Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? How to bust a fauxtog?

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    Don’t actual real, photogs (collecting money for sessions, advertising,  calling themselves “X photography”, passing out business cards) have to be registered with the  county/state as a business?? How do so many fly under the radar if they are publicly announcing themselves?  There are SO MANY people around here claiming to be a photographer and have a “photography business.”  Some have no training at all!  What’s the best way to “out” the phonies?

    I can take some pretty awesome shots with my Power Shot and can edit enough to make them wall-worthy in my house but I’m damn sure not a photographer!


    So many issues.  So many jurisdictions.

    Here, you are supposed to register as a business, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, your choice, if you are conducting business.  And you are supposed to report income to the tax department.  If you charge more than $30K in a year, you have to get a tax number, then charge and remit 13% HST.

    There are some kinds of businesses that require a license, photography is not one of them.  Plumbing requires a license, however.  I suppose that’s reasonable since a burst pipe usually makes a much bigger mess than a poorly composed and exposed photo.

    I’m not sure formal training is the answer.  Over the years I have met lots of people who were not very good at whatever they were trained to do.  Others have been pretty successful without formal training.  Most of the photographers of the past that we look up to probably had little or no formal training.  They made it up as they went along because until they came up with a process, it did not exist, so there was no textbook to learn from.

    I don’t have a problem with anyone collecting money for sessions, advertising,  calling themselves “X photography”, passing out business cards, as long as whatever advertizing they are presenting is their own work.  We might groan or laugh at shoddy work, but if that was the quality of work that got them the job and the customer is happy paying for that level of work, more power to them.  We should be working to educate the customer, so they recognize substandard photos when they see them.  But, it’s art, so what I like someone else may hate and they may love work that I hate.

    Finally, photography is writing with light, so if you pick up a camera and release the shutter, as long as there is an image produced, you are a photographer.  How good or bad is entirely another matter.  😉



    I just came across this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbOHbV5Xsn4

    It has been around a while!  The top comment is two years old.  It’s pretty good too:  ‘I know lots of so-called “pros” who get paid, but can’t take a decent pic. So whenever someone asks me, “Are you a professional?”I usually answer, “Oh no, I’m much better than that!”‘

    Turns out he is better than that!  He had his photos at a Zack Arias Critique Night and while it takes a few minutes to get going, it is worth the wait:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QQeTF8fXAU


    See, I don’t find either of these photographers work that great. I think they each have a few strong images but not really what I would call great work. Brad seems cocky while receiving his critique and in searching what he’s up to now, I’ve found that:

    a.) he hasn’t edited anything (didn’t listen to his critique at all). He has even more crap.
    b.) he’s been accused of raping a girl during a photo shoot.

    So I guess that answers the question of what he wants to do as a photographer.

    Zacks work is very limited b/c his website is moving? yeah, i don’t get that. What I do see is not so great and I think he falls under the category of “those who can’t do, teach”. I found his critique to be about 27 minutes too long. I cannot believe they spent that much time looking through all those images to find just a few images that they liked. I was baffled by some of the ones they liked. Some of the others were liked b/c they were cute, which is great, if that is what you’re going for. Then to sum it all up Zack suggests he find a career as a newspaper photographer – you know, the career that has pretty much disappeared and pays nothing.  Hope Brad didn’t spend too much money on his critique. Might need it for his legal defense.


    Well… I thought Zack’s take on “professional” was unique and the critique video was funny.  Some of the lines were pretty good and I thought some of the photos were great, like the bird looking under itself, that guy in the hospital bed, the horse photos…  Yes, there were also some duds.  Frequently I find if I show two photos, many people prefer the photo I think is inferior — I still haven’t decided if that is a statement about my taste or the tastes of others.

    I wasn’t aware Bret’s “been accused of raping a girl during a photo shoot.” I did a quick search and found two items from 2007 which look suspiciously like spam.  It has been 5 years and he seems to have been posting photos all that time.  I can’t find any reliable news items or court transcripts.  His accuser, Carrol J Donoghue, also accused him and a long list of others of being a pedophile.  The post says she lives in New Zealand, which is a bit of a drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee!  Other posts of hers suggest she was about to get a divorce.  She put up a lot of strange posts in 2007.  Being accused is not the same as being guilty.

    News photographers are now being asked to write articles and do video pieces for the paper’s web pages, so it is a different world.  Newspapers and magazines tend to have a wide range of photo subjects so someone like him who’s “specialty is variety” would be a good fit.  It may not pay as well as some other jobs but money and satisfaction are not always the same.


    I agree that his take on professional is very true. Most professionals that I’ve worked with barely know how to use their camera or they don’t know how to light. Or both. They know what they like but that’s about it. I remember back when I first started in the business, I got hired to assist this 17 year old photographer who said I want it to look like this ad from the 1990’s. It was a Volkswagen ad. Can you do that? And I was like “I have no idea what you are talking about. Do you have a swipe?” He did not.

    I did like some of the photos as well, but I started to question the veracity of the person doing the critiquing. A lot of common sense about what they did and didn’t like, save for a few images that I thought were clearly terrible that they liked. But it was just very obvious. Was the critique free? Because I felt like they were just too nice. I thought they should have emphasized more of a focus. Instead he mentions the newspaper thing. I’m guessing there isn’t a whole lot to offer in Chattanooga, TN.

    I think you are right about the Carrol J Donoghue woman. She sounds like a nutcase. I will disregard the rape comment.  It’s just odd that it came up in a simple search for him.


    Chattanooga, TN, population is a bit under 200K.  It’s about a 2 hour drive to Atlanta (population just over 400K) where Zack is (I think), although they are in different states.  Except that Zack was invited onto Digital Rev as a guest “pro” and did a critique guest spot on Scott Kelby’s The Grid, I know virtually nothing about him.  I see he has a bunch of YouTube videos, a web page or two and a blog, but I have not gone through them.  I also have no idea about the circumstances around the critique.  Zack’s wife is apparently a talented musician (according to Zack and Scott, on the grid episode), I think she is the female voice on the critique track.

    Like a lot of things, it seems it’s not how good you are, it’s how much self promotion you do.  You can be famous just for being famous.

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