Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Hobbyist … start charging?


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    Hello Photogs and Fauxtogs. I am sort of in a bind. I have a been a hobbyist-amatuer for about 6 years now. Mainly doing weddings and favors model shots for friends and families. I have a full time job that pays very well, and Dont want to step on the toes of the other “more qualified” peers in the industry.

    Now I am wandering, If I should make the jump. Start small…. and start charging for my work.

    Here is my website Magbeephotography.com  Again, everything here has been done free of charge. They are welcome to buy the prints from the site if they wish, but no $$ is exchanged. Any $$ I have made off prints has gone right back into saving for new lens’, strobes ,etc.

    Go easy as I have never been critiqued before except on a few pages like CApturememphis etc.


    Anyways, Love the site. I strive to never make it on your daily posts.

    Thanks for looking. Kudos to all of you for your great work.


    Honestly, people with all sorts of experience start photography businesses on the side…but full-time? I’d keep my day job unless you make a name for yourself and get more business than you can handle. Here’s the thing it’s not so much that the photographer isn’t “up to par’ whatever that means—photography is subjective–so-called “experienced” photographers forget that it’s  80% business 20% photography— if you are an arrogant jerk — who cares if your stuff has been on Time Magazine if your clients can’t work with you? It’s still about customer service mostly. Chances are if someone contacts you it’s because they like your work otherwise they’d just mozy on through. Why so many photogs get upset is because people who are just starting out charge dirt cheap prices—and you’ll see that the expectation of that is evident if you go to a site like craigslist.  Charge what you’re worth.  How do you do that? This is based on the amount of experience you have, be it education or other skills you can add to the mix ..it’s how much you’ve spend on your equipment or plan to spend on your equipment, plus a myriad of other things like: insurance (personal and equipment), gas, internet, memberships, rent/mortgage…etc…

    1. go to something like salary.com and get an idea of what a photog of your experience level makes or look at other photog’s prices –call around. Be competitive but don’t undersell yourself.

    2. Use a calculator like this and run the numbers: http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/cdb/calculator.cfm


    Good Luck!


    “They are welcome to buy the prints from the site if they wish, but no $$ is exchanged. Any $$ I have made off prints has gone right back into saving for new lens’, strobes ,etc.”

    This is self contradicting.


    @arose4u   Not full time. Just possibly start charging for the services such as the weddings and other shots/sessions.  I figured since it was a hobby that I would continue offering these services.

    Perhaps I worded it incorrectly and for that I apologize. What I was relaying is that , These friends and family that I have taken pictures, captured their weddings and events… There was no fee. It was 100% for me to goto their wedding, or have them come to my home and pose ,etc . They had the option to buy prints from my site so they would not degrade my work any further by taking it to costco or walgreens to have a subpar print created but it was not mandatory. The $$ from the prints stays on the site typically to invest in more equipment but these days it has  been paying for the site.   Overall, I did the events  for free because … I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. I am a hobbyist. However, With 6years under my belt , I thought it “might” be time to start charging  for my services. But I wanted to see what everyone thought.

    So – again, Thank you for bringing my poor wording to my attention. I hope this has cleared any misunderstanding.



    Thank you arose4u  for your reply.


    I liked a few of your images and compositions, although I notice you have trouble with levels, and especially tonality on your b/w conversions. It makes me wonder if your monitor is calibrated, or if you’re just not great at that part of editing.


    Your landscapes are commonly cut right through the middle, and the horizons are not level. This is especially distracting on images with water. Poor crops and tilty water screams “fauxtographer”.


    You should also step away from the HDR. You’re not good at it, so don’t publish your failed tests. It takes practice, and you shouldn’t post your glowy, haloed images. There’s one dark urban-decay building shot you did that has promise, but it’s not HDR.


    It is not time to start charging. Your quality is still hobbyist. I would not put the fauxtographer tag on you since you don’t charge.


    Stef makes a good point about the black and white. It looks WAY  off to me. I am not sure exactly what it is, but it makes the images look really flat. I feel like the technique you are using is desaturation. And the angles, dear god…the angels. I feel like most of your images have the horizon shooting from one lower corner to the opposite upper corner. here’s an image i would probably have really enjoyed, except that it starts at the lower left corner instead of being level to any plane


    here’s another left corner (not one i particularly liked or anything, just example)




    and another


    Images like this make me dizzy, i’m sure i’m not the only one. There than that, there are several badly composed shots (eye of the beholder, i’m sure). People end up smack in the middle of a shot, it’s almost like you are striving to fill the entire frame. Don’t be scared of negative space as long as the subject is correctly framed. Uhm…other than that….keep learning. Your images aren’t yanap worthy, and i think you’d have some luck being paid, but i don’t think you could be called legit for a long time.


    Hello! I see some potential in the image of a bride hugging her mother [?] emotionally. I like the couple shot where they are illuminated well. Those two images were prominent. I would never post an image of a flower girl with a half opened eye, personally.

    I suggest:

    1. Read books, I read a lot &

    2. I don’t post everything. Sleep on your posts, try to choose very carefully.

    3. Look at magazines. Recreate what you see on magazines and

    4. Take courses.

    5. Have a group of photographers even to come to for advice… Or follow big shot photographers to read their blog posts or tweets…. there is a lot you can do to improve. I give myself homework all the time.

    6. *Learn to see everything objectively is mainly the best advice I can give you. I have people whom I ask what they deem worthy of a post or a share…. Let me know what you think, & let me know if you’ve tried any of this… 🙂

    7. Also stay positive, I’ve been criticized before. 🙂

    Say hi to me @ facebook.com/whyhellomarcy


    Thanks everyone.

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