Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Honest Opinions


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    So I’m asking the dreaded question! Would you consider me a fauxtog?

    Yes, I charge for my work (It was getting to the point where as much as I wanted to learn, doing that much free stuff just wasn’t worth it anymore). I have been shooting for just over a year. I charged very little at first, but my prices are slowly going up as I improve.

    I am pretty young, and often my work gets judged according to that. But I hope you all agree that age doesn’t necessarily define skill level.

    I plan to make a career out of foreign correspondence photojournalism and possibly fashion photography.

    I try to expand my field as much as I can. I’ve done weddings, newborn, model portfolios, newspaper work, maternity, engagement, real estate, etc… I would like to eventually specialize in a narrower field though.

    I know I still have a lot to work on, and I constantly see the mistakes in my work. I get pretty frustrated when I don’t know things that I feel I should, but I make sure I am always researching.











    Age has little to do with it. I’m 22 now and i’ve been charging for about 2-3 years for weddings but that’s because I’ve been to about 20 weddings prior to that. So I know the ropes and are well accustomed to the importance of different moments. I guess thats the only issue with age for me. I wouldn’t trust someone who has never been to many weddings just because they might end up vital moments.

    Your wedding photography is pretty cute and romantic. Depending on how well you did with the photos that you didn’t end up loading up, I would probably end up hiring you as a secondary photography for my wedding if you were in town. You just catch moments well! 🙂 Good job.



    In terms of fashion, you are on the right track, you have a while to go but at least you are getting there. You just need to learn how to be a better retoucher or hire someone to do your retouching.

    These photos would have benefited from that.





    For example this photo


    The model’s skin is different all throughout her body. Her skin is uneven even on her legs and it’s just not a good look for fashion.



    However you do have some beautiful portraits though. 🙂




    There will be a few people here that will argue against you charging. In a way i can kinda see why. You seem to have a hit and miss of  really great and not so great photos. but otherwise I think you are doing fine 🙂


    I noticed a few bizarre color casts on a few series. I assume the first link was supposed to be that way, but it happens all over.


    This series the skin is blown out heavily. Shooting in sunlight is difficult, and you have to find a way to handle that. Simply blowing out the skin to expose the face properly isn’t the solution. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=270024886363094&set=a.259754107390172.35295.215002681865315&type=3


    If you’re shooting fashion, you need to make sure the fashion looks good. Many of your shots the color is bizarre (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=301056823259900&set=a.259754107390172.35295.215002681865315&type=3 ) or it just doesn’t hang well or visualize well. At least the water looks level.


    Is this actually fashion or is it modeling? I can’t see the dress at all because it’s completely blown due to overexposure. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=256108867754696&set=a.259754107390172.35295.215002681865315&type=3


    Aside from bizarre color casts, some of your portraits are pretty good, but you tend to get wayyy too close to your subject, causing severe facial distortion. For a tight headshot, move back farther and use a longer lens. A tight headshot should be with a minimum 50mm on a crop camera.


    You also seem to like a lot of lens flare. I suppose that’s a valid style, but it doesn’t save a bad image. It also changes based on your lens and your aperture and zoom… and I don’t think you’ve done a study of the flare effects of your lenses. (You should, if you intend to keep using this style.) I would’ve tossed this image because it’s just not very becoming: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=255836474448602&set=a.259754107390172.35295.215002681865315&type=3


    This woman has very thin hair and you should not shoot into her part. Or if you must, you should clone some hair into it. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=308897749142474&set=a.259754107390172.35295.215002681865315&type=3


    Fix your colors. Learn to shoot in sunlight properly, using a scrim, a fill flash, or a reflector. Learn to expose properly without blowing out whites. Keep your ability to connect with your subject. Learn to use a kicker for some separation.


    You can’t balance color, but you can focus. You use a lot of gimmicks, but you seem to be able to pose people reasonably well and connect with them. I think you have a good eye, but you are missing too many basics of camera handling and processing. And because you’re charging, you are a fauxtographer.



    BUT…as a reminder, I must keep reiterating that photo judging is so very subjective and personally interpretive.

    And given that here at YANAP we have no specific criteria or limitations, when you ask for opinion, the spectrum is wide open — everything from age to years of experience; from business practices and technical quality…it is all overwhelming and an open target.

    But your question was, “Am I a fauxtog?” and to answer that we’d have to compare your work to some of the extremely horrid images posted on YANAP.  Are you one of those? No. I’d say you have failed the fauxtog test. Do you still need practice and refinement? Absolutely. (We all do.)

