Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? okay, deep breath.

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    Hiya all,

    I’ve worked for  few different mobile studios over the years and have had most of my training through them. In between these jobs, and sometimes alongside, I have been doing a few freelance shoots. These have been either candid-style events coverage, photo-corner at parties or wedding coverage/portraits and family/children portraits.

    At the moment, hugely conscious of the massive presence of Fauxtog’s on the web, I’ve been reluctant to make the move from just a Facebook page and put in the effort to make a nice photography website. I guess I’m tired of yelling at websites and saying ‘you shouldn’t be here!!’ and do not want to be one of the same.

    I’ve always called myself an Intermediate photographer, but I would like some feedback on my photos to see if you think I’m ready to put up a proper site and play with the big boys next year.

    Have a look through my recent albums (or all, up to you 😀 ) at
    (you don’t have to be a FB member) and tell me what you think here. I am constantly learning and growing. Even I can see the changes over the years. I look at early work and I want to delete them because they’re not good enough (only clients using this public album on FB stops me). I guess that’s one thing about just being a FB presence for now: even the not-perfect shots go up for things like events etc so clients can share the candid snaps and so on. But it’s the portraits I’m more focussed on hearing about.

    Either way, feel free to tell me what you think about any photo.

    Be very honest. I am always willing to hear feedback. As should we all.





    Not sure what happened there.
    URL is https://www.facebook.com/mediaflea/photos_albums


    You’re getting there, but let me explain how I judge someones work when confronted with hundreds of images. I don’t have time to open and inspect every shot so I tend to browse the thumbnails and only open the the ones that say WOW!

    The only ones of yours that I clicked on were the ones that didn’t look sharp as thumbnails so I clicked to check ( and they were’nt! ).

    Theres a Fauxtog challenge on the front page at the moment, one of the questions is “Does your online gallery contain every shot you’ve ever taken?” This may not be the case with you, but it does look that way.

    The event photography is not too bad, but it’s of little interest anyone whose not in the pictures so you just need to use the best 3 for display.

    The  Alisa baby pics are more shots of the props than the baby . They all look to gloomy and the B/W conversion is bad.

    The people booth pics are just snap shots.

    The body painting shots are all a bit samey and most need more DOF

    The wedding shots are pretty bad they all look to dark and there are a lot of focus issues.

    If I’m being honest (which I always am) I’d say that if you started a business now, doing anything other than just event photography – you will be swelling the faux tog numbers.


    Thanks WCS

    Well yes this is were a lot of images end up, as noted this is not a portfolio but more of way for folk to access their photographs. Especially the events pictures to allow for folk to tag/share etc. So other than giving you the link to the albums so as not to bombard anyone with ALL  pics of the all-day events like Mud Run etc, I can’t really help that in this instance.

    Also, exporting to JPG is a necessity for uploading on FB, so the client’s disc thankfully contain better quality.
    What would you recommend increasing sharpness? I try to stay away from AF as much as possible, but sometimes I need the speed, are there better functions/types of lens that can help here?

    The People Booth are indeed snap shots, they’re not portraits. They’re literally a camera, flash head and a table of hats and props etc and people get snapped being silly at a party. I’m not too fussed on the styling on these. If you have any technical feedback on them though I’d like to hear it.

    The Alisa shoot that was done recently, I gave the parents the option of ‘natural’ or ‘prop/setup’ shots. I have a big selection of ‘scenes’ and props as this is what the company I was trained by was famous for, so prop-shots are in the options. In this case, her family chose props.

    I have a few here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.253087008074207.62386.164976076885301&type=3 that are without props, just baby, but again still in keeping with the way I was drilled by the corporates.
    I.e anyone from the same day of shooting with that co would get almost identical images as the family prior if they were the same ages/genders etc.

    I need to gain some more technical knowledge I think, as (like above) we would just have the same settings and controlled environment in our little shopping mall studios, I never learnt to be able to quickly change things as needed on the fly and expand out of this flipbook of standard poses.

