Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? I asked once before but I'm asking again

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    If I remember correctly from your original post, one of your paid wedding clients wasn’t satisfied with pictures and/or service you provided them with as well, and we said that you should return the money you charged? (Correct me if I’m wrong, and have you mistaken for someone else, and I apologize if I am)

    What’s going to happen when you start charging profitably for your services and depend on the income from your wedding photography?



    I agree with what everyone has said so far, the only thing I wanted to add is this. I noticed it in one of your previous posts I think too, but you seem to make a lot of excuses to validate mediocre work. There are no excuses in art, in this case photography; simply it works or it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, delete it. It has no place in your portfolio.

    Prospective clients won’t care about difficult light settings or fussy brides – in the case of when she wanted to be shot (btw, I agree with WCS, you should set the time, not her).  If there is no other option, do a reccy beforehand for the best location at that specific time; is there a shady place, will you need a scrim, reflector, fill flash etc.?

    Again, with the church being a poor place for lighting, but countless others do get it right, so how do they? Research the tools and knowledge you need to get the job done to a satisfiable standard. A huge part of location photography is working around badly lit locations and the short time within which you have to shoot. AND making beautiful images from those circumstances.

    All clients will see are inadequate images, not the excuses. It’s not their job to consider whatever excuses; it’s yours, and yours to problem solve them.

    I don’t know about being a faux, but I don’t think you’re ready to charge yet.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Professional, by definition, means you’ve been paid for your work. I’ve been paid to take photographs for two weddings so far. A third myself and another took photos for the bride as a wedding present. Of course I’ll use my class assignments until I become more established.

    If you call yourself a professional, people will expect to see professional quality images. You are not doing yourself any favours, or impressing anyone (except yourself) by using the term professional. I am a professional photographer, but the only place I seem to use that word is on here. None of my websites ever refer to me as a professional. If you can’t tell by looking at the pictures, saying it won’t help.

    Welcome to the real world! It’s not like photo class is it!

    Why the attitude here?

    Because the list of excuses you give for taking bad images, are just everyday problems that any real photographer has learnt to over come. You don’t seem to have learnt ANYTHING about photography.


    Welcome to the real world! It’s not like photo class is it!

    Why the attitude here?

    The other day, Jay Dickman was saying:  “Photography is the new international language.  So we communicate with each other through photography.  And, what’s a photograph if we are talking about that?  A photograph is an image that speaks to a large audience on many levels, it is a lot of languages going to it, versus a snapshot with which we engage for just a few seconds.  It has been proven that your audience, whether you’re looking at National Geographic, if you’re looking at a blog, if you’re looking at Facebook, whatever, is going to give your image less than a half second of attention unless you create a powerful image that engages them, that pulls them into your world, that educates them, that gives them a narrative.”

    Explaining most National Geographic photographers came from newspapers, he also said:  “As a photographer with a newspaper, you are responsible for three to five assignments every day; and you had to produce.  Your editors didn’t want to hear ‘I wasn’t in the mood, I wasn’t feeling creative’, you had to produce.”

    I forget who, but a couple of others recently said “you can’t publish excuses.”  Well, obviously, on the Internet, where there are no editors, you can.  But, your audience does not receive them well.

    It wasn’t mentioned because of the group he was addressing, but beyond what Mr. Dickman said, even if you have an engaging subject you have to have the technical competence to deliver a good looking image.  If there are two images with similarly compelling narratives, the one that is properly exposed, well lit, well composed, and has good focus will get most attention over another that is technically lacking.

    Photography is an exercise in problem solving.  Pick up a copy of National Geographic or Sports Illustrated and look at the photography.  Or, look at the photos in a major daily newspaper.  Fashion magazines are entertainment, lots of the photos are heavily edited.  That kind of editing is not permitted in news photography where the photographer can even get in trouble for editing with the lens by selecting what to include and what to exclude, and use of all but the most basic tools for cropping, white balance, dodging and burning are expressly forbidden and those that are allowed should be used with great care and in minimal amounts.  Compare your photos to news photos and decide how professional you really are.


