Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? I am terrified of you people! Here goes nothing.

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    Hi! I’m Gina, I’m 23. I’ve been at this for about a year. I’m self taught. I Google EVERYTHING. I’ve been paid for probably 4 of the sessions displayed on my Facebook page to compensate for time before and after. Clients received a disc. I am open to constructive criticism, I only ask that you are not MEAN, please. I am well aware that I am not even close to what you would call a “professional” but I want to learn and I’d like to know that I at least have potential. So, am I or aren’t I?


    Open Focus

    Hey, self taught here — going to school in the next few years once my boyfriend’s student loans are paid off —


    I see a lot of very happy babies. You’ve got a lot of good shots (one of my favorites: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/528520_299550406793241_2022330090_n.jpg) but from what I can see, you tend to go a little overboard with skin smoothing. I noticed it a bit on a blonde child and it had overflowed into the eyebrows, making it look obviously painted. The trick to skin smoothing is using it sparingly,or from what I’ve discovered on my own —¬† not do it at all. If you absolutely have to smooth out skin (ie. the client specifies) I would suggest being careful around items like jewelry or clothes, hair etc. In this photo here you can barely see the necklace chain because you had gone over it with the brush. (https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/298173_169569626457987_761052454_n.jpg)

    I’ll leave the real critique to the real photographers on here, but these are just a few things that I’ve noticed. I think you’ve got a great eye for children, but probably need some work with older subjects. (I really like this photo in particular: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/409474_235932046488411_1973192176_n.jpg) Good luck! ūüôā


    Woe! ¬†Lot’s of jaundice going on. ¬†Some photos have no skin processing and could benefit from some, and others you went way over board. ¬†Almost looks as though some of the shots weren’t exposed and/or focused properly and you processed them to try to cover it up, or “fix” it. ¬†It was hard to look past the odd editing and just view the photos themselves. ¬†My advice? ¬†Work on getting things right in camera, and if you are using actions or presets STOP! ¬†I did notice that a lot of your outdoor shots the lighting is pretty bad. ¬†I’d look into some light modification of some sort, because to me they just look like anyone with a camera could have took them and passed them through a jaundice filter and voila! ¬†Studio shots are a little better, but the lighting still isn’t quite right. ¬†I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m sure some pros will chime in and offer better help.


    It looks like you are really good with people though, and lot’s of photos, the posing/comp was really well executed.


    Right now my vote is faux, but with a little help and some more CC and practice I can definitely see you improving and losing the faux status


    I’m with i hate fauxtography on this one. I can’t shake the green off when i look at the pics.I see a lot of things that could be potential submissions to this site mostly because of the editing you’ve done on it. Also, i get the feeling you are rather tall. Most of your photos have a downward angle and i feel a bit dizzy going through the childrens albums especially. For the kiddos don’t be scared to get eye level.

    I hate fauxtography makes a good point about your outdoor lighting.


    I had to concentrate on this picture to figure out what it was. The light is overpowering on the left and is causing the dress to wash out into the background.

    I honestly did not find the Muphin Chuckrs Live album to be very good. This photo especially


    I know your friend said they liked it but, if you think about it carefully, would you honestly like this picture if you saw it in a magazine featuring the band? Concerts CAN be tough to shoot because of the light show, i understand. Overall, i would just have left this picture out from that album. The other photos have a strange wash over them that i’m not sure if you edited in or if you got them off camera like that.

    I think that your best bet is to start out working on composition. Like i said, you have this downward angle on a lot of shots. And most of the photos feel like they are something someone could have done with a cell phone. When you figure out the composition thing (rule of thirds. it is a fundamental of photography! there are tons of articles out there to help you out if you do a quick google search), i would suggest learning how to deal with your lighting situation. (look up how the iso and shutter speed affect a photo. again, fundamentals). And then when you have that figured out look into aperture settings and how they work (fundamentals again!).