    Do you (or readers to come) have any notes regarding the poses/composition of the portraits, including the above and what has already been noted as too-dark wedding portraits in the later photos of these albums?





    Any chance you could put the ones you want us to look at on Flickr?  It is a better photo platform.


    I’ve got no problems with using props, but I wouldn’t want to pay for a shot that’s mostly of your boxes and parasols. The parents want to see the babies face not your props. When you just plonk a baby into the set that you have been using all week, you are just doing pack shots, not portraits.

    Also, exporting to JPG is a necessity for uploading on FB, so the client’s disc thankfully contain better quality.

    Are you saying that you don’t give them jpegs?

    would you recommend increasing sharpness?

    Increasing sharpness won’t help pics that are not in focus.


    Been a long time since I was on Flickr, my how it’s changed – for the better! Will have to dust off my old account.

    Just grabbed some from one of the wedding albums, I can already see some more technical ickiness: over editing. Apparently I liked to blur the edges a lot. Face palm.


    Here is the Flickr link

    Emma & Josh's Wedding 2012


    No sorry, of course they get JPGs too, I meant I make them smaller file jpg to go on FB so I’m not using a lot of data uploading. I’m guessing that compressing would reduce the quality?

    And most of Alisa’s photos that were uploaded are actually her own boxes and stuff, like the parasol and her shoes – those were mum’s ideas, I just know how to arrange them rather than dump them on the kid. I do get what you’re saying, but I want to point out that, in this instance, the mother was right behind me telling me what she wanted next.


    Increasing sharpness won’t help pics that are not in focus.

    I’m not asking as a post-process, I did ask about focussing/lens tips… in order to get focussed shots in the first place.


    Every digital camera I have seen so far has been designed for auto-focus.  Auto-focus in most circumstances is much faster and more accurate than you are.  Exceptions include macro photos, birds in the midst of tree branches, and brides behind veils.  Manual focus is available for those times that auto-focus is frustrating you.   Judge for yourself, I find most of the expensive lenses out perform the less expensive ones, but once in a while there are bargains.  Sigma makes some great lenses which cost less than Canon’s, so possibly also less than Nikon’s.  You have to do your research and see what works for you.  Full frame bodies let you get closer to your subject with the same focal length, so you can get a shallower depth of field.  This can be good or bad depending on what you are trying to do.  Generally, the bigger sensors mean bigger photosites, so you get a bit more dynamic range and photos look better.  Medium format takes all of that an extra step, at a couple of extra steps in price.

    Post processing can make a photo better, or mess it up.  Your assessment is pretty accurate.  I’m fascinated by this one:

    Emma & Josh's Wedding 2012

    The blur on her arm is distracting and probably added in post.  Yet, you didn’t fix the bride’s front teeth?

    Flickr has changed, indeed.  Asking it to show EXIF data results in a page saying it is private!  Anyway, your challenge is to take photos with enough depth of field to show what you need to show with good detail and blur out background distractions, or to keep everything in focus if that is important to the photo.  It is helpful to understand the effects of aperture combined with focal length, distance to subject and distance to background.  Once in a while it may be necessary to add blur in post, but it is a lot of work to get good, realistic looking blur in post, so it is a last resort.

    Studios are great, but limited.  You can have total control over the light and subjects.  At weddings you are lucky if you manage control over your subjects for the photo session between wedding and reception.   Most of the rest covers a lot of ground and the best photos happen spontaneously so you have to be prepared and alert.  Understanding your equipment, having it in your hands, configured as you need it, and being in the right place to take the photo at the critical instant is challenging.

    You asked about posing.  In this photo, for instance

    Emma & Josh's Wedding 2012

    two things really stand out for me.  The burned out flowers and her left arm.  The flowers stand out simply because they are burned out.  Her arm stands out because it is the brightest part of the photo that is not burned out.  There is not enough data in the JPEG to get the flowers back.  Her arm could be darker by a stop and a half.  Or, she could have put her left hand on his shoulder and he could have put his hand on her upper arm, covering most of her arm.  The effect would work even better if he had his dark jacket on, instead of just a white shirt.  Usually that hides some or most of her arm and acts to thin her a little.  Adjusting how they stand to the camera, rotating them a little, sometimes helps to thin them out too.  You have to do it on a case by case basis because each person is a different shape and what they are wearing can make a difference.