    In addition, I’d say you have surpassed the level of some of the Momtog/MWACs with no formal photography training who also have bad business practices. I tire of their endless same-old “natural light” shots. At least you understand a bit more about composition.

    When critiquing, keep in mind, that we are turning images into words; then splitting off from that are personal and intrinsic preferences. (I wonder if the person Stef mentioned with the “thin hair” thinks she has thin hair or even considers it a “problem” as Stef implies.)

    But you do need to keep practicing and refining your technical ability. I recently completed a critique for another photographer whose sunlight shots needed much more work than yours do. I think Stef was partially correct in her advice about headshots, although I truly saw nothing I’d call “severe facial distortion.” Slightly? Yes. And here is a bit more explanation about that: http://stepheneastwood.com/tutorials/lensdistortion/strippage.htm  I also didn’t notice it being a ‘tendency,’ but rather occasionally.

    Lastly, remember that photography critiques offer an alternative way to look at your images and give an idea of others’ perspectives on your work. Above all, keep on working and improving your craft.


    But your question was, “Am I a fauxtog?” and to answer that we’d have to compare your work to some of the extremely horrid images posted on YANAP.  Are you one of those? No. I’d say you have failed the fauxtog test. Do you still need practice and refinement? Absolutely. (We all do.)

    No, I don’t think making horrid images like the front page is the requirement of being a fauxtog. The alternative of fauxtographer is photographer… and the OP does not demonstrate the basic skills of a professional photographer. If you charge money, you must have those basic skills to be considered a photographer. The only option left is fauxtographer.


    When I do CC in this forum, I always try to answer whether the poster is a fauxtog or photog, and I end my CC with it, along with suggestions to improve. I think the OP is close, and shows promise. She is well past the MWACs in many areas, but still coming up short for someone that charges. Many images are good, and I noted that, but the basics are not there yet.


    A lot of those images that have been critiqued are old ones from when I first started doing photography, that I need to delete. Such as the photos with the blown out highlights. You’ll find most if not all of my recent work no longer has that problem. Soaringturkeys, can you give any advice on how the retouching on those particular photos could have been better? Those other portraits you mentioned are self-portraits.


    I have never had any training so am learning it all from scratch myself. Sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly I need to research, learn, and practice. I appreciate any critique or advice given.

    I hate a lot if my own images and notice the inconsistency. Something I plan to improve a losick don’t think though, that you have to ‘not charge at all’ until you are at the highest level of skill you can be, because you’re always improving. I charge very little, which is obviously what my work is worth.

    Thankyou all for your feedback.


    Truly though, the only way to improve is through practice, which I do need a lot more of. But should I really not be charging AT ALL until I’m at a certain level? How many hundreds of free photoshoots can one possibly do? Is it not allowable to charge a lower amount acording to your ability until you’re work is deemed worthy of professional prices. I just already do so much free work. I can’t imagine doing everything for free. It would consume my time more than it already does and burn me out.


    Are you a fauxtog.  Absolutley not.  Keep charging.  I would pay you some good money to shoot my wedding.  Remember fashion photography usually advertises products like outfits/bags/etc. so like the suggestions above have mentioned, overblowing or extreme color casts are generally not good in that area, but the shots are great nonetheless.  What I like about your work is that I looked through your Facebook and I wasn’t bored.  I happily spent a good 15 minutes looking at your photos.  I really love them.  Keep up the good work.


    And to Stef, discussions like these really show that photography can be subjective.  I looked through her work and saw that even in the shots with direct sunlight, the harsh shadows actually WORKED in her images.  Usually, I hate harsh shadows in photography.  Especially over the face.  Like in the wedding shots of David and Carolyn… but they are remarkably beautiful shots.  I would seek out a photographer like her for my photos because I know they would look nothing like any of my friend’s wedding photos….

    To me, it seems that the OP knows the basics, but has her own style.   I am in love… seriously in love.  And I’m even surprised that she even had to ask if she was a fauxtog.


    Thanks for your feedback Creyes8519.

    I haven’t done a lot of fashion. Nearly all of the images in that particular album are just lifestyle, not fashion. I’m still learning what is required for fashion photography. It’s quite an art and there’s a lot to it!

    Not all of my work is paid. That’s probably something I should have mentioned. I charge for family photoshoots, weddings, newborns, etc…
    Obviously I want to improve in every field of photography, but fashion, model portfolios, and photojournalism are the things I most want to improve and specialize in. Which is why I generally don’t charge for those things, because I would be happy to do it free as long as I’m learning and gaining experience.


