Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography So do I qualify as a Fauxtog?

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    A little bit about myself: I’ve always been interested in images and the like. I’m a film major, so I have a little background in lighting, composition, framing etc. I took up digital photography about 2 years ago, but it didn’t really take off until I found a 7D on Ebay for 800. Little did I know what I was getting into…

    2 years later, I’ve decided I want to make a leap to the professional level, or at least incrementally. Currently I shoot for my Campus newspaper and do some portraiture on the side. I haven’t officially charged anyone, but a professor has asked me to take photos of his family for cash. I guess I must be doing something right?

    I think my weaknesses lie in underdeveloped editing skills (ie: Lightroom and Photoshop), an inadequate understanding of how to light/no lighting gear, and full mastery of aspects in photography that I have intuitively picked up through trial and error, reading a lot of internet forums, and just going out there and messing up.

    Here are some pics:

    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/29811_4174464330269_1395257263_n.jpg (haven’t figured out how to remove this lens flare)


    Mrs Woo

    Well, you aren’t out there marketing yourself as a pro with absolutely no experience and a brand-new entry level camera you got for Christmas, so that’s a bonus.  😉

    Your images weren’t bad (there are also not enough to judge).  The focus doesn’t seem to be ‘spot on’ on either, but is better in the first picture shared.  The one in the middle (second in list) does not go to anything anymore.  I do like the first better.  The second one the light is also not very good.  Just definitely not ‘great.’

    Do you plan on overselling yourself, refusing to be criticized, skipping paying income and sales taxes while undercutting the competition?  To me, that, more than anything, is what constitutes a fauxtographer – no real skills, no interest in playing by the established rules and no clue as to why the first two should matter.


    I hope I don’t regret this but you can’t look at this site and not wonder what people would say about you so here I go. I have always loved taking pictures and decided to give it a try and got a “big girl camera”.  I know that I am not a professional by any means. I have a page on facebook for my photography and yes it is catagorized as “Professional Services”  but I do not claim to be one. In fact I tell people that I am trying very hard to one day become one. I feel like my weaknesses also lie in post production skills because lets face it editing software does not come with a user friendly manualy for us newbies. I am completely self taught. I do charge people for a session but I still work for free a good bit too. Please be honest but at the same time please be nice lol



    Erin: I took a look at your page. Though here you say you are not claiming to be a a professional photographer, your page has clear-cut price lists and you say you are booking sessions. The prices you have listed are “fauxtographer-ish” prices (lots around here at least will charge $50 and give you a disk too). The price list alone does not mean you’re a faux. Now to your images: They are not terrible. There are a few that I would have definitely not posted, and there are a handful of very good ones, but there are a lot of average, not-so-great images too. What I noticed was a lot of flat faces, underexposed faces, and white balance issues. With a little more practice, and some research, I think you could really improve.

    This one is a nice basic portrait, the shallow depth of field works well, but there is a greenish color cast. This could have been warmed up and the exposure increased slightly in editing. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197486676963664&set=a.197485660297099.46974.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    I like the composition of this, but I think it should have been cropped tighter so only the chairs with bows were the main focus. The stained-glass window in the background draws some attention away. Also, the sharpest focus is on the bow in the middle of the frame. I think it would look better if you focused on the bow nearest to you, or furthest. To do this, you should be selecting an autofocus point in your camera, or manually focusing.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197487026963629&set=a.197485660297099.46974.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    These girls are adorable, and their skin is exposed pretty well (it’s a challenge to exposed very dark skin right). However, their white dresses are very blown-out. It looks like you had them in somewhat direct sunlight, or maybe flash was used. It could have also benefited from a much shallower depth of field to minimize the appearance of the tree in the background, or to have taken the photo from a different angle to get the tree out of the frame. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197487603630238&set=a.197485660297099.46974.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    The framing on the left photo is nice. The girl is a bit underexposed though. The right photo looks quite nice, the shallow DOF again helps isolate her as the subject and she has a nice smile. It’s exposed much better. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=212675568778108&set=a.197485660297099.46974.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    This one is probably one I would have chucked in the trash. It’s not in focus, their expressions are awkward, it has a bluish cast on the whites, exposure issues, and it looks like you tried to rescue it with sharpening. You needed a faster shutter speed with maybe a higher ISO to get the motion in focus. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197487183630280&set=a.197485660297099.46974.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    Cute pose, nice smile, but that tree appears to be growing out of her head (major pet peeve of mine, lol) You should have moved at a different angle. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=464901340222195&set=a.464901273555535.99287.197479223631076&type=3&theater

    These are just some examples. I think you could really be good, but you need to do some reading and researching and then more practicing before you should be charging. Really get to know your equipment and the capabilities of your lenses and other lenses.