    Look, excuses won’t help here. I take thousands of bad photos every year. The difference between you and me is that I don’t post those photos as a portfolio asking for a critique. I have lots of photos on my hard drive where I have people in posed group shots not looking at me, I have over powering flash use, I have have shoddy white balance etc. I even have some really blurry pictures I’ve forgotten to delete. What I do with those photos is to look at them critically and try to learn from my mistakes. I don’t see this happening here. I looked through the thread from 2012 and you aren’t any better now than you were then. You still do the same mistakes.

    I can see two explanations, either you are pretty shit at photography (which I don’t think you are necessarily) or that the people who help you develop are shit. Take a proper look at what you are doing, is this really the level of quality you want to churn out for the rest of your career? If it is, may I suggest you get some kind of liability insurance that will cover you getting sued.


    Hi VampireKetsuki,

    If you are still monitoring your thread?

    I had a peek at some of the photos you put up for critique. I wouldn’t go into detail trying to comment on this number of shots, and especially since others already have. But after viewing some of your stuff I would pose a question or two, if I may, for your consideration. I’m not grilling you but I definitely think you, or anyone else considering a career in wedding photography, should be asking themselves these questions (and more).

    Could you say that you thoroughly understand basic rules of composition and cropping? And explain the do’s and don’ts of said as it pertains to portraiture? Until you understand the rules you can’t successfully break them. This includes background, framing, use of positive and negative space, how and where to crop a portrait, just to name a couple.

    Do you have a digital post production workflow that is disciplined, efficient, and makes sense? How do you deal with attaining correct color balance for one thing? And this before getting “artsy”. Do you shoot RAW or .jpg and why? Do you have the ability to batch-process? Do you understand when, why and how to sharpen? Do you understand how to process for print? Can you create a proof sheet?

    Do you know how to shoot people wearing glasses and what tricks can be done with them to eliminate glare? Do you know how to watch for this phenomenon? Do you understand the Family of Angles? Do you know what the angle of incidence is? The angle of reflection? How they relate?

    If you absolutely have to shoot in harsh sunlight do you know what techniques and equipment to use to help mitigate the harsh lighting and why?

    Do you know and understand the primary rule for mitigating noise when shooting at high ISO values in low light?

    Could you explain the difference between short and broad lighting and what effect it has on any given subject? When to use which and how to get either in natural lighting conditions? Do you understand the use of off-camera provided lighting and how to use your camera settings to best advantage when using said? How to mix ambient with provided? Do you know what on-axis lighting is?

    Do you understand the effects of “keystoning” and perspective distortion and how to correct it or avoid it entirely? Do you know what causes converging and diverging lines?
    Can you shoot one outstanding, well lit, properly framed, well posed, classic portrait and properly retouch it (without hiding behind effects, blur, or “artsy”)? Explain everything you did and why you did it?

    Do you have a second shooter/VAL.

    Do you use proper redundancy? If your camera goes south or you drop a lens in the punchbowl what then? What lenses on how many and what kinds of cameras do you use? What other things require redundancy?

    Do you have a necessary shot list? Do you discuss this with the B&G at the pre-conference?

    Do you assess the location/lighting you are shooting in before the event? Do you liaise with the people in charge of the location prior to the event to ascertain what is allowed and what isn’t and what you hope to be doing? What if it rains? Do you make contingency plans?

    Do you realize wedding photographers are the most sued genre of photography? Do you have insurance and can provide proof on demand? Do you pay taxes on this income? Are you a registered licensed business with proper ID numbers?

    Do you have a clear and understandable contract that is discussed and perused at the pre-conference with your Clients?

    VK you need to understand that the successful pros use tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. And they know how and why to use every bit of it. They understand all of the techniques and tricks. You can’t attain the professionalism you are hoping to hear you have without all these things and knowing the answers to all of my questions and more. And I’m just naming a very few off the top. Hell hath no fury like a Bride scorned when on her most special day ever you dropped the ball. So you can’t successfully and consistently show up with an entry-level camera body and one kit zoom and little understanding about how to use even that.

