Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Vary New to Photography…But I welcome constructive criticism

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    Ok so i have been doing this a couple months most my experience so far has been free work. I only just started charging and not much. I really enjoy photography so i hope you all will think im doing a good job at it. My web site is vary amateur but i dont have the cash for a better one so here it is. Remember to be nice. Also i feel i do my best work with baby’s and children so  tell me what you think.



    I’ll get back to you when I have more time, but I have to ask… Have you actually read through any threads in this forum, or any other photography forum before?


    No i just found this site. Never asked for anyone’s review of my work before ether. I get allot of complements from people i have shot for or friends and family. But i was thinking it would be nice to get a review for a real photographer. I did read a few post after i had already posted this and it made we wanna take it back… I could not figure out how to delete. I have to ask why you asked that?


    First off, seeking constructive criticism is always good, but around here, you will get a healthy dose of people who will just plain criticize.

    Now, since advice is only relevant when you know where it’s coming from, a little about my credentials. I’ve been shooting for 25 years, 20 of which as a working professional. I’ve worked both here and abroad, been published countless times including a healthy number of magazine covers. My specialties are portrait, fashion, and editorial photography. I’m now semi-retired and running a small independent studio in North Carolina.

    First of all, never listen to the complements of friends and family. They will love your work because they love you, and are not reliable for honest advice.

    My first impression of your work is that it is very lack luster. There are pictures there, they show people… but that’s about it. You talk in your bio about the passion you hold for photography, but even there, it seems like it is an after-thought in your life. Passion is an all consuming force. If a person wants to make photography their life’s work, they must live and breath it. It is like your love for another person, waking up in the morning and giving all the love you have to them is not passion. Passion is being so full of love for that person that the OVERFLOW of that passion washes over them endlessly and without effort.

    So it is with photography, if you pour everything you have into your work, it isn’t passion. Passion is allowing your desire and love for the visual poetry fill you to the point that you overflow, and when you pick up your camera your work is drenched in that endless stream of love, of art, of simple and pure joy.

    If you are overflowing with that joy, it isn’t translating into your images… they are just images.

    Secondly, I see a distinct lack of technical expertise. Take this little test, here are a list of twenty fairly basic photography techniques. Take a moment and ask yourself how many could you explain without googling or picking up a book?

    short lighting
    depth of field
    dutch angle
    Rembrandt pattern
    color temperature
    high key
    ambient balance
    track focusing
    angle of view
    lens compression
    golden hour
    focal length
    law of inverse squares
    exposure value

    How many did you get? This may sound harsh, but if your answer was not “all of them” you should not be marketing your services as a photographer. This is all Photography 101 stuff.

    But there is good news, all of this is learnable, and if you do indeed have a passion for photography, I encourage you to stop asking people to pay you for sub-standard work and get out there and learn now to produce superior work. It will be hard, it will be grueling, it will test your passion, but you WILL come out the other side a much better photographer than you are now.

    The value of photography is not in equipment, editing software, or how much passion you have (though passion is essential to doing the massive amount of work it takes to become proficient) it is in knowledge and skill. That is the main difference between a photographer who shouldn’t be charging $50 for a shoot and another who wouldn’t even consider a shoot that pays less than $50,000.

    Now, should to choose to ignore this and continue on, here are a couple of practical pointers:

    For the sake of all that is holy and good in this world, stop selective coloring your photos, I do not care what my three year old’s shirt looks like, or about my wife’s bouquet, so PLEASE stop making the photos about things I don’t care about. It’s tacky, it’s overdone, it looks like crap.

    Stop trying to save bad photos with Photoshop, just throw them away and use the good ones.

    And stop loading your pictures onto a CD and giving them to the client. It is your work, and you should take enough pride in it to make sure that it is printed correctly, there is a distinct difference between how photos look on the screen and how they look when printed, and you should make sure that your clients get good prints, it  is a matter of professionalism. Do you really want to trust your reputation to the Walmart photo center and the “auto enhance” option?

    If photography is your true passion, whatever you do don’t stop, take this to heart and use it to make yourself better.