    Lee, I like your photos in general. There are some things I’ll point out: Katie on the Tracks 2 looks underexposed. Same with the girl in front of the tree trunk – she’s very dark, so better metering, reflector, fill flash. Something to just bring her out would help immensely.

    Your picture of the couple walking down the path in the black and white photo actually made me kind of nauseous (I get motion sick easily, don’t stress it) because I felt unbalanced by the slight horizon tilt. I couldn’t tell if it was an accident or intentional. I still can’t work it out but I know it’s there by the slight tilt of their bodies.

    I love the girl lying in the grass (with the flowered tank top) but her skin is a mixture of yellow/green and red/purple. I would try to balance that out a little, and maybe lightly touch up a few of her blemishes.

    The girl in black and white, smiling at the camera with a type of crocheted tank top on (sheesh, flash sites make this hard!) – she’s beautiful, but out of focus. Same again when she’s lying on the grass (Oct 15). The Birthday Boy shot is grainy with heavy greens and yellows and I would have probably composed it at another angle to include the rest of the sparkler and frame his face better in the background.

    Just from a quick glance over your site: you have some focusing issues. Some color balance issues and exposure. Many of your subjects are in the shade and are quite dark. Reading back, I see you’ve pointed out that your weakness lies in post production and lighting, so I’m sure none of this is new to you. In the photos you did post, I can see a difference compared to the ones taken months ago. You are progressing, but I think you’ve got a little way to go yet. Get yourself a cheap flash, a reflector and play with the light. Once you start, you’ll never go back. It’s amaaazing what some light can do! And if you can get your hands on it, play with some software and learn some touch-up techniques. (In Photoshop, all I really need is the patch and spot heal tool, and I’m 90% with my touch-ups.)

    Erin: I took a look and from a quick glance, the few things I see are:

    You’re shooting often at high noon or around that area. Certainly not in the ‘golden hour’. There’s harsh backlighting here https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/c0.106.403.403/p403x403/577965_517059725006356_1148254032_n.jpg and in this photo, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=456592461053083&set=a.456590497719946.97386.197479223631076&type=1&theater their faces are dark and flat.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=517493458296316&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater Is cute, but I’m having trouble finding the focal point. It seems to be midway on his hat. His face seems just a little bit blurred (or is that Facebook compressing like a jerk again? My eyes, ah my eyes.) The shadow is a little hard, but nothing too bad. And this might be controversial, but his skin is slightly splotchy, as many babies’ is. Would a black and white help to alleviate that?

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=517356828309979&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater Looks more like a candid with the blanket halfway stretched out in the photo and his fingers cut off. I think I would have dropped down lower and to the right to snap a better angle of his anguish and to stop the sidewalk from cutting him in the head.

    This is so cute https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=517097595002569&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater but unfortunately the tree behind her is in focus, and she’s not.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=460795843966078&set=a.460795710632758.98369.197479223631076&type=1&theater You’ve cut her off at the wrists, sort of an awkward area to chop limbs, as if she’s handless.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=511276248918037&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater Is gorgeous, but a little underexposed in my opinion. I would risk blowing out the background a bit to brighten her up in post, or use a fill flash or reflector. This tells me you took the photo of her in the shade. Same here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=460795050632824&set=a.456590497719946.97386.197479223631076&type=1&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=505939806118348&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater I love this photo. It’s candid, and you must have captured the action perfectly because I see no blurring from the action. I just would have cropped it a little to take out the extra space on the left, maybe cut out the base of the tree, tilt it so the trunk is a little more vertical. The color saturation is a little high for my tastes, but I think it works to make this photo pop.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=455255961186733&set=a.205974246114907.49196.197479223631076&type=1&theater This would have been so cute if it were in focus and better exposed.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=343956435650020&set=a.343955998983397.73968.197479223631076&type=1&theater Is a bit too red for my taste, so I’d watch out for white balance.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=220324818013183&set=a.216898305022501.51109.197479223631076&type=1&theater In contrast to my earlier comments, this is a flash straight in the face, washing her out and flattening her features. Pop-up flash?

    I went through only a few pictures on your timeline, but I think I’ve covered a few points. I really like some of your photos, but you’re experiencing a few of the common problems when it comes to photography. As I pointed out to Lee, watch the exposure of your subjects while in the shade so they don’t turn up dull and dark. Keep an eye on where you’re focusing and what you are framing in the shot (what  body parts are you cutting out, what is in the background, is it level or do I not intend t to be).

    Just some things I noticed, in my humble opinion, that you might take into consideration. You both have good subjects to work with, luckily, so you just have a few places to work on. 🙂

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