Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Photog or Fauxtog?

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    I’ve shot three (and a half) weddings, and am currently attending the Art Institute… I can’t help but wonder though, am I Pho or Faux? http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com


    Do you have any of the wedding photos posted? I didn’t see any.



    @Stacaka: I have them, but they’re further back in my gallery… I really need to group them together but I’ve been lazy ^^;


    I went to The Art Institute too! I have an Associates in Graphic Design. Are you going there for photography? If you are I wouldn’t be charging for photography sessions as I did not charge for any graphic design work when I was going to school.


    From your wedding shots: Yes, they are more faux than pho.  You used techniques that many fauxtogs use: selective coloring, automatic flash, awkward poses…not to mention a lot of the pictures are actually rather grainy/noisy.

    But fear not!  You are question yourself, and not proclaiming that you are a professional and deserve to be paid a lot, so you are already well on your way from being faux to pho!


    Zohh: can I have examples? Not suee what you mean by ‘awkward poses’


    Snap shots topped off with bad editing.  I saw some wedding…yawn and cringe, but mostly flowers.  I think a good portfolio clean up is in order, I almost fell asleep going through it


    I don’t really have my full portfolio up there, that’s where I post everything I like. My dolls, still lifes, cosplay, furries, things that I like that I know other people probably wouldn’t. I’m setting up a portfolio site in a class right now.

    And still, can you (general you) give examples of the worst and why? I mean do a full critique here (or on the site if you have a dA)


    Ok I’ll take a look at some shots randomly that I see and give you some more input.


    pros: I like the colors/editing in this one.  It looks natural, and in camera. and I like the subject matter a lot, water drops can take us to a different world.

    Cons:  Unfortunately the way you shot the droplet didn’t take me anywhere, and I was left thinking. “hmmmm…a water drop.”  The light reflection directly behind the drop is very very distracting.  In fact that is what the viewer is drawn to first.  Pay attention to the rule of thirds (this goes for pretty much every shot I saw in your gallery). Taken from a different perspective this little drop could offer something fabulous.


    your dolls are awesome


    Unfortunately the way you shoot them isn’t.

    There is no interest at all, except “hey, cool looking doll!”

    When we shoot still life, objects, flowers, etc we are completely in charge of why, when, where, and how we shoot them.  I use objects like stuffed animals and dolls to teach me lighting techniques, and they allow me to be in charge of the total composition, mood, and help me concentrate on in camera work, all while pushing my creativity.  These objects have helped improve my portraiture, and my art, even though I dont share them with anyone but myself. I don’t see this sort of practice with any of your shots.  They seem to be shot without any care at all taken.

    Google “white balance ” I see you are having trouble with it, and just a quick self tutorial on WB could help your photography so much.  Take your time, slow down.  When shooting macro flowers and/or objects you have all the time in the world to get the shot right.  When outdoors pay attention to time of day, unwanted shadows, and glare.  When indoors pay attention to light as well, and use this time to play around with lighting and take the time to see what light manipulation and set up/composition can do for your photography.  Pay attention to background, pay attention to light, and most of all take your time.  Clean up that portfolio, and only post the best shots, not absolutely everything you shoot.  You will have a clean and more interesting portfolio AND it will be easier to get the input you are wanting.


    Like I said, my portfolio is in progress, and dA is not my portfolio as much as it is where I put my photos, good and bad, for critiques. Plus the images I just plain love. The droplet was taken early in my studies, and the doll shot was showing off her new outfit outside downtown. Unfortunately I haven’t updated for a while, and I’m going to post new images some time tonight, if my internet will allow that


    A quick tip for the photo of your sister and her wedding dress train: crop or clone out the car on the left hand side of the picture 🙂


    Someone that excelled at still life photography (And made a ton of money with still-life) was Jan Groover. I’d suggest looking into her if you want to learn how to make captivating still-lifes. She had a mastery of formal elements of composition because she was a painter and she essentially painted with her camera.


    One glass of bourbon in, and I need another one after looking at your photography.


    You use a lot of pop-up flash on people. It shows, in a bad way. Sometimes when you shoot with flash, you drag the shutter far too long (so even though you used a flash, there’s often motion blur).

    Examples: http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4v3ad7 (I really wanted to see his nostrils, and am so glad you didn’t move the crap by his feet; that really shows you looked at the picture before snapping it).

