Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? looking for some honesty. :-D

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • Author
  • #9704

    hi everyone!

    i’m looking to pursue photography as a career; i’m a pre-college high school student as of now. i shoot with a canon rebel t3 and i’ve been told i have a very good eye but i wanted to see what others who don’t know me thought. i edit with photoshop elements, though i edited some with snapseed, which is an okay program i got for cheap that got the job done. i try to touch up gently or very little at all. i don’t use program mode, i like shutter priority because it’s a little less chaotic with playing with settings. i also manually focus; i think it’s important that i learn how everything works without the camera doing it for me most of the time.

    my favorite kind of photography is macro and closeups but i do try and branch out and go into landscapes. not many people like getting their pictures taken so i only have one portrait in my portfolio as of now, and it’s an early one.

    i don’t think i’m a fauxtog. i know i’m still beginning but i would say for my age and experience i’m in a decent boat. i’m hoping to pursue illustration career wise and use photography on the side to earn money and as more leverage for getting a job, because someone who can shoot a good picture is always wanted in the art industry.

    i’d like to upgrade this year or next year to a mid-level dslr but i think my camera is getting the job done superbly now.

    so what do you think? 🙂 btw, a lot of this stuff is being considered for my portfolio, the majority of it i’m not certain on whether or not i’ll want to put it in. also, some of these were taken with a high-powered point and shoot, a canon powershot(i forget which model.) that worked pretty well for a while.




    I would just keep shooting more and more and see where it goes. Nothing from this set grabbed my attention. Practice practice practice! As for camera, just work with what you have until the wheels fall off, get some new glass and experiment. I used a canon XT out of high school and used it for the first year taking photos for a living and its worked out fine (21 now)

    Worst Case Scenario

    I’m afraid that leaves and peacock feathers never pay to have their picture taken, so it might be a short career.  Your pics are okay but nothing we haven’t seen before. I kind of like the dead butterfly and leaves shot, but nothing else caught my eye.  How are you thinking of making this a career?


    no shit sherlock, of course they don’t. but i don’t have people to photograph or the equipment to do it with.

    i hope to start getting some more lenses and different equipment soon. i was in a circumstance where i couldn’t use my camera for about five months, so i wasn’t really thinking about getting new stuff.

    and i hate refuting critcism but telling people it’s “nothing we haven’t seen” seems to be the go to comment. mind elaborating and giving me legitimate advice? like what might help me stand out? it seems like i’m just being dismissed.

    going to college for it? getting a bfa in photography and going into the industry? i’m in high school, i don’t know what branch of photography i’d want to go into just yet.


    Wow, defensive much? He wasn’t being malicious dude.
    Look, you need to find your niche. That’s what he’s saying. Don’t be a jerk, or else you’re going to rile up this small community and no one will be on your side.
    Basically right now your work lacks anything of interest. Leaves and grass and flowers are great for practice but they won’t be your bread and butter unless you’re doing super macro for text books or natgeo. If you want to shoot portraits, go out and photograph people. If you want to do landscapes, shoot it. A camera’s kit lens is better than most people give it credit for and until you understand the functions and limits of it, you shouldn’t move on.

    I started in high school on a Canon film camera. When digital moved into our school and replaced my photo lab, I adapted and took a Digital Photography class where they had us learning on a 5mp point and shoot with manual settings. I took my first set of portraits on a Canon Powersot A530 5mp point and shoot (the model one up from the ones I learned on in that 101 class) then adopted my mother’s lonely Rebel XTi my senior year.
    My first portraits were senior pictures for a friend, shot with the little baby p&s. His parents were thrilled and they payed me $50 and loved them so much, they tipped me an additional $30. You can still take excellent photos with a basic camera. Don’t use that as an excuse. If you don’t know how to utilize your current equipment, practice! Experiment! Don’t think that high end glass and a 2k body is going to improve your photography. YOU have to improve it first.

    If you want to take portraits, grab a friend. Who doesn’t love a new profile pic? If you want to shoot landscapes, go on a hike. If you want to shoot street photography, go downtown and hang out for a day on your weekend.

    Don’t start a fight, man. You’ll get crushed in here when you start behaving that way. We’re a nice lot, but we won’t sit by and let you behave childishly.