    For some reason your site didn’t load images for me today… I finally had time to go through your images properly and give you a full critique today.  If you still want me to take a look and give you some of my time and feedback, I found your FB business page linked on your site and can work from there if you’d like.  I just wanted to be sure you wanted me to, and you didn’t take your images down because you no longer wanted critique from any of us.  Sometimes people only want to hear “You’re great, and doing a fantastic job” because it’s easier to swallow, but if you’re serious about photography and trying to improve, and not just in this for complements, just say the word.


    I did not for a second think with this crowd i would hear any thing close to “Your Great”. Funny thing is on this page its hard to find a website linked to there work. I may not be the best but surly not the worst. I  thought MBChamberlain comment was ok. Somethings he said were not even worth writing. So what if photography was an  after-thought in my life. Im only 24 how much of an after thought could it be? Was every professional photographer born with a camera in there hand? Of course growing up i wonted to be things like a super hero or president lol. I was only aloud to hold my fathers camera a few times growing up and when i did he would tell me to be careful, Because the camera costed more then it did to birth me. (He was vary protective of his gear). It was not till i actually got a camera better then a point and shot that i found how much i did enjoy it, Mostly because there was so much more i could do with it. I do actually know most of the techniques on his list and i do use them to the best of my ability, minus the gear i don’t have that would be need  to use some techniques. I have found it hard to get out of doing the selective coloring. I did it a few times and now im asked for it by everyone and some times i try to tell people no or i dont do it, and im asked over and over again and made to feel like i have to do what they wont.  Also hard not to give someone a CD when 3 other people within miles do give a CD. I wont my link removed but i cant. I removed my site because of the multiple daily emails and hate mail. If you have enough time to send me a two page hate mail then you are not a good photographer because your surely not busy with clients. Im sorry if my photos are just  lack luster images. Keep your eye out for them in a few years at least you will be able to tell them apart. 😉 What im getting at is nothing anyone tells me on here is going to change my mind. I fully enjoy every minute spent behind my camera and will continue to do so for a long long time.


    If i would stop getting hate mail i would be more then happy to repost my website. Im vary proud of my work. Its my art its what i love to do. Looking at the “Images” i have created brings a smile to my face. It seems the only issue anyone has is not with my photos them self but the fact that i charge money.

    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/384356_379108718830817_525828258_n.jpg   \

    Here is a link to a photo the right is mine the left is another photographers im not trying to be hateful but if people are going to pay for her work why would it be so bad to pay for mine? In your eyes you might think there getting shit on ether way, But lets say the person cant afford what the pros charge. Should they not have photos of there big day? Or should they choose the best possible photographer in there price range? I cant afford a  Rolls-Royce but im surly not taking the bus. I got a Toyota and i don’t expect it to have the same features but i do expect it to run.


    Everything MBChamberlain said is legitimate advice displayed in a constructive way,

    I would kinda listen to someone who has been shooting longer since you’ve been alive…just a thought.


    I defiantly did listen. He was vary nice he was being constructive, I Thank him for that. I just always get the feeling that photographers act as if they were in the womb snapping away, born professionals. MBCham did not seem like that at all but the comment came across that way. The comments about photography being an after thought in my life. What age was he when he had his first camera and knew he was going to be a photographer? Let me guess 5? Seems like that’s the deal with most the pros. Not matter what time i thought of it, i do have a passion and if that does not come across in my work im fine with it. Maybe my passion is to be different. Sorry you don’t see any RR tracks or burned down barns in my shots. I will run right out tomorrow and find a red brick wall to shoot in front of.


    I didn’t want to do this, but you have gotten my blood boiling now, so nice isn’t going to happen anymore.  I wish I hadn’t even offered to help you at this point.

    WOW!  I think you may take the cake as the most disrespectful person to ever ask “Am I a faux?” here on YANAP, but it IS fairly new, with time I’m sure another will come along.

    Long standing pros KNOW that they didn’t come out of the womb a photographer.  They know it takes time, effort, talent, practice, seeking knowledge, and critique ect
    It is YOU that thinks you are already good enough after just a few months, because you feel your photos are better than some hack’s down the street.

    I can’t believe you got hate mail over posting here asking for opinions.  That’s horrible, if true!!! Especially considering they could have openly discussed things right here in this thread.  This is a first.  Whomever did that should be ashamed of themselves.

