Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Let me have it.. But as nice as possible ;) haha

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    ^ Check out my page.
    A little background – Im a legal business in NC. I shoot on manual and in RAW format. I edit in CS5. I’ve had one basic photog classes at the local college that taught me nothing I hadn’t learned from the internet or my manual :/
    I’m taking a break and either perusing a photo technology degree or graphic design next year…
    I’d like to make this my thing one day and I recently started working with (on my own) off camera lighting, but I haven’t done any examples of it with a real person yet.. Just stuffed toys. Eventually, I’ll share those to get critiques.

    I’d really just like some in-depth CC to help me grow.
    I know I’m not a pro.. I’ve loved photography all my life but I bought my first dslr this January and had people asking to do pictures around May, so I started my business this August. I’d just like to know how I’m doing so far 🙂


    Ps- I’m not calibrated yet 🙁 hopefully after Christmas!


    I’ll go first.

    I pulled up the Facebook photos page and started clicking through. The great thing is that I don’t see horrid, unforgivable photos. I’d say you are well on your way…but I can offer some tips to help you look more professional and possibly train your eye.

    Crayon/marker/comic sans-like fonts scream out amateur. I realize you aren’t using Comic Sans specifically, but it is a font with the same whimsical, fun, not-serious feeling. That may be what you actually WANT to depict, but then you also want to become professional. In my opinion, the lines, fonts and whirlygigs around your work take much away from the photos. Is that what you want?

    I like the fact that your watermark is (for the most part) not the center of the photos, but clicking through your photos, it becomes tiring. I’d make it much less obvious. But again…THANK GOODNESS it isn’t pasted across every child’s face! Here’s my source on watermarks. http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2011/11/03/the-alps-in-the-afternoon-and-why-i-dont-use-watermarks/

    Again, the artsy stuff draws away from your work. Specifically the fall advertisement “Book Your Fall Sessions Today.” The leaves, then the space around the couple draws so much away from your talent and I think the space is wasted by not making your photo dominant. I think this one way fauxtographers thrive — by drawing potential clients away from the work and into the loud and flashy graphics.

    Now. Try this. Sit back and rhythmically tab through your Facebook photo album. Let your eyes move naturally on each image and note where they end up. The eyes follow natural lines, divisions or other demarcations and they are also directed by light & dark contrasts. This is where photographers have to train their eyes to make sure the eyes finally rest on the subject. How many times did your eyes finally rest on faces? (I say faces because these are portraits & I’m assuming that’s where you’d want every eye to go; in other types of photos you might want the eye to end up on something other than a face.)

    The shot with the dark haired boy and girl in pink on the grass, my eyes went straight up the girl’s arm and into her & his face. But in the very next photo, with the boy, my eyes traveled up his shirt, to his face, then over to the tree. A bit too dominant maybe? Moving on a few more clicks ahead, there’s a black and white photo with two boys sitting on a porch. Each time I looked at it, my eyes went past the faces to the word Pepsi.

    But these are all very minor things, stuff to practice and think about. You are developing — we ALL are.

    All that said…I really like the kid in the red shirt, sitting and grinning big. Normally one might think the lighting needs to be different because the top of his head blends in…but I think because of the contrast it all just works. And with a bit of style.




    Thanks so much for your time and advice. I’m on a phone and I can’t type a novel or do all of that yet, but when I’m back at the computer I will try all your tips.

    I think my reasoning with the font at first was that I’m marketing for families & kids so it’d needed to look.. ‘kiddIe’ and not sophisticated ha. But reading your post made it click and also kids aren’t reading those.. The parents are.. A big ‘DUH!’ on my part.

    Ill give that article a read when I can, but I’ve been thinking for a while to just do my name (small) in some plain font at a low opacity. Maybe that will look better.

    Ill also click through– I really like that idea a lot.

    Thank you so much for your input!


    PS- Got any take on my editing? I think I need to let up some.. I feel they are too contrasty or something.. Maybe? On FB most of those are sharpened for the web so maybe I should post regular files later. Oh and are my skin tones crazy in pictures…? Just give me the heads up if they are haha 🙂


    FWIW…if you look at a pic and see the pp first, then the image, then there is far too much pp being used.  It never hurts to scale it down.  I’ve had people sit next to me and watch me while I worked on an image, and they still had trouble seeing the difference between the original and the final version.  As someone said, ‘It’s like the original only better’.

