Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Honest Feedback requested!

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  • #22809
    ErikC
    Member

    So my wife and I just started out a couple months ago and have been learning as much as possible and just started taking on clients. I’ve received good reviews from friends and family but take them with a grain of salt for the most part. I’d like to see what you all think.

    My site is http://www.EriKatiphotography ; portfolio found here.

    Please let me know what you think, and if I should continue or not. We have all professional equipment and have set up a studio in our home, use a nikon d800E, and have spent lots of time and money on workshops and classes while ramping up.

    #22811
    Bill
    Member

    Okay, 1st off, I want to say that none of what I say is meant to be hurtful or mean, but instead truthful and hopefully helpful criticism.
    I don’t do newborn photography,and I give you credit for taking on such a challenging task, but I do see issues that I need to point out.

    1st thing is the safety of the baby.

    I’m not sure what is going on during the session, but from the resulting photos, it doesn’t look too safe, but that is me. I hope that is not what is going on, but I have to call it as I see it. Also, the photos are crooked, adding to the look of unsafe-ness.

    The exposure levels are high and low, not something you want to see in a portfolio. You want to see a flow and consistency, evenness across the same series of photos. These you can fix easily in LR or PS.

    colors are way off, inconsistent and over softened. Take the screenshot I grabbed and you can see a side by side directly from your portfolio. The only difference I see, is that she is standing in the sun on one frame and partially shaded in the other, but a dramatic difference in lighting and appearance.

     

     

    The one thing that I really don’t like and it will greatly affect how others see your work, is the annoying watermark.

    Don’t get me wrong, watermarking is fine, except when it intrudes on getting a full vibe of your work.  As you see hear, it does not stop people from screen-grabbing, but is severely affects the impression of your photos.  I would suggest a smaller watermark or maybe hide something in the background like I do.

    I feel that you are straying down the path of being a “fauxtographer.” You have cliche poses, aka hand of hearts, but I know some like that stuff, your color balance and skin tones needs attention and photos need to be straighten (leveled). These are fundamental mistakes, that if you don’t correct, you are doing your craft a disservice. The gear can help, but not using it correctly hurts.

    Okay, so your probably pissed at me, but I am trying to be 100% honest with you. You have potential, but from what your are displaying, you’re going to wind up as one of our forum posts under “Am I a Fauxtog”.
    I don’t want to see that happen to you.
    You say you have invested tons of time and money into workshops and gear, maybe try another approach. Maybe the workshops are the cause? I always feel it is better to get advice from multiple sources and average them out. I would suggest places like “Meet Up.com” or some local photo group, many you can find are free or very cheap.
    Most of these local groups you can get a better understanding and more personal tips and training over a workshop that makes their money filling seats and moving on.

    I use a iDisplay Pro from X-Rite for my color management, but they have others like the Color Munki. They are similar products that work pretty much the same, but you can find others as well, but X-Rite is probably the most widely used.

    Anyway, I will let the others chime in for other perspectives on your work. Don’t take it personally, it is not meant to be that way. Take it and use it constructively and better yourself, it will pay off in spades.

    Good Luck!

    #22815
    Bill
    Member

    okay so none of the linked photos I posted are popping up….Nice

    Image #1
    Image #2
    Image #3

    #22820
    ErikC
    Member

    Thanks for your honesty. After looking more closely I can see the things you mentioned here, and want to fix them. I actually have an x-rite color checker passport, but haven’t had the best of luck getting it to work (nikon shoots in .NEF RAW) and I haven’t really given it much time to play with.

     

    I will say that for the baby photos, they were extremely safe. The ones on/in the crate were composites, the other ones were not but we had 3 people within 2 inches or so (just outside of the frame) at all times. I have 2 kids, and we’re both very safety aware.

    As for the watermark, do you recommend just leaving it off on the site? Or moving it to a corner or something and scaling it? And for the difference in colors, use of the xrite should fix that if you happen to have any tips on it that would be awesome.

    For the flow of exposure, the site shuffled the gallery; would you recommend only showing them in groups of the same session instead of letting them shuffle up independently to make it flow more easily?