    Here’s a really practical example of how you could improve the last shot you posted.
    First of all, there’s too much going on. What is your focus? What would you like your viewer to see?

    You’ve got a heap of negative space on the right. I would have moved in, closer to the bridge, and shot facing back into the more wooded area. “But there’s a parking lot that would encroach on that side”, ok, tighten the frame again and move with an upward shot, grabbing the light through the trees. Lose the house in the frame all together.

    Grab a girlfriend and have her sit on the railing of the footbridge. Get in closer and the distance of the trees in the background will create a smoother, softer bokeh of the wooded area behind her. “But there’s not enough light in front of her to brighten her up!” get a large piece of white poster board or a windshield cover and light that lady up! Bounce the light back into her face. If you go even tighter for a head shot, you can manage catchlights in her eyes.

    These are all ways you could add interest to that location. I would love to have a little hidden gem like that close by!


    The 1st, 3rd, 4th,  5th and last photos are terrible. Nothing special and nothing I haven’t seen my 6 year old sister shoot. The peacock feather is more interesting and I liked it.  You captured the water well in the one with just the leaf.


    Other than that, keep practing.


    My thoughts:

    1st pic: Doesn’t really have anything of interest to focus on.

    2, 3, and 6: Over Saturated. The peacock feather doesn’t seem to have good focus. I don’t find the leaves very interesting. and 5 is out of focus.

    4: Not sharp focus, the leaf/branch is center in the image, and overall it doesn’t seem that interesting.

    5: a more interesting shot, but the leaves should be completely in the picture. Instead they are partially cropped off. Also, doesn’t seem sharp

    6: Your best shot out of the bunch. But still seems to lack sharpness. And I would have gotten ridden of that dark fuzzy line in the background. It takes away from the leaf.

    7:  Nothing really interesting to look at in the image. If the focus is supposed to be the bridge, it is too close to the edge of the image. My eye is drawn to the large tree next to the bridge. The sky seems blow out, and I am not a big fan of the sun coming through the trees like that (unless you can see the rays also).

    The Dandelion shot ( I missed it the first time through): Also, not sharp, and dead center.

    Check out this site for some tips on composition:  http://photoinf.com/General/KODAK/guidelines_for_better_photographic_composition_rule_of_thirds.html

    Overall, I would strongly suggest that you work on getting sharp focus in your images. You can have a perfectly composed shot and if it isn’t sharp it will ruin the shot.  As for interesting subjects, if you know good composition and lighting you can pretty much make anything interesting. For proof just check out Klaus Pickler’s rotted food still life photography: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/klaus-pichler_n_1399825.html#s835917&title=Pineapple



    Hmmm, I started to type out a detailed critique but the no shit sherlock statement pretty much put an end to that.

    In your defense, while peacocks and leaves don’t hire togs, I do make a living selling images without people that nobody pays me to shoot but people buy after the fact.  Just because no one is paying you to do it does not mean there is not money to be made.

    That said, to do that you really need to find subjects or places that are not overly shot. There is nothing wrong with leaves with water droplets or a bee on a flower and they sell every day. The problem is that there are millions of them on the net and even if you shoot the very best bee on a flower ever done you still have to compete with tens of thousands of other similar images. 1. That makes it hard to stand out and be seen and you must be seen to sell. 2. If you can get seen they still have to pick yours among a sea of similar images.  3. If they have a DSLR they will simply produce a similar image themselves. The concept applies to a LOT of over shot subject matter. Bald Eagles for instance. It takes some skill and patience to get a good eagle shot but there are a lot of people that do it leading to market saturation. Flowers, sunsets, butterflies, The Brooklyn or Golden Gate Bridges, etc etc etc ALL fall into this overly saturated market.

    If you want to actually make money selling “fine art” photography, whatever that is, you will either need to market your butt off or find subjects or places that simply are not overly shot. What the folks above are saying is that your choice of subjects are basically what everyone starts with. Nothing wrong with that at all but if you do want to sell well you have to find a way to shoot something different.