    Try to get kisses just as they touch, but without duck lips, so faces are not distorted by pressure.



    I’m not getting it.  So many OOF images.  Your photo booth is… well… sloppy.  I see everything going on in the background.  I shouldn’t be able to see anything but the people in the photo and your background curtain.  Not the rod, and complete environment it is set up in, and the lighting stinks.  Looks very haphazard and uncared about on your end.  Almost as though a photog came and set up and you came over and shot the set up and tried getting your own shots using their set up as a passerby.  Not that Photo Booth pictures are meant to be fabulous, but, they should look at the very least, focused, properly exposed, and somewhat tidy and clean.  ya know, like they were taken in a Photo Booth.

    I know you say that Facebook is a way for people to access their photos, but using Facebook as a delivery method, just isn’t a good thing.  Use it to draw in potential work, by showing highlights and samples, and to link to your work and/or online galleries, but all the shots from entire events/sessions… no, not a good idea.  At first look it just looks like a personal page full of snaps, not a photography business page.  Then when I look closer… it still doesn’t feel right.

    There doesn’t seem to be a good handle on your equipment, or a good understanding of light going on at all.  Even when you are in complete control over the lighting, posing and in studio, it’s not working.

    I feel you have a lot more work ahead of you before you take on being for hire


    Oh, and as far as focus goes.  Look up focus in your user manual, and learn what all the AF settings can do for you.  Then test them out and learn them.  Learn how to select your focus, lock your focus, the whole bit.  Once you start taking charge of the AF you’ll feel much better about things and have sharper images.  As far as manual focus goes.  I also try to manually focus whenever possible.  It could be that your diopter needs to be set.  Another reason to get out the camera manual.


    PeopleBooth – the easy and fun way to create party memories! Invite us to your next party and let us capture those crazy moments!
    (Basic package also includes use of backdrop, but this was not desired for this booking)

    So, if you take away the lights and backdrop, what are you left with?  Someone taking snapshots of people playing with props.

    What were you doing for lighting?  What shutter speed and aperture did you use for the party at the green curtain house?  I see catch lights but it looks like one light and power/exposure seems to be all over the place.  Some are bright and some are quite dark.


    Thanks guys, some great advice here. Thankyou for taking the time to take everything in rather than glossing over it.
    I think you’re spot-on IHF re: not using FB as a gallery, but as a first stop directing to their galleries elsewhere.

    The booth at the green-curtain house was actually a friend’s bday party so I didn’t charge them: it was literally a fun testing ground with a house full of performers so I knew it’d be a fun activity for them. But it was well received so I thought it was something I could develop, especially since the other side of my ‘business’ is networking entertainment/music/DJs for events etc, so it fits well when we’re at family fun days etc. I’m looking at purchasing software that will allow for the booth side of things to be automatic (press a button on the screen and it counts down, takes the photo, then displays it etc). What do you think?

    Thanks CC for the advice re: posing changes that work better, and technical pointers too.

    Having too-soft images has been frustrating me for some time. Sometimes I feel like I got better pics from my old Canon Powershot A20 than my EOS 60D, which shouldn’t be the case, so I know I’m doing something that’s off. Like the photog’s version of PEBCAK. 😛


    quick addition to ask you to look at:

    Emma Josh 2012_233
    this picture was requested by the couple, as they wanted the flowers atop the hedge and the gazebo they got married under in the distance.

    I had to edit out a crowd of people over the groom’s right shoulder as it was a busy botanical garden, and if I moved the frame any further left an array of people (not in the bridal party or attendees, but the public) would be in frame.

    Other than the fact that I overlooked the grooms tie not being placed nicely in front of him, I really like this picture. The only thing I’d have liked would be if we could get rid of the bench, but due to the limits of the space it was either bench or people.

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