    Well you are very beautiful!  You take self portraits very well! Considered being in front of the camera instead? Like Garry pepper style photo blogging?

    But don’t worry about not learning how to retouch. It’s just another step that people need to take to get further up in fashion world. The most important part is that noone should know that the photo is retouched. That’s the fundamental difference between retouching and editing.

    Lets look at 4 of my photos for example. I’m not the best retoucher so I apologize!! I know that I still have quite a while to go and I don’t usually retouch my photos. I only retouch when a client doesn’t want to pay for another person


    Dodge & Burn Technique

    The main purpose of this dodge and burn is to over accentuate certain features that she has.


    Notice the shine on the lips to make it a little more glossy. Her cheek bones are darkened. Her collarbone is burnt and dodged. Her forehead is evened out to have less shadow. But yeah this is a very over the top retouching. Not the most done up that I’ve seen but one of my most.


    Selected colouring. ( I don’t know the official title lol I’ll explain)

    So I would make a layer on photoshop to solely focus on the slightly bluer skin tone in her neck area, select only that and match it up closer to the rest of the body by adding red etc.


    I chose this photo because it still has artefacts of the old skin tone. Notice her hand has slightly  blue tinge, so does her neck. I matched it up closer to the skin tone but take note that I only do it to a point. The main point of this technique is to cover up the mistakes that would otherwise be fixed with make up. This is wear blush and foundation on the body is actually useful because it evens out skin tone.




    Getting rid of unwanted wrinkles in odd and love handles caused by wierd angles and positions. Now this might be a personal preference but if you are going to fashion then you need to do this.


    So notice just by her belt that there are a little bit of wrinkles there. I didn’t get rid of it completely but I did eliminate possible wrinkles caused by having such a weird poses.


    Grading and Colouring.

    Make her look healthy.


    In this shoot the raw photos of her looked slightly blue. She looked a little bit pale and cold. Although the place she is in is a cold place, I didn’t want her to look sick. I put a bit of red in her skin tone just a little. Notice that even though she has a bit more red, she does not stand out from the environment.

    So be wary of that when you do your final grades. Some of your shots makes the model look a little bit ill.

    Anyway thats pretty much it 🙂 I’m not the best but google google google!! There are many many better retouchers than me. Usually I would hire Retouchers rather than do it myself! 🙂


    In case you are wondering what i do with fashion. (now this is strictly fashion which is completely different to all my other works)
    I would spend around an hour taking photos, choose the best and would spend about an hour editing the best photos.

    I would first duplicate the layer.
    Fix any minor imperfections, stray hairs, pimples etc.
    First step of evening out small lighting imperfections
    Fix any major imperfections ie big wrinkles, love handles etc.
    Dodge & burn the main beauty spot [collarbone, cheek bone, jawline, eyeline, eyebrows, lips and neckline.]
    Fix and skin tone abnormalities. Make a million layers to match skin tone with other skin tones.
    Bring back original photo, and fix and imprefections that my editing may have caused, i.e cloning too much that skin repeats itself – I would bring back some of the original skin to give it an even look.
    Grade the lighting
    Colour Grading the skin
    Colour grading the environment.
    one hour later and 50 bagillion layers later. Save and export.
    Get paid

    And that’s it 🙂
    Notice that there is no softening of the skin or surface blur. It’s a popular misconception but we never ever blur the skin!!

    Anyway just remember that i’m not the best 🙂



    Thanks for your advice Soaringturkeys.
    Hahaha no I haven’t considered being in front of the camera. It’s not really my thing. And it takes a lot to get a half decent photo of myself. I just only show the best shots. 😉
    I actually do a heck of a lot of retouching. With both the clone stamp and the healing brush (you should see the before and afters). I notice there is often a lack of texture in the skin (in sooc shots), which I think is partly due to it not being that great a camera, with lack of detail (I am upgrading next week). So I never ever blur skin. Any skin that seems a little ‘too perfect’ in my photos is actually due to the model having amazing skin! (and the makeup artist). I’m very aware though that blurring is not how it’s done. I try to not edit out features on a model’s face that are permanently there. Like this photo.


    I didn’t want to edit out her mole as she wanted to use the photo for her portfolio. Her eyes were actually that bright and blue, due to the light we used, which in hindsight I wish I had actually gone and dulled down her eyes a little as they look quite fake.
    I’m not too great at colouring.

    Like in this one you mentioned, I wanted the photo colour overall to have a greeny tinge, but failed to realize it would make the model look sick. That’s something I’m still working on a lot. 🙂

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