Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Please Critique

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    I am still learning and will fully admit I am still learning.  I actually haven’t charged anyone to date for my work as I don’t believe it is up to professional par but would like to work towards being a professional soon. The photography on my site is all from my friends and family.

    I would appreciate it if some of you would take a look at some of my work and critique the heck out of it! I mean, don’t spare any feelings!! That is the only way you can learn. I take criticism very well :).





    I’m confused.


    “Over the past two years, I have been blessed.  Blessed by people who have let me share their lives and capture their special moments through the lens of my camera.  It has been an amazing learning experience and a true adventure.  This boog is the next step in that adventure.

    I hope to share with you the tips I am learning, the wonderful people I meet, and maybe even a little bit about me.  I am excited to grow my photography skills as well as my photography business”.


    “Credle Photography is a photography company on a mission.

    The photographer behind Credle photography believes that every special moment in life deserves to be captured, no matter what budget you happen to be on.  By providing packages to fit any price range or sharing tips and tricks to help make your own pictures turn out better.  Credle Photography is dedicated to helping everyone remember the special moments in their lives”.



    “Credle photography is a local photographer in the Denver metro area providing family and newborn portraits, wedding and engagement sessions and even the occasional Rock Concert.  Credle Photography meets each client individually to discuss what they are looking for and what there budget is and works out a package that fits their needs.”


    Looks to me like you are in business.  But your post tells us a different story.


    Sorry — didn’t mean to confuse. I guess I should have clarified a bit before just posting a link.

    I was well on my way to becoming a fauxtographer — that I promise you before about a year ago when a friend who is a very good photographer and a very good friend told me that I needed to slow down and learn the basics before I ever charged for anything. So the site was the old photography business site BUT now I use it more to get critiques from friends. Notice that nothing has been posted on any of the sites for a very long time. I haven’t taken them down and really haven’t done anything as a business since that long heart to heart. Now I am considering moving forward to actually taking the business path but want to be sure that I am producing at a professional quality — thus the asking for critiques. If so — then I’ll push forward. If not, then I’ll take any advice people are willing to give, get classes, read books, and move forward when I am ready.


    And actually if moving forward scrap most of the old stuff and start over — Seeing you post those snippets — that is a really confusing message!


    I think it is good you have a friend who can be honest with you.

    I would still say you have some learning to do still about the basics unfortunately. Your selection of photos has issues if we start with the wedding part of the portfolio:

    I see a lot of misuse of negative space. This is one of the fundamentals of composing shots. For example, the shot of the kid in white shirt would have looked a lot better if he’d been far more to the right in the frame, rule of thirds could successfully have been applied here. Other options would have been portrait orientation or a tighter crop. A fair few of them have empty space over the subjects which doesn’t look good at all.

    You are not particularly selective when choosing photos either, the picture of the couple kissing against the burnt out background is unfortunately hideous given the level of noise and worse, banding noise. I’m assuming you wildly underexposed their heads and pulled it up in post. The finger with ring looks bad as well given the level of noise.

    The posed shots are in direct sunlight which is never a good idea. When shooting weddings you will obviously often not have any option when it comes to time of day but consider shooting the posed shots at a later time. You can steal the couple and immediate family away as the sun is starting to set giving you a much softer light. If you do have to shoot in the middle of the day find a shaded spot and bring a reflector or speedlight to bring back some interesting directional light. The shot of the brides maids could have benefited from some extra light as it is now very flat and uninteresting.

    The bride outdoors with flowers, you are missing bits of her. She is also far too contrasty. In the bin it should go.

    Your sepia and selective colour screams fauxtog, give them back to us in colour. I think the flowers shot would be your strongest out of that entire set if it wasn’t selectively coloured.

    Your posing will need some work as well. The bride outdoors with the bunched fabric around the waist now looks even bigger than she is. The bride indoors with the random bouquet dumped on her (why?) looks like she has rolls of back fat on account of the light coming from above and she being twisted over as she is. All women, no matter how thin, will get rolls on their backs or stomachs unless you get them to straighten out. The light in this case is only making it worse.

    Are you using the camera in auto or P mode, is it a crop sensor camera? Reason I’m wondering is because your outdoor shots have a monstrous depth of field that does nothing to make your subjects stand out. Between this and the weird smoothing going on in a few of them I would almost think they were shot on a phone and not a higher end DSLR (are you shooting with a camera better than a rebel?). The bokeh on the only shot where you can see it (sepia wedding one) the bokeh is jittery and doesn’t help to draw focus to the people.

    All of the above applies to your senior photos with the added problem that only one of your photos in that set has focus nailed. The rest are soft beyond salvage.

    Same with family photos except the baby is creeping me out, it looks like it is dead.

    Given all this you can probably tell my opinion about where you stand on charging customers.


    Thank you for the honest critique. A bunch of great information in there — taking notes now and will keep working — defiantly good to get a professional opinion. So often people just tell you it looks good – not wanting to hurt your feelings.  Might look into a basics class or two as well. I took a few workshops but maybe a few classes at the local university will help as well. Again, Thank you!

    Regarding Camera, I have a Nikon D90. Not the best camera out there but not a bad one either. I just need lots more work on how to get it to work for me.

    Oh, and to maybe help with the Baby — the little girl in the stroller is the baby a few years later — so I promise I didn’t kill the kid 🙂


    I am still learning and will fully admit I am still learning.

    Yeah, me too.  If all goes well we will always still be learning, as long as we keep on keeping on.