    You have some potential as far as I can see. And you have done well coming here to get some critique. Pretty brave and I can see one needs to also be thick-skinned! Wedding photography is a big deal. Maybe one of the most demanding genres going. You have received some good (if sometimes harsh) advice. In fact, cameraclicker’s advice doesn’t get any better and is some of the best advice I’ve seen posted anywhere. We are lucky to get it.

    But the very best and most important investment you can make is in yourself. Get the experience, the education, the understanding before you start asking others to pay their hard-earned money for the lack thereof. Then you’ll get it right.


    Yes I’m still monitoring the thread, I’ve been out all day yesterday/today, in fact I did some photoshoots with my BJDs (Ball Jointed Dolls) downtown today. To all the questions you asked me, are you expecting answers or are they hypothetical?


    Hi VK!

    Just a theory. If you can answer them all great! I don’t need the answers myself.

    I was just hoping to provoke some thought in (hopefully) a non-hostile, friendly way.


    Also VK? If by chance you don’t know a couple of the above questions (or anything else) and would like to? Probably all you would have to do is ask.

    I know I’ll help all I can (however much that may be).


    Since it’s almost 11 pm I’ll work on answering them tomorrow lol. Reading over I think I know most of the answers, but like I said it’s too late to go through all of them tonight 🙂


    Great VK!

    Again my intention wasn’t to get you to answer them here necessarily. That you can answer them to yourself is enough.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Wow TRAINWRECK that was a long an in-depth  answer. I’m not sure I know them all but I’ll assume you are American and we Britts have a different name for the ones I’m unsure off.

    I hope VampireKetsuki appreciates the trouble you went to. ( I tend to keep my answers short, as I’m a crap typist!)

    I do think that you forgot that on top of all the technical stuff, you do need at least  a modicum of artistry. That little something that can’t be taught.

    Being able to look at a scene and see the picture. Thinking “That’s awful, but if I just move that a bit and get a bit lower, it will look great”.

    We often see pics here, where you can see that they have the idea, but not the camera mastery to capture it.

    Not sure what to call it, but I’m pretty sure that VampireKetsuki doesn’t have it.


    Great reply, TrainWreck! May I ask you to point me to an ADVANCED article / video describing techniques to mitigate harsh shadows from noonday sun?

    I exclusively shoot candid families and children on location in parks & playgrounds they choose. Even though we have several meetings before the shoot to discuss – among other things – the best time (depending on the season) for ideal lighting, invariably the families choose lunch hour on a cloudless day.

    Bear in mind these children are “unmanageably dynamic” and often not capable of standing still for more than a few seconds.

    Thanks for any help you can give. 🙂


    EyeDocPhotog, have you tried dog collars chained to stakes in the ground?  OK, OK!  I’m being facetious.  You have accurately described your challenge however.  You want to improve lighting while not directing your extremely active subjects, possibly while trying to avoid making them aware of your activity.  That is a tall order!

    Where you shoot, and how much you are willing to spend may be factors to consider.  Editing tools will definitely be your friend.  So will a hot shoe mounted flash.

    You could use off-camera flash, but that would work best if you had a small army of assistants with Speedlites on paint poles.  Reflectors are like off-camera flash but being larger and more or less flat, they catch the wind.  None of this lends itself to children running around and even less to those who don’t want a photo taken so you have to sneak up on them.

