Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? My Portfolio – Opinions

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  • #6419

    Would you mind looking at my portfolio and offering critiques/advice? Are there stand-out images? Is there something I should delete and never do again? I live in fear and respect of this website, so I figured I’d just bite the bullet and put myself out there. (The images have been sized for web-viewing so I apologize in advance for any graininess or quality loss from compression.)

    http://members.photoshopuser.com/valeriedavidson/portfolio/

    Thank you fine people of YANAP.

    #6439
    IHF
    Member

    I’m confused.  Your website is clean classic black, with a nice round legible font providing your name.  Your portfolio is again classic, majority black and white images, with a classic clean feel.  But the water mark on only some of the images is Lilly and daisy, with bold color, a fancy, fun, scrolling, less readable font, with (at first glance) what appears to be paw prints splashed about.

    Then I click on your Facebook and we are full blown country polka dots and scrolly stamps with the same type of more classic type portraiture thrown in.  Your description says fun Lilly and daisy, play in the park, but your images don’t say that at all.  I found one session of images that match your description and look all florabella action like that’s all the rage right now and would fit in with the templets and brand you are using, but the rest, nope they just don’t fit in.

    Then I went to your blog that matches the templets on your Facebook, and the welcome that also matches.  And then back to your website.  There’s no flow at all.

    When I look through your images there is also no flow to them, and I have no idea what your style of photography is.  What will I get if I hire you?  Lilly and daisies, classic studio, blurry selective color,  framed effect edits, clean edits, bold saturation of color, black and white, high key, outdoors with hazy sun flare and pastels?

    Time to self examine.  Clean things up and simplify.  What do you shoot reliably and consistently?  Who are you trying to attract?  What direction are you taking currently?  Where do you want to end up?  What do you want to do more of, and what images will sell it best?

    Also your cow does not belong on a portrait photography business website.  Consider making a personal project portfolio or website for your cow shots and other art.

    Clean, redirect, simplify, then decide what type of branding best sells your photography services to the clients you want to attract.  Turn off the desire to look at other photographers work.  Concentrate on you and your work only.  What do you feel when you look at certain images?  Are there some that you would love to delete, but don’t because you are afraid others like them and it’d be a mistake?  Nope, delete them from your portfolio if they aren’t representing  your photography properly.  Anything you don’t want to do again, and don’t want requests for, get it off your business page.

    after you clean up and revamp ask again to get critiqued, it’ll help

    #6455

    Wow, you definitely went the extra mile. I asked about the portfolio on the link I sent and you found everything I think I have on the web!

    It stings, and I suppose it should. The truest pain hits closest to home, and you stumbled into my self-doubt, my worry and the niggling little bug which has been crawling through my brain. I’ve noticed a lot of photographers have a consistent look and feel from their blog, to their website, to their Facebook page. In truth, I’ve been thinking of each of these things as separate entities and as you pointed out, I shouldn’t. I will come up with an overarching theme which I think most closely matches who I am and who I am looking to attract.

    And that takes me to the photos. I thought I was looking for a technical critique on the images, but in keeping with your overall critique,  you looked for the way they all tie (or don’t tie) together. Yet another thing I’ve been worrying about. I’m in a small town and a fairly saturated photography market so my error has been an attempt to throw a bunch of spit balls and make it look as though I can shoot ANYTHING(!) I can’t, actually, and I don’t want to. Thank you for calling this to my attention and not being “my mom on Facebook who thinks everything I do is amazing”. Your honesty is refreshing. I am attempting to be the photographer for everyone and am actually becoming the photographer for no one.

    [Deep breath.]

    Ok, when I first read your review I wanted to cry, but I found my big girl pants. Thank you again for your review. I will reevaluate and revamp. I hope you’ll be here when I get back.

    #6491
    IHF
    Member

    Not meant to make you cry or feel badly at all, and I’m glad you turned it around to positive, because it truly was my intentions.  I think a lot of togs make the same honest mistake when starting out.  They jump in too soon and find themselves confused without a real direction.  It happens when you are supposed to be experimenting and learning but chose to add the extra pressure of shooting for others instead of just for yourself.

    Just remember, during this process to turn off your competition, and any togs that you admire, and try to look at your work as a stranger would see it.  Separate yourself from the shots, take off your mommy goggles, and turn on the critical thinking.  Its hard but not impossible, and I think you will be very happy with the end outcome.  I’ll try to be here, I’m curious to find out what your photography is really like

    #6699
    OctoberMoon
    Member

    I’d just like to say that that’s one of the best reactions I’ve seen to criticism, and it’s the mark of a true photographer–one that knows when the criticism is true, takes it to heart, and truly wants to improve. Bravo. 🙂

    #6912

    So, ok. I’ve been reworking my website, my blog and my Facebook site trying to tie them all together thematically. I’ve taken down the photos I don’t feel reflect my current vision. I fixed the slideshow on my website homepage so the photos are all oriented correctly and have a consistent look and feel and updated my website’s portfolio pages, breaking them into specific categories (i.e., animals, children, sports, etc.) I redid my “About” page in an attempt to be a little more direct and to the point, less flowery and more honest.

    Please check out the following sites and let me know your thoughts:

    http://www.Facebook.com/LilyandDaisyPhotography <—I haven’t taken down all the photos, but I’ve added new ones.

    http://www.LilyandDaisyPhoto.com <—Reworked the main page, will fix the font soon.

    http://lilyanddaisyphotography.wordpress.com <–Totally redone.

    https://twitter.com/LilyandDaisy <—Still not completely happy with the header. Will fix soon.

