to.

    MBC, thanks for your real website and the name. 🙂 I’ve downloaded the PDF; it’ll take me some time to get my head wrapped around it!

    #4288

    Yeah, that little article shows my inner geek a little doesn’t it. It’s actually not nearly as complicated as it looks, the text explains the progressive breakdown of the tool into its component bits, then I offer a couple conclusions on it.

    Erika, I would advise against putting every image you shoot on a disc. Remember that your clients don’t know thing one about photography, they will inevitably pick the worst photo in the batch and show that to all their friends. I give my clients very limited options to choose from, this not only ensures that they fall in love with the best possible photo, but it also avoids confusing the clients. Back when I was shooting commercial I learned very quickly to pre-edit my film before I took it to the client. It is better to show the client 10 stellar images than 10 stellar images mixed in with 20 pretty good images, 20 ok images, and 50 what the heck was I thinking images. It not only serves as a sign of professionalism, but clients will assume that every photo you took was amazing, and these are the best of the best.

    My culling method is as follows. I look through all the shots, and either “pick” or “reject” them out of hand. Sometimes it is technical, and I’ll toss a photo for being a half a stop over exposed or because the model turned her head slightly and killed the Rembrandt lighting effect I was going for sometimes it is for stuff like blinking, a rouge reflection, etc. Basically, if I don’t see anything that makes me want to give them another look, away they go, this eliminates 50-60 shots out of 100. I then mark all the images 3 stars out of 5 and go through them a second time. I take a little longer on each image asking up to 4 or down to 2, the twos and threes get rejected and unless it is an event when the threes get relegated to a backup list, usually stuff that will get used as filler for wedding albums and stuff like that. Eliminating another 20-30 shots. Then I go through the 4’s carefully and graduate them up to a 5 if they are really stand out as technically, emotionally, and artistically sound. This leaves me with 8-10 images on average from a shoot, and those are the only ones I shot my client. I will sometimes include a few of the fours if there is a pose or a shot or two I think the client will want to buy. This works very well for me, I can get through all the major processing for a wedding (700-1000 shots) in a little less than two hours so I can work more efficiently and devote my time to the most important images.

    #4530
    fstopper89
    Member

    I agree 100% with MBC’s last post above. His workflow is similar to mine, assuming he uses Lightroom to import and rate/pick/reject his images right away. I do the same. I import all the images from a shoot (typically, for an average family shoot, it’s somewhere over 100, a wedding, just over 1000). Before doing any editing, I plug in my external hard drive and do an immediate backup. Occasionally, my Macbook overheats and since I only have 4 gb of RAM (when I can afford it, I will be upgrading to a newer computer that can take 8, it’s a huge inconvenience.) and when it overheats sometimes Lightroom crashes and whichever image it was trying to read on force-quit, it becomes corrupted. Since I have the images backed up I can just re-import that one. Anyways, I go through and eliminate any bad ones. Then I also rate the rest with stars. I usually present the clients with 30 ish finished images, and those are the best of the best. I NEVER include the unedited or RAW files on the disk. (I give my clients the option to purchase the disk with print release, or to purchase prints from me). My contract states all this. You should not show clients your so-so or bad images because he’s right, they’ll see those and use that in their overall impression of your work. MBC, I envy that you can get the majority of a wedding done in 2 hours. I can’t wait to be that good someday. Right now since I have another job and photography is not my main source of income, I have to unfortunately work around that stuff and I procrastinate a little.

    To the original poster- the others are right, you need to work on technical skills a bit. When I first started I didn’t know the importance of using my ISO and aperture correctly depending on the situation. I can tell you shoot at an f-stop around 8 maybe? You should shoot much lower than that, especially when it’s only one or two people in the photo. You need to isolate your subject from the background much more. I’m not trying to be mean, but a few of those images I feel like anybody could have taken with their point-and-shoot. The angle too is just blah. Like this one: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151337157193714&set=pb.119281728713.-2207520000.1352771548&type=3&theater . However, I think this image is great! I maybe would have adjusted the white balance a bit, but there’s evident emotion and the image looks much sharper. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151285307153714&set=pb.119281728713.-2207520000.1352771642&type=3&theater . Overall, I think some of your images are MUCH stronger and more technically-sound than others.

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