    Most scrims have the same issues as lights; someone has to position them, or you have to have a really, really big one.  We used to live in a house with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, south facing windows.  Mom purchased fibreglass curtains to cover those windows.  They let in quite a bit of light and you could see through them.  I don’t know if you can still get them but they would have made great scrims!  They were extremely large, and porous so wind would have gone through them.  With some sewing and a bit of hardware, you could cover a whole backyard.  Another material that might work well is the lightest weight white spinnaker cloth you can get.  You might be able to get a blown out spinnaker, or a drifter, for next to nothing if you ask around at the yacht clubs.  The challenge is that a lot of spinnakers are rainbows or dyed to match the boat’s colours because that sail is not used as much as the rest.  The other challenge is that we sail on the Great Lakes where sometimes there is almost no wind, so specialized sails are really light, ocean sailors may use heavier sails because more wind is available.  Usually an ocean going sailboat has a shorter mast, too.  New York is going to have ocean sailors.  A local chandler could get very light material even if they don’t normally carry it, and they could make up a scrim large enough to cover a football field, with enough strength to withstand being caught by wind.  The guy that shot the Sears Catalogue cover for years shot the same family from when the kids were little until they were grown.  The family happened to be walking on a beach, just when his crew was doing a shoot, and he asked if they would like to join in.  They were shooting at noon, in direct sun on a beach.  The crew put up a huge scrim, just a level fabric supported by a bunch of stands and some tubing.  The photo was good enough to make the cover, and the family was brought back year after year to shoot the next cover with the year’s fashions.

    If a giant scrim is too much, how about a Circular Polarizing filter?  I would try it in conjunction with hot shoe flash.  I would also try an adjustable ND filter set to the minimum darkness, or to maximum light transmission, which ever way you want to look at it.  Unfortunately it won’t let most hoods fit, but I have had some really good results shooting tulips with that filter.  Don’t laugh!  Tulips are a pain to shoot because they are translucent and waxy.  They reflect light like crazy and in direct sun they are like little light bombs.

    Something else that might work depending on your timing is HDR.  My 5D Mk III can be set to make in-camera HDR photos.  Press the shutter release once, get three raw photos and a JPEG.  It can save the raw files and will do minor alignment, so there are several options for final processing.  Your 1Dx should have the same feature.  You can probably adjust for 1, 2, or 3 stops between exposures.  It eats more memory card, but might work, at least if they stop running.


    Composition/Cropping: Rule of thirds, don’t put in the direct center, interesting eye direction instead of staring at the camera, no poles coming out of people’s heads,

    My personal post production is done in Lightroom only. Shoot in raw, cuz less loss, copy as DNG from memory card to new folder, color balance it with something around the room that I know for a fact is white/black/gray. I usually don’t batch process, I usually go one at a time. Creating proof sheet (through lightroom) is easy.

    Head or glasses tilted down somewhat to reduce glass glare. I know why it happens but not how to avoid it all the time.

    Diffuser if at all possible for harsh sunlight.

    I know perspective distortion and I correct lens distortion in lightroom

    I can shoot without going artsy and explain it.

    I have a second shooter, though he’s more for the candid behind the scenes shots.

    I have redundancies in a second DSLR (lower model than mine) five lenses, two extra batteries per camera, charger jic, extra memory cards, and a netbook (to work as a portable hdd and copy stuff off the camera after the ceremony is over)

    My actual equipment list is: Nikon D3200 (main), Nikon D60 (spare), 18-55 lens, 18-135 lens, 28-80 manual lens, 55-200 lens, 70-300 lens, 64gb memory card, 32gb memory card, hand full of 8-and-lower memory cards, and my flash just broke so I need to buy a new one.

    I have a shots list which is discussed and gone over, adding in any additional photos the b/g want (such as the photo on the overlook, looking over the city)

    I go to the rehearsal and ‘scout’ the location then, and talk to the minister. Generally speaking, at least in my area, the ministers prefer no flashes (even on camera or hotshoe flash) during the ceremony to keep it sacred.

    I’ve only done three weddings and the weather has been good for all three (knock on wood). I did have an alternate place to shoot the bride/groom/wedding party/family/friends/etc looking over the city the one day since it was raining during the ceremony but clear after.


    No I didn’t realize weddings were the most sued genre, no I don’t have insurance, yes I have/will pay taxes on it, no I’m not registered since.

    Avoiding noise I don’t know (besides what was told to me in this thread) nor do I know (at least the terms) short and broad lighting. I have used off-camera lighting before but don’t use it often since I don’t own any myself, it was all from the school.

    Phew, I think I answered all of them, admitting the ones that I don’t know.


    And this is to ‘Worst Case Scenario’ I believe I do have a creative eye/eye for detail, seeing things that most people don’t

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