    And there is no reason to be terrified of people here. Everyone is just trying to help. If we were truly a-holes we’d let you think you were doing great and then would submit your photos. I think everyone here honestly wants to help, otherwise we wouldn’t take the time to go through your portfolio and thoroughly critique it. ūüôā





    I also think you should quit with the contests and give aways and marketing, and instead of shooting for others, shoot for yourself and work on in camera and the technical aspects of photography BEFORE you start taking on clients again. ¬†When you feel it’s time to portfolio build again, can I suggest posting your regular prices (prices that will turn you a profit, and have you making AT LEAST minimum wage after all of your expenses, and fees and taxes have been figured in), so people understand that the lower prices you are charging is just as you portfolio build, and you will soon be charging real prices. ¬†This is much more effective and honest than sales and contests and what not. ¬†It also lets people know how much your photography and photography in general is actually worth. ¬†Lot’s of togs get trapped in that cheap photographer label and get burnt out in a jiffy, especially after they find out what they are charging doesn’t even cover the cost of doing business, and in all actuality they are paying their clients for their hard work. ¬†They try to raise prices but they are unsuccessful at doing so. ¬†and this is the timeline of a fauxtog. ¬†avoid it at all costs if you are serious about making a living with your photography.


    Again, I have to say it Рmake sure you computer monitor is correctly calibrated.  It seems to be a recurring theme around here Рmonitors not calibrated correctly, final results come out way off the mark.  Recalibrate and see if you see what we are seeing . . . . . .


    So, I’m only looking at your album marked Portfolio. Remember, this album is supposed to be the best of the best of your photography. It is what defines you as a photographer. There are no excuses for anything in any album marked as your “portfolio”.

    Based on that, here are the problems I see.


    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=304430642971884&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater has 4 girls in it. It’s shot a little low, so everyone is chinny. One other girl is looking on… why? Because you didn’t pose them correctly. The 5th wheel looking over a shoulder is not good. I’m ignoring the processing… this is still a snapshot.


    You have some issues with skin tones. This might be because you’re sending things through filters, but this one could be a nice image if you fix the skin tones: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=299551900126425&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater It’s really flat lighting, but that can be overlooked because it’s a great pose. But I’m not a big fan of your overuse of post processing filters.


    This shot seriously scared me. I literally recoiled in my chair. Was I looking at a murder? SIDS? THE EYES ARE BLACK. When you get a shot like this, don’t try to save it. DELETE IT, and whatever you do, do not put it in a folder marked “portfolio”. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=249553735126242&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater


    This one is cute and it tells a story, but you should’ve used a smaller aperture. The girl in back is not in focus. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=169569626457987&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater This is one of your better shots… and it has too small DOF.


    Another thing you’re doing is you think extreme close-up shots need YOU to be there using the minimum focus distance on your lens. THIS IS WRONG.¬† You get a much better perspective zooming in from a bit farther back. When you get in close, physically, your subjects get horrible distortion. Here are examples: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=166602893421327&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=259202060828076&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=232578616823754&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater

    The last one is distorted, but is a good use of the close-up distortion. The others are not. Do you see why? One is a kid being a kid and it emphasizes the personality of that baby. The others are not so good… with huge foreheads and such. I guess I don’t hate them all, but getting in too close and distorting your subjects is a theme of yours, and only one out of several look good distorted.


    The crop on this is too tight. It needs to be a touch wider. It’s a decent shot, from a low angle, but that’s okay. But cutting someone’s head off at the middle of the ear is bad cropping. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=228895110525438&set=a.135543886527228.35211.135543696527247&type=3&theater


    4 of your 25 images are worthy of being in anything marked portfolio. That’s not a very good number.


    Here’s what you need to do to improve your photography.

    Remove everything from your album marked “portfolio” and add only those things that are your best work. The majority is not worthy of that title… and it’s better to have a small number of great shots, than a large number of mediocre shots diluting your good shots.

    Watch your exposures, especially in sunlight. You blew out some big portions of skin and dress on at least two shots. Either get a scrim and have someone hold it for you, or shoot in the shade.

    Stand back a little farther to avoid distortion, especially when you think “Oh, I want a nice close up”. Get a longer lens for that instead. Stay at least 3 feet away except occasionally when shooting kids.