    Worst Case Scenario

    “nothing we haven’t seen” seems to be the go to comment. mind elaborating and giving me legitimate advice?

    okay.. you asked for it. Take a look at the stock exchange. http://www.sxc.hu

    Type in leaf and you’ll see hundreds of shots just like yours and lot that are better. But if you are actually looking for a picture to use, you’ll notice that at the bottom of each page is a set of amazing pics which seem to be exactly what you want and in terms of quality stand head and shoulders above everything else on the page. The thing is that istock own stock exchange and use the bottom of each page to advertise their paid for images. They know that they will sell great images by putting them next to boring ones.

    If you want to make a career of shooting grass and leaves you’re going to need GREAT images.


    You can’t really ask for honesty and then give a reply like that.

    Like everyone else said you’re shots didn’t grab me. Some showed a reasonable command of a camera but there’s more to being a tog than that.  You need to be more inspired with your composition and subject choice. NOt having people to shoot isn’t a good enough excuse. There’s a whole world out there with many interesting things to capture, it doesn’t have to people. If you really want to do portraiture then it’s easy to find a wannabe model for nothing.

    There are a million photographers out there, you can either take their advice or ignore it but if you want to stand out amongst them then perhaps you need to have a think about what you’re shooting.


    What’s scary is that flowers are the most overshot subject, and they still sell. Lots of people make livings shooting objects that don’t earn money.

    Of those shots, #5 is interesting. I like the composition of #1, but it’s still a boring subject.


    “i don’t have people to photograph or the equipment to do it with.”

    That’s perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve heard on this forum. Nobody is buying your bullshit.



    I think perhaps your biggest issue is your inability to take constructive criticism. And yes, it was constructive. It was explained to you that your subjects are mundane and not eye-catching. What do you not understand about that? Do you need someone to spoon feed you reasons why they aren’t interesting? These things have been shot billions of times and are simply boring. Not only that, they aren’t technically executed well. See the detailed critique above. That’s not to say you can’t shoot mundane subjects in a unique way. I would suggest 1. you get some thicker skin, or not ask for criticism. You may be in high school, but could you try not to act like it? And 2. look at photos from photographers you admire. I like browsing 500px for inspiration. You can really grow by just looking at photos that are leaps and bounds beyond yours. What makes them so much better? Is it lighting, use of color, really ingenious composition? And lastly, 3. Don’t be a gearfag. You could do immensely better with the gear you have now, you just haven’t developed the skills yet. Don’t believe me- search flickr for tags with the body and lenses you use.

    I hope you continue with photography and hopefully make a career out of it someday. But, you may want to turn down the dial on that attitude or you will end up sabotaging yourself in the end.


    Wow, Worst Case Scenario’s reply was rude and not very constructive. I can kind of understand why Lee14k was defensive. The other replies were very useful and constructive though.


    Wow, Worst Case Scenario’s reply was rude and not very constructive. I can kind of understand why Lee14k was defensive. The other replies were very useful and constructive though.

    Really, how on earth was that rude?

    Anyway, a couple of pointers for camera handling that will help the OP out. 1. start shooting in Av mode instead of Tv, aperture is far, far more important when shooting static subjects than the shutter speed is. 2. Stop doing manual focus, you won’t do it better than your camera with an entry level dslr without a focussing screen built for manual focus.

    Of the shots the only interesting shot is the one with the two leaves and the moth yet that is still lacking a bit. Photos in general don’t look interesting when you have a very bland leaf or flower smack bang in the middle of the frame. If it was an interesting angle or with an interesting angle of view. For example I’ve seen many stunning photos of dandelions when there has been another element to it than it just straight up for example using the extreme distortion and odd angle you get from a close up with a very wide angle lens or even a fish eye. Another variant would be the same shot but against a completely black background to give the yellow of the flower a chance to properly stand out and the symmetry of the plant. Add a bit more interesting lighting to it and it can pop quite nicely.

    Here is an example, not a dandelion mind you but it isn’t that different:

    View post on imgur.com

    This is shot with equipment which isn’t far off what you’ve got there with the addition of two cheap flashes and a piece of black foam board for a few dollars. Of course it isn’t perfect, it isn’t as sharp as it could be but it stands as an example of what you can achieve with fairly limited gear

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.