    A couple of points:

    -The Web Site is a stock design. I like the colors and the pattern, but I HATE the font. Changing it is a huge pain, but I’m working on it and will update it soon.

    -I live spitting distance from one of the most famous Ghost Towns in the world and one of the oldest military bases in the West which is why I went with a more classic look and feel.

    Thank you for your help, especially user “I hate Fauxtography”. I’ve learned a lot in this process. I took a huge step back and tried to look at my web presence and my photos through honest, unbiased eyes, taking off my “mommy goggles”. It was initially tough to do, but I am grateful for the help you’ve offered. I focus a lot on learning photography, lighting, digital editing and so on, but I’m a one-woman show. I don’t have a degree in marketing or sales, web design, or any of the other myriad skills which running a photography business requires above and beyond photography itself these days, so I feel I missed an important part of the face of my business. I hope that’s fixed now.

    I really hope I’m not a ‘fauxtographer’. I’ve been watching this site for some time and I think I’m at least a little more skilled. I know I’ve made some of the same novice mistakes a lot of folks make, so I’m glad I have you all to catch me before I end up on the highlight page.

    Here is my solemn promise: (1) I will never do a wedding for free “just for my portfolio”. (Even with regular portrait building for friends I only offer 5 web-size, branded photos which they can download from my website and an option to purchase prints at 50% off) (2) I won’t shoot for $25 and give away all the copies with a release(!) and, (3) I won’t advertise cheap services on Craigslist.

    Thanks again for your time. -Val

    #7020
    kbee
    Member

    Val, your attitude wins you huge points. The fact that you listened and understood it wasn’t coming from a mean place makes it clear to me, as OctoberMoon said, that you’re serious and not near to being a faux. Good work, and good luck!

    #7030
    IHF
    Member

    (Clapping)

    YAY!  So so SO much better! 🙂  you have a few images that aren’t as strong as others (ex: not a fan of selective color, and some have more of a snap shot feel)

    but that can be said of any photographer out there. And to nit pick right now, after you just went through such an overhaul, would just be silly.  All I know is, things seem way more thought out and clean, a lot lot less haphazard.  It shows now how much you care about what you do.  You did so well. And I loved your blog post about the snow 🙂 its so beautiful when strange wonderful things happen like that, and it great that you appreciated it, photographed it, and saw the beauty in it.

    it makes me feel really good that I helped, and I hope you continue to work with pride in what you do, and continue to strive to do your very best.  I have to throw in, I really like your studio work, and your black and whites are really nice (I myself struggle with conversion) Next time you feel all yucky and lost, and confused, just re vamp, the process suits you 😉

    #7033
    OctoberMoon
    Member

    My only other complaint is the black/white borders on your pictures. They look cheesy to me, and really detract from your work.

    #7065

    Thank you all very much! You’ve been a tremendous help in more ways than I can count. Thanks for the note on the photo borders, OctoberMoon, I’ll take another look at that, as well.

    I have to say that once upon a time I used to LOOOVE spot color, but my opinion on that has changed dramatically. I don’t even care for my own spot color images any more, even though there are still clients out there who think they’re just grand. It looks really dated to me now. I also try to avoid “snap-shot” looking photos and really try to avoid them. I’ll look again and cull further.

    I’ve adjusted my logo, too. It’s sort of a work in progress, but I’m sticking to the simpler is better idea for now, until I land on something I like better.

    Once again, thank you to everyone for your help and your opinions. It was scary, but I lived. I hope others will be brave and put themselves out there, too.

    -Valerie Davidson, Lily & Daisy Photography

    #7067
    OctoberMoon
    Member

    For some strange reason, most of us start out thinking that things like spot color, obnoxious color toning and that Glamour Shot haze (though I’ve never been a fan of that one) were great. I have no idea why this is, but thankfully, it wears off of most photographers as time goes on!

    #7068
    dstone81
    Member

    I love your revamp of your sites. They look very professional.

    P.s. I love the cactus photos on your blog.

    #7398
    stef
    Moderator

    You have some strong portraits, and I like your style. I especially like that you appreciate the power of shadows. Well done. I think the clever use of lack of light is as important as clever use of light itself.

     

    I would stick with the clean lines for your website as a consistency thing.

     

    The only suggestions I have are more subtle. I do not like OOF trailing eyes when doing thin DOF shots. I like both in focus. A couple shots you used a side kicker, and it was turned up high enough to blow out the skin. Same with a couple sunlight shots which would’ve benefited from fill flash to prevent that.

     

    And everything IHF said, I second it.

     

    You are not a fauxtographer.

    #13000
    karrenwilde
    Member

    I don’t have any question about the photo designs I like it because of its retro type photography. But have you tried outdoor photography, you can incorporate nature to every of your subject, this will give more better appreciation and recommendations.

    Regards,
    Karren Wilde of digital printing san francisco service

    #13004
    Thomas
    Member

    Hey OP – After reading through this topic it’s clear thar there has been improvement from what was there before. Kudos to your for taking the advice on board  :o)

    I didn’t go through all of your work but I went straight to your website link. My only criticism is the watermarking.
    This —>  http://www.lilyanddaisyphoto.com/children/h519bdb52#h519bdb52
    There is a large copyright logo debossed into the photo and  also the company logo watermark.  It detracts from the images a lot. If there really has to be a watermark then why not pick just one and try to stick with it.

    My 2 pence and I’m sure you will understand that I’m not picking on you, just offering an alternative.

    Cheers, Tom

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