    Also, if your skin tones are whacky in camera, then that won’t change unless you go crazy with the RAWs  (I also shoot Manual in RAW and work in PS CS5). Try to get your wb right straight off the bat.  In cases of mixed lighting,try wb on auto.  Hope this helps.


    I always get my WB pretty good in-camera and do small adjustments in RAW I think I’m just making sure I’m not going overboard with editing.
    I sometime see peoples images with crazy orange tones or overly retouched skin and when it’s NOT my images I can totally see it.. So I guess I need someone on the outside to give me insight that I may currently be blind to 🙂

    I don’t think I’m crazy in photoshop, but I’m trying to tone it down now with editing.. I really just like a clean edit now. I hope thats me growing as a photog. haha
    I think I’m just needed feedback from someone other than my family/friends or my clients. People who have more knowledge on whats good and what’ll last.

    Thanks all 🙂


    I looked at this earlier, and thought I responded. I apologize that I haven’t done any drinking for this C&C.


    For the most part, looks like you have basic camera handling down, and are able to connect with your subject reasonably well. I liked some of your crops, and didn’t like others. One shot looked like you widened the subject’s eyes with liquify (although you probably didn’t) … https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/200757_217818945014363_228782690_n.jpg and it gets a bit of “uncanny valley” effect. I also don’t like the crop with the chopped hands.


    The next image is a good shot, but the colors look off in this warm light. Otherwise, it would be a great shot. There’s a red spot in the center of his forehead that you might smooth out. https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/574459_217778625018395_1295910862_n.jpg


    Your black & white images of Savannah are really good. The color ones, not as much, probably due to lack of modeling on the face and lighting. Part of this is the light, but part because of the pose — you told her to smile and it looks fake. But you converted the b/w images where she wasn’t smiling, and you did a good job with the conversion. If that was done manually, congrats. If not, you should figure out what made it good and be able to replicate it. (Hint: primarily tonality and facial modeling, combined with darkening the greens caused her to stand out better.) https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/196797_218420964954161_530571283_n.jpg


    Some of your other b/w images are not as good, both due to the conversion and the shot itself.

    Bad conversion and bad shot: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/555642_214764115319846_1496941180_n.jpg

    Good conversion, bad shot: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/418458_214764258653165_1032016680_n.jpg

    Watch for things like branches coming out of people’s heads, hair blowing across the face, etc.


    Some of your kid shots are really pretty cute. The ability to get kids to be kids in front of the camera or to pose when desired means you have a good connection to not only them, but more importantly, the parents. It’s too easy for a parent to become domineering over a kid, especially when they’re paying for something (like shots of their kids).


    So, while I think you need a lot of work on lighting and posing and processing, you also seem to have a lot of what it takes to be good at it. You especially need to pay more attention to your backgrounds.

    You are not a fauxtographer.


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    I think your photography is ok and I have no problem with  you charging for your work at all.  The only thing I would change is the like ladders and nasty fb  yuck that fauxtogs get into. It’s all over your wall tonthe point where I had to dig to get to your photography.  I also don’t like the cookie cutter graphics/templets used to advertise or promote your business.  Step away from those faux mistakes and further separate yourself from them.


    I see nothing bad or awful, it’s all well composed, in focus, and there aren’t any weird or corny PS tricks. I’d criticize my own work before yours 🙂


    Not a pro here, but I think you are doing really well. You seem to have some original ideas as far as posing. I was impressed by the photo’s at Chuck E. Cheese, you managed to make them not look like snapshots, that is hard to do! I think you have a good eye. Stef covered most of the critiques I would have had, like watch for poles and things coming out of the top of the head.


    From a consumer standpoint, you are not a fauxtographer, I would hire you in a heartbeat. You seem thoughtful, connected to your subjects and willing to learn. I agree that your promotional materials seem to be run-of-the-mill, but some of us traditional mommy types are attracted to soft, comfortable, familiar fonts and the like. But the 3 panel cards and “Book a Session Now” are Walgreens level while your photos are Dillards/Macy’s/Bloomingdales level.  It seems like you pay close attention to detail (spelling and grammar) but you don’t appear snobbish in your technical knowledge; some of us consumers get easily intimidated by photog-speak.

    Thanks for putting yourself out there for feedback. I will be a fan of your work.  Savannah’s freckles and lil man’s scowls are perfect to me.


    What are you doing here??  Your pics are awesome.  Someone is being a real snob about the ladders.  Seriously??  Her pics are awesome.   I would hire you and pay good money to get you to take pictures of my family.    The stuff about the fonts and stuff though is good advice though.  Work on that but your pics are fabulous.


    Not bad at all

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