Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? I'm back! And ready for a revote!

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    Hi guys 🙂  About 6 months ago I got the guts to ask you all how I was doing.  You critiqued and I took all the info I could and tried to do better.  I think I’ve grown a bit and I’m ready to resubmit and see if you see any improvement!    I have a smugmug account but it’s new and I’ve already fall behind loading images, so I’m going to leave my facebook page which has lots and lots of recent work!


    here’s the smugmug page incase you’re curious-  www.harmonyportraits.smugmug.com

    Looking forward to hearing your responses and getting some fresh advice!


    I have only looked at a few photos, near the top of your FB page.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.567083026656450.1073741829.567071996657553/832944080070342/?type=1&theater, is strange.  It looks like there is a Lensbaby effect.  Her hair seems to have deeper DOF than her face, as well as her shirt seems to be in focus, but her chin is not!  So, how did you get her right shoulder, right eye, and most of the hair along her part in focus, yet her chin and left eye are out of focus?  Most if not all of the shots of that woman seem to have been smoothed too much, or the light is very flat, to the point of her nose blending into her face so it appears her skin is almost totally flat from the area under one eye to the same area under the other eye, then the bottom of her nose protrudes normally.  I think more shadow would help.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/pcb.832946606736756/832946470070103/?type=1&theater, please pardon the expression, a boob show, with the added bonus of bouquets tucked into their crotches.  I wonder what the bride and her posse really think of that photo.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.832668813431202.1073742283.567071996657553/832668956764521/?type=1&theater, detail in her outfit is pretty good.  Light on her face is too flat but slightly better than for that other woman.  What is it about models on train tracks?

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.832668813431202.1073742283.567071996657553/832669013431182/?type=1&theater, had to laugh at this one.  Her shirt reminds me of a topographic map!   Oh, and you missed focus.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.567083026656450.1073741829.567071996657553/832509046780512/?type=1&theater, Olivia is cute.  Why is she posed like that?  Focus on her eyes looks good.  She has some blemishes that should have been removed in post.  The pose baffles me.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.567083026656450.1073741829.567071996657553/832470630117687/?type=1&theater, her skin tone seems way too pink!  If it is a grab shot, a following shot through an Expodisc or or a white card would help with white balance.   Her outfit being black with white letters might work as a reference with a raw file.  In the JPEG, it drags white balance to several incorrect conclusions.

    The photo of a girl in the leaves (Working on this cute families photos today! (4 photos)) , pops open then says it is unavailable content.  No matter, you missed focus.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.567083026656450.1073741829.567071996657553/832072600157490/?type=1&theater, looks washed out.  Histogram shows a large area at left of the cliff.  Revisiting the raw file might be the way to improve the image.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.830883846943032.1073742281.567071996657553/830884206942996/?type=1&theater, is an example of a shot where much more DOF might have improved the photo.  The out of focus blanket distracts.  Lens correction can be used to make the sides of the red door parallel.

    https://www.facebook.com/MomWithAPaintbrush/photos/a.567083026656450.1073741829.567071996657553/830720336959383/?type=1&theater, then we see the red door is a picture!  Since it is in your studio, you can measure the door width near the bottom, then again just below the arch.  The measurements should be equal.  They are not in this photo, you can see your stands are wider at the top than at the bottom.  Shorter lenses tilted a little up or down cause that perspective distortion.  Software can fix it but you have to shoot a bit wide because you lose some of the scene when applying a fix.  This photo also shows the light fall off inverse square rule in action.  At the top left, by your light the photo is burned out.  As you get further from the lamp, the light is not as bright.  For more even light you can move your light further back.  Since you are lighting a backdrop, shadow from a harsher light source should not be a problem.  Why does light seem to be escaping from the back of your softbox?  The photo makes me think you have the window in the long side of the room.  If that’s the case, move your background to the end of the room to give yourself more space to shoot across.  Separate your subject from the background as much as you can.  That will let you use a somewhat deeper DOF and still have the background out of focus.  Light your subject and background using separate lights to get independent control of both.

    That takes us to the beginning of the month, so I will stop there.  You still have things to work on.  Focus, shadow/highlight, white balance, posing, post processing.

    Most of the photos of the little guy on the front of your SmugMug page were pretty reasonable.  A couple had focus/DOF issues.  I don’t think the B&W conversions do any favours.   Then I got down to the bottom.  Why is the couple laying on the gravel bed of the railway?  That looks really comfortable!  NOT!  It looks like she fell down and dragged him down on top of her.  I just don’t understand models on tracks — model trains excluded.




    I don’t think portfolio building means what you think it means, or… I get the feeling you’re stuck and “portfolio building” is being used as a way to protect yourself against failure, because you don’t think you’re good enough. Here are some links that will help get you thinking, and on a more successful track. Get your real prices out there. They should be posted, so your clients know what your prices really are while portfolio building.

    How to build your photography portfolio {and when to open for business}



    I don’t see you as a fauxtographer As far as your photography goes. Yes, you have some things to work on. I can see that your experience level isn’t very long, but I can also see your potential. The feeling I get when I look at your pages is … She’s working her butt off for pennies, all because she’s trying to do the right thing. She sees she needs help, and isn’t as good as she would like to be, so she under charges and shoots like a maniac to try to stay afloat, all the while getting overwhelmed, and possibly a little burnt out. You came here thinking “please don’t think I suck., because I have to make some changes and start charging more”. Am I right?
    Yep, you probably jumped the gun and opened up shop too soon, and hind sight it would have been better to wait until you had a better handle on things. Coulda shoulda woulda. Thing is it doesn’t matter how you got here. All that matters is that you don’t stay here.
    (Ignore the title. It’s a little harsh, but it’s a great read, and I think you need to hear it)

    Dear cheap-but-good photographer: you are ruining my life and this industry

    You’re either in business to make a profit/living or you’re not. Quit goofing around. And I say this with kindness not malice


    IHF thank you for posting those links – they were really helpful, I printed them up to keep in my sketchbook 🙂

    OP, I’m only an amateur but a couple of things about your portfolio that stood out to me are:

    Some of the faces seem a bit over exposed. I think you cross the line between going for bright and punchy into being somewhat washed out and detail  and definition begin to get lost.

    The black and white images all seem rather flat, imo. Different lighting is required to make a black and white work, light which provides more contrast and/or a wider tonal range. I think it would help you to study photographers who excelled at b+w portraiture for inspiration and to understand what makes a strong b+w, Yousef Karsh did amazing b+w portraits.

    Good luck.




    Too much vignetting. Too much shallow DOF. Images just don’t look sharp, are you using a kit lens? Bad posing.


    You shouldn’t be charging for this.

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