    I honestly hadn’t thought of straightening the images out, but now am thinking they would look much better that way. And as for the skin tone, what was wrong with that, just the same as the color correction (xrite should fix?)

    i most definitely am not “pissed”, and actually am very thankful and I am sorry to pick your brain even more. Thanks for the feedback!!!!!

     

    #22821
    emf
    Member

    I’m not sure you’re ready to start charging yet.

    One thing I would recommend is to learn more about posing, as some of the poses of the pregnant lady are a bit unflattering. Even though she’s pregnant so she’s big, the way she has been posed and the angle she’s been shot from accentuate her size, not just her bump but things like double chins etc. . A few directions from you as to how to pose properly would have made for much more flattering images, this is a good tutorial on posing;

    Also i think the skin is over smoothed in places. Especially on the man, which is unnecessary imo.

    You’re really lucky in that you’re both doing it together as you can practise things like posing on each other, when I want to practice maternity posing I have to get my husband to stick a cushion up his jumper lol!

    #22827
    Bill
    Member

    ErikC – I am glad to hear that you are understanding. Most people that come asking for critiques get uber-offended when people start pointing out certain flaws that others see in their work. It is sometimes hard to take but like you stated in your original post, friends and family opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Glad to hear about the babies safety, I was hoping that all the pit crew just just out of frame, but we have seen some real winners when it comes to babies. Don’t get some of the others stated on that topic.

    For your watermark, I would use a much smaller watermark that does not divert your attention from the main subject, hard to do when it is right smack in the middle. A smaller watermark is fine and can be placed somewhere outside the main subject area but close enough to prevent people from cropping it out if they were to download it.
    If you have a web site platform that allows you to disable the “right-click” then that is an option. I use Zenfolio for my site, and it has a photo asset manager built in to allow or prevent downloading images. It does a lot more, but I don’t want to sound like a sales pitch.

    For the image displaying the photos, If you have the option to control the look and feel of the way the images are presented, then it is best to try to take full control of that for your benefit. Only show your best!.
    If you do a session and it has a progressive flow that tells a story, that works. Your using the images to convey to your audience what has transpired. You heard that a picture is worth a 1000 words? that is what you are trying to do with your images, not just “here are some pics of this guy and girl with their baby.”

    As for the skin tone and color correction, these are 2 different aspects that share a common relation. Color correction is best done when your monitor has been calibrated with your X-rite or other device. This way, you see your blacks as blacks and your whites as whites. Without a calibrated monitor, you may be able to get close, but you will most likely has variances when it comes to certain things, like skin tone. And this is where they are related.
    A person’s skin tone can change with many situations, but you want to convey their best skin tone (color) based on your exposure and lighting conditions. Their skin color may look different from if they were posed in direct sunlight as to posed under a tree in shade.
    With Adobe Camera Raw, (part of Photoshop) and many other applications, you can adjust the temperature of your photos. For your direct sunlight photo, you can add more blue (Daylight = 5500K) to counter act the bright sun. For your shade you can add more yellow (shade = 7500K) to add more yellow to warm the photo up, this counter-acts the lack of sunlight.
    To do this without a calibrated monitor is tricky, because you have no basis of what true black and true white actually are. This is why you will see photos where people have blueish, green or pink tints to their skin color.
    Babies are very susceptible to being very cold, so they naturally look blue. You would normally use a heater to keep baby warm, but if they have a blue tint, you can correct that in post by adjusting the temperature. Not too much, because they will look like an ummpah loompah.

    The X-rite does not fix anything, it just allows you to adjust your monitor to provide the truest color profile so that what you see on your monitor is as true as it can get. Without being adjusted and calibrated, what you see as green may be actually more blue.

    #22829

    Bill, I think he/she said they had a x-rite color checker passport.  That actually is like a super grey card.  I will find/link a video later.  Pressed for time now.

