Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Ok…. Just curious


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    http://Www.facebook.com/sunkissedsmiles  by no means do I consider myself a pro, I learn something new every time I do a session or just take random pics. I didn’t take every pic you see I’ve tried to teach a few people how to move beyond auto and was nice enough to post their best shots so they felt special. I hate doing maternity and babies. The maternity and baby ones were a “friend” who bugged the crap out of me to do them and I wasn’t feelin it after her oh 5th go round of please will you do pics of ___ for me. The most recent family session was sprung on me while there to do an event and they said hey will you do a fewfamily shots… This included him and his kids her and her kids all the kids all of the family this sibling and that sibling etc… And we have 10 min before the party starts to do it oh and we like under this tree even though you tell us the lighting is crappy. Some is old some more recent, some snapshot style but I am a personality photographer not a formal pose type. I shoot with canon only,7D t2i or t3i when I need a back up witu another lens for a fast swap. My fave lens is my nifty 50. My 24-70 (the beast) was dropped :(((so I’m left with a 55-250, 18-135, kit lens I never touch and my 50. Honest opinions please thanks 🙂



    First thing I noticed, which kept me from really enjoying any of your shots: watermark. Get rid of the watermark or make it way, way less obvious. It’s the first thing that ‘jumps out’ in your photos.  I realize that’s probably what it is supposed to do. But unfortunately, it draws the eyes away from the subject. But don’t listen to me…

    Here’s what Thomas Hawk had to say:



    I used to have it much smaller but I had a few people  trying to claim my stuff as theirs. I do opt to use a simple one vs an image style. Sadly around here there are so many i got a camera off Craigslist and now I’m a pro types it makeshit hard for us that put our heart and soul into it to really succeed. I do charge for some stuff usually just enough to cover gas to get to wherever  and to help make my husband think I don’t just spend gobs of money on equipment for fun lol. So the biggest reasons I use the watermark are to keep people like the one fauxtog I know from claiming my work is theirs and foradvertisement on stuff I do totally free like the shots of the thrift store and flea market for her advertising. I did it because I thought her stuff looked fun to shoot she called me after age saw them and said I could have a month of vendor days free if I wanted them (for my other hobby crafts and stuff) the sweet 16 was free  because I felt bad that the dad lost his job and the only thing I could offer was my photo skills my logo on those pics led to a paid thing the next week the first birthday and the hey can you do a few family shots please. I don’t like doing outdoor family shots until after 4-5 pm here in Florid.  Lighting is so much more cooperative. When I had my own site up (25 a month and not doing much paid stuff can’t justify the cost but I own the domain when I’m ready to put it back up)I could disable copying  pics and posted them no logo. Facebook a straight up war anymore with local photogs. It’s sad really because I look at it as an art, we all have our own style and preference of what we want to shoot. We should network and support one another rather than being so competitive and degrading of others.  But that’s just my opinion lol.


    So other than the logo, how are my pics?


    Laura Beth

    Even if you have copying/saving disabled on your website, all the person has to do is take a screen shot. It’ll be a low quality photo, but they could still use it online. With a watermark, all they have to do is crop it out if it’s on the edge. A huge watermark across the middle of the photo is likely to get you a spot on this website. There’s no real way to keep people from stealing your photos. Just take it as a compliment, but call them on it if they’re claiming the work to be their own.

    And no, I haven’t looked at your website. I can’t get it to pull up.


    “in no way do I consider myself a pro”. Yet, you have a “business”. Take clients and even “teach” others?

    While I agree with you that your photos are hardly pro quality, you ARE a pro! Or at least pretending to be. You are charging for professional services, and you are marketing your professional services.  You are presenting/representing yourself as a pro.  You may not be licensed, pay taxes, have insurance, contracts etc like a true legit pro does, and you don’t have the over head like they do, but you are in business just the same.  You just chose to do it illegally, and unlike a “real” pro, and JUST like a faux, you don’t care if you make a profit or go about it legitimately or not.

    Your prices are ridiculously low.  You aren’t even charging what it costs YOU  to be in “business”.  The way you are practicing, is exactly why websites like this were started in the first place.

    Even hobiests (of any kind, not just photography) that wish to have a little hobby income,  charge what their product is worth.  They take in to consideration, their time, their talent, their cost of creating the product, and delivering the product, and sell it at its true value.  You and your photography are woth more than pennies an hour, and certainly other professional photographers are, but by practicing the way you do, you bring not only the value of your work down, but the value of other photographers as well.


