Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? How good is my work? Really?

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    I’ve been shooting for a few years, just with your basic Canon T3 and kit 18-55mm lens, and I’ve been told by the people I know that my work is very good, but then again, living where I do, there’s not many standards to compare to.

    So I’m asking for critique and suggestions on what I could do better.

    Portfolio: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyle_mitchell/sets/72157631777934833/



    I cannot answer if you are a fauxtog based on the link given. Since that is where you posted this. However as far a photogrpahy it looks like you have some skill and knowledge of photography. Some of the cloud shots and nature shots are not my personal taste but technically they are pretty sound. Since you shoot a Canon camera I would suggest getting you an 85MM F1.8 to really take some of your portrait shots up a notch. This lens is only about 375.00 new and could almost be L glass .  You have the basics imo. Time to step it some with equipment. I like the fact that you do not have any shots with over processing.  I do not have the time as some do on here to give in-depth reviews of each shot. I look at thousands of photos a week. Tough to bring myself to do it for fun anymore. But you are much better than many I have seen on here. Watch you composition but I do understand why people are telling you that you are good.


    You may also start looking at using a reflector or even an off camera strobe to start being up your eyes some as well.


    I’m currently looking for better equipment, lenses being the main focus; but lighting is something I’ve been really working on. Portraits are my favorite thing to shoot, but currently models or clients are very hard to come by.


    You are off to a good start. Not a photographer yet, but not a fauxtog either. I see a good eye and a lot of potential.

    Good art is 10% creativity and 90% knowing how to hold a brush, which if course is the hard part. If you’d like to eventually have a career in photography, I’ll warn you now, it’s hard, very hard. And the fauxtogs only make it harder by exploiting the ignorance of the general public. In order to compete, you must take the time now to learn the craft. In fact, the lack of equipment can work to your advantage. For example, contrary to popular belief, shooting outside with the big light source in the sky is not easier than shooting in the studio. You CAN get studio results with nothing but the sun and a reflector IF and only if you understand studio lighting better than a lot of studio photographers. So if you don’t have lights, you HAVE to learn to work without them. Taking things you do now by instinct and learning why and how they work so that you can make what you want to happen happen when you want it to happen and not by chance.

    Here is a quick list of topics you need to master for starters:

    The balance (ISO, Shutter, and Aperture and how each affects to other)
    Don’t shoot on railroad tracks (not only tacky, but VERY illegal, as in I know a photographer serving time for it)
    Single source lighting patterns and their uses
    Difference between broad and short lighting (and use short almost all the time)
    Framing and composition (rule of thirds, golden spiral, positive and negative space, etc)
    Posing and body language
    Non-verbal communication (take a mime class if you can find one)
    Spend time working with models and focus on getting
    Learn the dark room (I know you shoot digital, but understanding the dark room will make your digital work a thousand times better because you can really experiment with exposure, filters, and all kinds of other techniques that will help you)
    Shoot everything in camera (my motto is, if it isn’t good enough to sell AS IS, it isn’t good enough to even consider dropping into the computer). If you need Photoshop, it is your worst enemy, if you do not need it, it is your best friend.
    Learn to connect emotion to style. Black and white, antique finishes, textures, even the level of contrast and saturation have an emotional component. Don’t choose effects because they look cool, pick them because they either enhance the emotional impact of the photo, or highlight the emotion by offering a counterpoint.
    Before you attempt black and white, look at a lot of real black and white photography, and read this. It is one of the hardest thing to do in digital photography (I spent almost 5 years working out a system that gives me consistent and reliable results).

    Above all, practice and be your own worst critic. Don’t ask if you’re any good, realize that you suck. And you will continue to suck as long as you are working. Throw away 90% of your work and explain to yourself exactly why you are throwing it away. Identifying why you don’t like one photo and you do like another teaches you do the good things and not do the bad ones.

    Now, this isn’t to say that you actually suck, or that you can’t be proud of your work. As long as you are improving over yourself, you’re doing well. I look at my work that I put into my portfolio 5 years ago and am a little embarrassed because I wouldn’t even show that to a client today. But the day you look at your work and say “I’ve arrived” is the day you become complacent and start to stagnate into oblivion.

    Sorry for the length of my response, but I hope it will be helpful for you, feel free to contact me if you’ve got any specific questions and I’ll try to answer them for you.


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