    Full frontal blast of pop-up goodness: http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4v3a2l

    Not all your people shots are horrible. When you don’t use a flash, it’s much better. On this one in natural light, it’s exposed properly and looks pretty good. I would’ve tried to open up the lens as much as possible to wash out the very distracting background, though, or found a better spot. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4v39sg Oddly, this is one that could’ve benefited from a high speed synched flash.

    Shots like this show you don’t know where your focus point is: http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4v39j9

    It looks like you’re experimenting with using light better. The split lighting you used on this is a bit extreme, and could benefit from a little bit of skin processing. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=48#/d4rdpoe Exposure has issues. A reflector very close to the subject on camera left might’ve yielded better results. Posing her better would’ve also helped.

    More experimenting, but you missed focus. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=120#/d4ewozr This is a mix between split and rembrandt lighting, and I’m not sure what you were doing. But I am sure you didn’t know what you were doing, either. There is motion blur even though it looks like you used a strobe, which means your settings were way off.

    Some of your best shots are the tunnels http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=120#/d4ep4zo They would benefit from a little bit of noise reduction. This shows some skill at composition.

    I love this shot, but it’s one of the worst wedding shots I’ve seen. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=192#/d469gw5

    I hate this shot. See if you can tell me why. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=192#/d469euk

    This is completely blown. Brides spend a lot of money on dresses, and kind of want to see the detail in them. http://vampireketsuki.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=192#/d469dba


    The things you do okay:

    Composition isn’t great, but not horrible. Shots on dolls and such are decent.

    Processing. Honestly, I didn’t like the heavy vignette on the Amish dude or a lot of your wedding shots, but I do applaud you for not going overboard on most shots. The fact you don’t overprocess everything is good, although some things are pretty bad.

    You’re experimenting with light. That’s good.


    Things you do bad:

    Artificial lighting. Stick to natural light for now until you get good at that. Buy a reflector and use it. Although it might work for snapshots, don’t use your popup flash for anything “real”… whenever you pop it up, think “This will look like a snapshot”. Learn to look for the light, and move people to the good light when you’re taking pics. Do some studying on lighting setups and camera settings before attempting to use strobes again. 3 hours of study between 1 hour of session will do you a TON of good.

    Focus. You’re nailing focus on a lot of things, but it’s clear you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re just pointing and shooting and hoping the camera figures it out. This is a testament to how good your camera is at nailing focus, not how good you are at it.

    Exposure – You’re depending on your camera to do everything. It shows.


    Here is your assignment

    [ol][li]Tape your popup flash down. I’m serious. Stop using it, and concentrate on shooting in natural light. LOOK for the light, and PLACE your subjects in it. Buy a reflector and maybe a lightstand to hold it.[/li][li]With your flash taped down, learn to nail exposure in manual mode. It’s okay to use the spot meter in your camera, but shoot in manual until you get a really good feel for proper exposures.[/li][li]Set your camera to do spot focus, and learn to focus and recompose. You’re clearly letting your camera focus on the closest point, and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. You have a decent camera, but that doesn’t make you a photographer.[/li][li]Check your backgrounds before even bringing the camera to your face.[/li][li]Since you’re intent on using flash without knowledge how, at least buy yourself a TTL cable and an external flash. Hold the flash at arm’s length.[/li][li]Study. You’re obviously attempting to do things before you’re ready, and while I think that’s often good (to push yourself), you need to get better camera handling, and then learn lighting setups. Study the basics, along with learning new things.[/li][/ol]


    At the moment, you are a fauxtog.



    Steph, Thank you so much for taking more time than I did to go through her portfolio and find better examples.

    YANAP IS all about portraiture and event photography and her questions were more about being a tog for hire.  I have to be honest, I didn’t find much in the way of people photography in her gallery, but I also didn’t try very hard to dig for it.  (so sorry vamp, but this is where the portfolio clean out comes in.  I had already invested too much time, to dig any further)

    Thank you also for so much detail and suggestions in your reply.  I think you will be adding a lot to this forum.  I learned from your answer, and I’m sure others will as well.  I appreciate your honesty.

    Only one thing though, when you shoot in manual or manual modes, there is no need to tape the flash down, I’ve never once had that sucker pop up 😉


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