    So the site was the old photography business site BUT now I use it more to get critiques from friends. Notice that nothing has been posted on any of the sites for a very long time.

    So, if you have been learning and want a valid opinion about where you stand now, why are you showing us old work?

    I see the blog is gone but the link from your page is still there.

    Put some of your favourite new stuff on Flickr and point us there, or let us know when your page has been refreshed.


    Samantha,  I’m going to work backwards, in hopes you get a better understanding.  First read this

    http://www.themoderntog.com/affordable-profitable-photographer and any other links within the article and what ever else business related that you google.  Soak it all in.

    When you get your estimated numbers figured out, I want you to ask yourself if you could in good conscience charge people what you would need to charge to be profitable.  Are you offering something that they are unable to do themselves, or have Aunt Sue do for them?  Keep in mind that the average in home, legit part time, just starting out in business photographer, has to charge around $200 plus print sales per session and about $2,000 per wedding (yes, it varies from photographer to photographer.  That’s why you need to do the math for yourself) just to make as much as they would working at McDonalds and continue to grow their business from there.  Until you can say with confidence that your photography services are worth $$$ so that you can earn minimum wage part time from it and start growing a business that can provide for you, stay out of business.

    Now get on google and look at some of the educators out there.  You know, the ones that give tips and tricks they’ve learned through experience.  Ask yourself if you should be teaching others, or if you should be implementing what you have learned into your own photography.

    Now I want you to take some pressure off of yourself, help your possible future business tremendiously and ask you to stop soliciting your services for free or otherwise.  Take the time to revamp your site and your Facebook, and be honest with your audience as you were here with us.  This will serve you better, and any future clientele as well.  You need to be clear with people what your intentions are.

    Right now I really don’t see any need for any sort of clientele, business cards, marketing, posting “Just had a lovely shoot with an adorable couple today” and yadda yaddda.  Friends and family are all you need to learn the basics of photography, and you already got them hook line and sinker to practice on all you want.  I think this may have been what went wrong with your photography to start with.  Skipping right to photographing for others, when you should have been shooting for yourself.  It happens.  It’s a very very very common mistake.  You need to work on how to use your camera before getting into posing and props and cute ideas and all the fun creative stuff.  Learn how to photograph and THEN you’ll be able to get creative.  Get out your manual and learn about your AF settings and what they can do for you, how to select your focus, lock your focus and recompose if necessary, learn about depth of field and how it works, learn about color managing and setting white balance.  PRINT YOUR WORK!  Find a lab/printing company and Get those shots finished.  This process alone will teach you so very much and will possibly change the way you shoot and give you a much clearer understanding.  Then move on to learning the basics about light, and how to use it, manipulate it and enhance it to flatter your subjects (wether people or still life or nature, you need to work on understanding light) Leave the editing alone while you work on getting good straight out of the camera shots constantly and purposefully.

    Slow down, back up, and start at the beginning if you want this to really work for you.  Get those basics down, and make the foundation you need to make this work for you.  Good luck


    And Samantha,  Allow yourself time.  It takes a lot of time, work, practice and patience to get up and going.  I came up with a six year plan that I thought was WAY overzealous.  I have since then decided against going into business at all, and turning something I enjoy into work. (something for you to consider as well.  I notice you like to take lot’s of nature shots and macro.  Me too) I think fauxtography businesses stem mostly from impatience, and the I want it now mentality.  “Fake it till you make it”, but it never works that way.  Most faux businesses only last a short while, while the owners go in debt and get so very stressed out.  Be smart, be frugal, and most of all be patient with yourself

    Worst Case Scenario

    Yep. I’ll second everything that’s been said so far. Framing, colour and exposure all need work, and you need a fill flash. Everything on your site is worthy of faux status, but you say you know that, so why aren’t you sharing the new and improved stuff?


    It is rather strange we all get sent to an old business page, and weren’t given a link to her newer work. Also that she took the time to remove her entire blog from her site, but left the soliciting on her home page intact.
    Maybe it’s not an old business site after all, and we ARE looking at her current work?


    You guys are an awfully suspicious bunch. The work you are seeing is about a year old — I haven’t really done anything I consider worth sharing in that time because really I don’t believe I have gotten any better. I believe it is because of the things you are pointing out — but maybe I am just seeing it better now. I don’t know — I am going to stay a hobbyist for awhile and take some classes. Maybe a hobbyist forever because there was some good points about the amount of money being made and making something you enjoy a job.  — Notice the blog is gone, Facebook is gone, and now the business page is gone. I am taking your critiques to heart and taking notes. I really do appreciate the time and the notes. Every one of them has been saved and are being picked apart to learn from.


    Correction: Will be deleted in 14 days — evidently that isn’t an instantaneous thing


    “suspicious”?!  of what exactly? NO, but curious.

    Usually people only show current and/or best work when asking for critique.  That’s all, nothing more.

    You really should think about what Camera Clicker suggested, and open up a flickr or something similar.  You could get some really helpful input that way, on photos you are currently working on,  have a place to direct people who are interested, or at the very least a place to organize and view your best pictures.  An account like flickr or what not can actually help you cull and edit your images down, figure out what works and what doesn’t and help you with the whole portfolio process.  Whatever you do, don’t give up if you really want to get good at photography.  Keep shooting and shooting, and shooting some more.  Don’t let that camera collect dust.  A year is WAY too long not to share 🙂 Good luck to you

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