    I am afraid right now I would consider you a fauxtog. You have a good start but I will adress a few things. First you are correct and using later or earlier hours on the outside shots but you still have some crazy shadows. Could have easily been fixed with refelctors or off camera strobe. Look up strobist. Next stay away from the heavy vignetting. It does not fixed a poorly composed shot. Pay attention to your backgrounds. I could go on but you probably get the idea. I am going to tell you what really makes you a fauxtog in my book, and so many others on here that are competent that are still fauxtogs. You complain about the Craiglist photographers as do many on here. Then you say you hardly charge anything. What is the difference? Because you do not advertise on Craigslist? No difference. You then talk about it being a war on facebook with other photographers. Well duh! It is because of people like you and on this site who basically are fairly competent but still give away their service. Look through all of these post and see how many do that. It is a great time for photography but I am afraid we are seeing the end of photography as a business. I am lucky. My job is to look at the photos from people like you, who will give away a great photo for a byline. I am not meaning to pick on you. Most on here fall under the same category. But I do get frustrated seeing all these so called photographers who do have some skill doing it part time for little to next to nothing. Then they want to start charging and cannot understand why they cannot make a living at it. It is because there is another MWAC or GWAC  down the street who will do it for nothing or next to nothing.  I have friends who have invested their lives into photography, money, time, and heart and soul 100%. You will not even pay $ 25.00 a month for a website so I doubt you have 30k or more invested in lenses and gear.  I do apoogize if this seems harsh at you. It is not intended. You are not doing anything different than the other thousands and thousands out there. But to me unless, you are just doing it for your own, or committed 100% you are taking away from those who are and puts everyone into the faux category. They have cheapened photography to the point where good photography has no value to the public. They will just get from the next guy for free. I apologize for the rant, but when I see friends who have been doing this for 20 years completely full time and now struggling, yes it is personal.


    Suggestion:  if you feel your photography  isn’t worth what it actually costs you to create it.  Why not work on your photography skills, and get them up par with what you wouldbleed to charge to make a profit or at least break even?  Take a breather from being in business, and just shoot for yourself for a while.  Take some time to study, and give yourself lessons on light, exposure, comp, etc.  this alone will improve your photography immensely .  There’s no need to work with bazillionsoff people, market, or work so hard on the business end of things while you are still learning.


    Price your services at their true value.  Take the steps needed to be legit, otherwise you are just a cheap tog that people will continue to take advantage of, and photographers will never take seriously


    “wouldbleed” ?!? Lol that’s a strange auto correct

    Would need


    Notaphotographer, was much nicer about your photography than I would be (to me the only thing stopping your images from getting featured here, is that none of them are funny/interesting enough) but I agree with everything else that was said whole heartedly.


    Just another tip, something to think about. Dslrs CAN take a lot of  actuations before they give out, but shooting hundreds upon hundreds of snaps during each and every session isn’t doing your camera any favors. Try working just as you did with film, and make each shot count, because each snap you take isn’t free just because you don’thave to replace a roll of film, it comes at a cost.  Plus, it will help your photography so very much, to think about each and every shot before you snap


    Just a few things-

    – I have a federal tax id yadda yadda… I still do a 1099 IF I do any sessions.

    – logo across the center was requested by the owner of the Venue because she wanted me to get proper credit when others look at the shots

    – I dont focus on business. Thus why I don’t advertise. I once did which was when I kept my site up… Then life happened. I have 5 1 that’s autistic and 1 that’s got a few other special needs. This consumed my life from 2008 on. I did things here and there but time isn’t something I have much of. In 2010 I myself was diagnosed with cancer, 7 surgeries in 9 months, chemo meds etc… Amanda and Ricky’s wedding was shot 2 weeks post op from surgery 5 and Erin and John who didn’twant formal pics just a recollection of the ceremony and a few vintage like ones for their walls. That was 2 days after a chemo treatment and a week before my final surgery.

    – I don’t charge more for a few reasons, 1 being I haven’t had family pics done in 7 years because no one has the patience to work with my autistic son. 2. I do families with special needs kids free and always will. That was actually the only stuff I was planning to do at this point but was asked to do the other stuff. 3. I couldn’t afford a dedicated photographer for my wedding therefore I have nothing to remember my day. I don’t want others to have that issue. I tell them if they want fancy formal pics I can refer them to some local pros that do that. It’s not my style.

    – as I said I’m self taught, I learn something new Everytime I take pictures.

    – not $30k no but about $10k or so in gear.

    – I am my own  worst critic I’m afraid to charge more to be honest and if I do charge it’s usually to cover gas to places that or 100 plus miles round trip. Yall validated my rationale within myself that my work isn’t worth paying for. Since all you’ve focused on is the shots I myself am not happy with but some of my favorite images I guess weren’t worth mentioning here.


    I asked, thanks for the criticism. I wasn’t planning on trying to do this on a more regular basis due to life  but since I do take a lot of tips fromdigital photography school online and saw your site figured I’d ask.



    No reason to defend yourself. You asked. You also validated my point. I think it is great that you volunteer to take photos of special needs children and families and do it at no charge. I take no exception to that at all. However when other people ask you to do other things you do have the option to say no. Photography is great. It records moments in time. However everytime you say yes to doing dirt cheap photography or any other person does,  it cheapens it for everyone. I have been in this industry a very long time. Seen lots of changes. As long as the current trend conitnues, photography as a business is dead. Some people may make enough to by a lens or a new body, and there will always be a select few photographers, but as whole it is dead. Want proof look at Nat Geo. And SI now compared to 10-20 years ago. They had staff photographers. Now almost all of their stuff is freelance and pulled from sites. There are hundreds of thousands of photos now that publications can use. Tell the photographer they will get a by-line and that is enough for them.