    #22830
    kmomto10
    Member

    Howdy, welcome to the world of newborn photography. I won’t touch on editing but I’d like to discuss posing. In your images I can’t really see the baby’s face or any details. Perhaps you were try to convey their tinimess but there are better ways to achieve that. I would master indoor posed or lifestyle newborn work before attempting outdoor shots.  There are many online workshops on newborn photography. Rachel Vanoven just came out with a  good one. Clickinmoms has an excellent one also. Robin Long is a fabulous resource and you cannot go wrong with Kelly Brown. Hop on over to Creative Live to check out their offerings in newborn and maternity. Sue Bryce is a great resource in how to pose different body types in a flattering manner. If you can find a local newborn photographer kudos to you but most would rather gouge out an eye than mentor anyone within 100 miles.

    Practice wrapping, start learning the standard poses such as tushie-up, taco, head on hands etc….

     

    This is an imperfect attempt at taco.

     

    <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/10210363@N02/14520933165&#8243; title=”preston4 by kmomto6, on Flickr”></a>

    This little peanut didn’t want to sleep for me.

     

    <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/10210363@N02/14393931732&#8243; title=”1 by kmomto6, on Flickr”> </a>

    #22833
    kmomto10
    Member

    I can never link images in here.

    ugh

     

     

    #22835

    Kmomto10’s photos are here:

    IMG_8590.jpg

    #22836

    Here is a video that shows what the Passport does:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42gmmfHAhck

     

    #22837
    kmomto10
    Member

    My bad. I forgot the 95% of the images on my Flickr account are not public. The previous attempt to humiliate me will just illustrate how far I’ve come with an investment in education and mentorship. I don’t just have the best of my best on my flickr but a variety of everything from assignments from classes to snapshots of my kids to images from sessions.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/10210363@N02/923r74/

     

    #22840

    Everything that’s been mentioned above is sound advice so I’ll approach your request from a different angle and tell you what’s wrong with your site. The general design is quite professional looking, but you don’t have to dig deep into it be you start looking like a faux.

    If you are selling your self as a photographer, you’re going to have  to show people a wide variety of work. I know you are just starting out and it may be that you don’t have anymore images, but a website is like a shop front and you wouldn’t open a shop before you had any stock to fill it.

    As soon as I clicked your link I got  asked to subscribe to something so I could  win something else? At that point I hadn’t seen a single image so there was no way I would  give you my email address so you can add to my junk folder. Having to dismiss the window was just an annoyance.  As has already been said, the banner images all need work, bad colour, bad poses, bad post. And then to find that every page has the same bad banner  gives the impression that you don’t have any more pics. It doesn’t matter who’s in the shots. I take shots of my kids and my friends kids when ever I need a good display image.

    The only reason you have your logo over your images is because you think it makes them look more professional. It doesn’t. It makes you look cheap. The only people who might want a copy of you images are the people who are in them. And as a pro you should have already sold all the images they want to them?

    You have an “about us” page, yet it doesn’t have an image of you on it. If you can’t even get a good image of yourselves, why would anyone else pay you?

    The portfolio page has the pics from one client? Are you trying to give the impression that you’ve only ever had one client? The weddings and family pages are coming soon? which just reinforces the fact that you don’t have any more images.

    #22987
    ErikC
    Member

    Thanks again for all of the  honest feedback. I am in the process of modifying my site to be easier to use and also to remove the watermarks and add some information and more photos.

     

    I also have been on creative live thanks to the comments above and have found some courses that truly have changed the way I see photography altogether. I think the most effective one for me was Roberto Valenzuela’s workshop. Though h e is primarily a wedding photog, his workshop was enlightening.

     

    I went out with this advice in mind and shot an engagement session over the weekend and once edited I plan on linking them here so I can see what you alls opinions are and If you  can see any improvement,

     

    thanks for for all of the criticism as it is helping me develop and I truly do appreciate the honesty.

    #22994
    CPowers
    Member

    In addition to what has already been noted, I would mention the contents of the “blog” tab. There is featured an advertisement for “Fall Mini-Sessions” The advertisement features what looks like stock photos. Based on the very limited body of  work displayed on your site, those images are clearly outside of your skill level. Not a good business practice to use others work to advertise your services.

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