    Work on getting a really good exposure and pose. Make sure everyone is in focus. Make a nice portrait without any goofy aged filters and such. Feel free to also add those filters, but only AFTER you do it normally. Repeat.


    Some of your photos are good. I really did like several. The processing was getting a little old, but even ignoring that, there were some compositional issues that simply could not be surmounted.


    You’re close, but right now you are a fauxtographer.



    Stef, is that what’s wrong with these photos as well? ¬†Flat lighting?







    I wouldn’t normally do this, but it seems we lost her anyway. ¬†I knew these shots didn’t work for a handful of reasons, and lighting is one of them, but since I am still learning studio lighting and trying to understand it properly, I had/have no idea what is wrong, just that it is. ¬†It would help me out greatly to have an answer. ¬†Thank you in advance

    BTW so sorry for calling you Steph so many times in the past…..lol Just today I noticed I was talking to Stef not Steph *oops*


    The last one you posted, fauxtography, is just an on camera flash making it look like a snapshot in a family album, and the first one is really strange kind of lighting. Her nose has no definition to it, and everything around her BUT her eyes is lit.


    It looks like there was a light to her right and a light to her left and she used a flash which gives us those cheek shadows. I’m no authority on studio lighting so don’t take my word for it.


    You didn’t lose me. I am simply reading everyone’s feedback and taking it all in. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to skim through my albums and give me a thorough and honest critique. I will take all of your advice and apply it accordingly.

    I only wanted to point out a couple things. Archy, the shot you used to give an example of my outdoor lighting was taken inside. It was hung in front of a glass door. If you could give me another example so I could see what you mean, I would appreciate it.

    Stef, your response was very thorough and I thank you for it. Although, I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you say you’re looking at my “portfolio” album as none of them are named “portfolio”. All of my albums are named for the subjects. I can only assume that you misread “profile pictures”.¬† Thank you for your detailed descriptions of how each shot could be improved.

    I will keep studying.



    your skin tones are all yellow, as mentioned before is your monitor calibrated?  If you are charging people for your work you owe it to them to calibrate.  You seem to run actions and presets at full strenght, your colours/tones and white balance are all over the place.  The harsh lighting and shadows on the pictures where you used flash are a dead give away you either are using your pop-up flash or have no idea how to use your external flash unit. You have more than a couple of images in your ablums that are OOF and even more that have strange posing and cropping. 

    In short, if you are charging people and putting yourself out there as a photographer for hire with the calibre of work shown on your facebook page you are a fauxphotographer.


    YAY! ¬†Gina so glad you aren’t gone!!! ūüôā

    a few random bad outdoor lighting examples:






    If weddings, events, and shooting whenever and wherever the client needs you, is what you are going to be doing, light modifiers and learning off camera flash are a must for you.  Otherwise, your shots are just gonna look like anyone can take them.  Natural light photography has a lot more to it than just not learning studio lighting.


    Since reading your replies, I went to calibrate my monitor and everything is in check. The “yellow” tint or “jaundice” mentioned earlier is a vintage inspired filter. Most of the people I shoot for ask for that “vintage” or “aged look” and so that’s what I used. These people were pleased with their photos but I see the “aged look” is sort of taboo here, lol. In fact, everyone I’ve shot for has never had a complaint and has always been more than satisfied with the final product. I know I’ve just thrown myself into the lion’s den for saying that. Of course I know I still have A LOT to learn. Again, I never claimed to be a professional. This is mostly fun for me. Like I said, I will apply what I have been told here to my future endeavors and I will never stop asking questions. Thanks again.



    Though not a fan myself (to me the images always look urine soaked) , here’s Vintage done right with good light and posing and skin not all blurred to hell ¬†http://www.florabellacollection.com/florabella-vintage-photoshop-actions.html ¬†The site offers tutoring, I believe so if this is one of the filters you have you might want ¬†to take a look. ¬†Kelbytraining.com or even Scott Kelby’s blog offers lots of great advice on skin softening.


    Best of luck!

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