    On another note you do have pretty good gear expecially if your 24-70 is the canon lens. Surprised a drop broke it.  But I would still invest in a strobe for off camera.  

    Also I do not have the time or inclination to give you a serious critique on each photo. I look at thousands of photos a week.  You probably know which ones are good and bad. The trick is to make them all good. 🙂 I truly wish you and your family the best in life.



    Take another look at your “about” bio on your fb business page.  You are asking people to hire your services, it’s not like I pulled the information out of thin air, you gave it to us.  It’s called marketing when you are selling your services to people. You asked “Am I a fauxtog?”, and based on the information you gave us, and your work, the honest answer is yes.  I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to critique any of your images individually, and if you would still like me to I will.

    This in no way is a personal dig.  I’m sure you are a wonderful person.  I hate fauxtography, not the people that create it.  I think your idea of shooting families of special needs children is an admiral one, and much needed.  Autism has a very special place in my heart, and I know how difficult it is for these children, and their families to get family photographs taken.  PLEASE, if this is what you are interested in doing, pursue it.  Take the time to learn light manipulation, off camera flash, and/or correct natural light photography practices first.  These families deserve it, and so do you.  Invest in yourself and your photography if it’s what is important to you to pursue.  It doesn’t have to be the way it is now, with people badgering you to shoot what you don’t want to?  Getting taken advantage of, and yet feeling funny for charging when you know and feel you shouldnt.  Saying “no” and taking charge of what, where, when you shoot can be both empowering and inspiring, and you’ll be amazed with how your photography improves when you really do turn off the business switch, and truly shoot for yourself.




    I have 2 alien bee lights. I just have one hell of a time dragging everything with me when I go do a shoot. Especially if I’m dping something that requires a lot of moving from spot to spot. My 24-70 was actually thrown down the steps onto ceramic tile by my autistic son. Talk about one very very upset mama! I got the 18-135 from a local commercial photog for a reasonable price as a sorta replacement for now. I haven’t updated my about me section lately. I am not at all happy with the most recent family ones posted period exclamation point etc. I would have postedwant but the few I was mediocriticly happy with but the girl begged me to. I’m making an “outakes” album and a lot of thosewill get moved to that album if not taken down once she gets her disc. I agreed to do the 1st birthday and a few of just the baby. Her dad ended up being a doctor my husband (he’s a respiratory therapist for a Homecare company) anyway the dad gives them referrals yadda yadda so I didn’t want to tick him off by saying no since I don’t want him potentially taking that out on my husband in some way. I explained the obstacles and that the pics would not be my best they said that was ok. Like I said I’m not happy with them. But we also had a potential hurricane giving us crap weather and wind, random rain etc. Sweet 16, I refused to take my expensive equipment to because of the nature of the situation (not knowing the people well enough or the bunch of teens there and risking something getting broken or stolen) it was unpaid and something I volunteered for that once knowing the whole situation I wouldn’t back out because I made a promise and I keep promises.


    You have no idea how much Id love to do this as a career but I’d lean more toward working with foundations like the children’s miracle network and the w15h (Tim Tebow) foundation. Capturing the moments of what may be these kids last days and giving their family moments to have forever. I don’t like portraits. Give me an event, somewhere like the ringling museum (if you’ll look at those I’d appreciate it, no flash allowed horrible yellow cast lights through everything and my 24-70 and 50 were stellar considering the shooting circumstances  imo. All raw and lots of adjusting in Lightroom) Amanda and Rickys wedding has some of what I consider my best in it.

    My husband won’t let me buy more equipment right now lol. I need a new laptop, so I’m saving for a new MacBook pro. My current MacBook is maxed out on hd memory So I have to do my uploading and stuff to the dell that I hate. I know I’m not the best by far but Gawd have I seen worse. But like I said I’d much rather be able to do what I do for something meaningful because to me that’s worth more than any amount of money ever could be to me. I wish the locals weren’t bloodsucking beasts and understood the power of working to help each other. Like so and so is good with babies, another with seniors etc then you could recommend someone to meet their needs if you can’t. I have a friend that’s a chicks and cars photog another that does postcard type stuff, and a very well known commercial photog. All locals.

    I think I asked for y’all to give critique because recently I have a ‘friend’that I taught a few things about how to use a camera that couldn’t even get a clear shot with a Nikon coolpix get an outdated dslr off Craigslist and join a photo group locally to declare herself a pro and when I posted in a local yard sale grouptab out the free sessions for special needs and that summer was ending and anyone needing Photo’s that hadn’t confirmed a date with me to let me know. She commented on that post that she was also doing free sessions for breast cancer and military families and her little photo snapping friends starting saying how awesome she was etc all on MY post. Then she unliked my page and when I called her out for posting my work on her page she unfriended me. It all made me sit and say wow, I thought I did a half decent job. And I was getting to the point I was going to start charging more and doing more but now I’m just thinking why bother.

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