    “I cant afford a  Rolls-Royce but im surly not taking the bus. I got a Toyota and i don’t expect it to have the same features but i do expect it to run”
    Exactly!!!  a person should be a photographer first, before they become a professional photographer that shoots for others.

    I’ve linked to my work here several times (many others have as well), and I’ll do it again if it makes you feel any better

    I find it irrelevant for a couple reasons though.  1) I don’t post my portrait experiments publicly as I am still learning, and only post in public when I need help and/or critique from pros.  2) Knowing what goes into a photograph/portrait and being able to achieve it consistently and reliably are two totally different things.  Besides I’m no pro like you or MBC only an amateur, a beginner who has only been shooting seriously for about 2 years now.  The difference is I have respect for the art/craft/expertise and respect for pros that have withstood the test of time.  I learn from them as much as I possibly can.  The foundations and fundamentals of photography will NEVER change, it will never be EASY to make good technically and artfully wonderful photographs.  There is no short cut!!  The fundamentals of business also will NEVER change.  It is wise to listen to people that know what they are talking about rather than the girl down the road that has only been in business for 2 years, or a photog that’s only in it to sell you something.  Both will only have nice things to say.  The latter because telling people what they want to hear SELLS.  The former, because misery loves company, and she needs someone to make fun of behind closed doors to feel better about herself while her husband comes down on her for not making enough money at it or because he thinks she should be doing more.  Or she just hasn’t realized yet that she is going into debt being “in business” or making less than minimum wage.  She hasn’t grown tired yet, but rest assured she eventually will.

    The list MBC gave you only has one thing that requires equipment that you do not have (at least from what I remember seeing you don’t use lights).  Rembrandt Lighting.  and no, you do not use all the techniques.  You forget, we are not your clients, we photograph, and we can see what techniques were used, or lack there of because we also use our cameras everyday.

    “Maybe my passion is to be different”

    You are absolutely no different than all the other fauxs, you fit right in with every stereotype  word per word, and photo per photo

    *shakes head*


    Allow me to clarify my statement about your passion. When I read your bio, you talked about your passion for photography, but most of your bio talked about  your other roles in life, your dad, etc. When I said it seems like an afterthought, I was saying that if you’re going to talk about yourself on a bio page, talk about yourself as a photographer. Don’t talk about yourself and then say “oh, and by the way, I’m passionate about photography.” It just didn’t read like someone who would like nothing more than to take my photos. And as I said, I’m not saying that you don’t have passion, but if you want to be successful, it has to be in your pictures.

    When it comes to charging for photos, and I know this is blunt, but neither of you two should be charging. If you can afford a wedding, you can afford a photographer. On your site I seem to remember that you were charging $100 per hour. I don’t charge by the hour, I charge by the package, but when all is said and done, that’s barely less than I charge. In the off season, I’ll shoot just the ceremony, portraits, plus cake, bouquet, and getaway for only $500. That takes me about four hours. My packages then go up from there, and I’ve designed packages as high as $25,000 (5 day Indian wedding in India with 3 assistant shooters). You are not doing them a favor by encouraging them to hire you so they can spend a little more on the decorations, the invitations, or the band. You are robbing them of having a quality record of the most important day of their lives.

    Besides, you have to remember that your clients don’t know any better. If you tell them you are a photographer, then show them bad photos, they will assume that those are good photos. By teaching people that bad photography is good, you cheapen it, and not just for yourself, for all of us. The same applies to giving them a CD, you give them that and they will think that is what professionals do, after all, you are a “professional” you have a web site. When potential clients ask if I will give them a CD, which thanks to the fauxtog habit of handing them out like candy, I calmly say no to a print ready CD, but I supply a low res (500 pixel long edge 4×5 crop) set of images for them to post on Facebook or blogs, if they question me, I show them prints I keep from my supplier and the major photo chains in the area, all of which have been exposed to 5 years of UV light. I ask them how long they want their prints to last, and they can see exactly why I insist of providing all prints myself.

    Usually no pro would ever do what I’m about to do. We tell these stories to each other, because to have the common frame of reference to understand it. We know that if we say what I’m about to say to a non-pro, it sounds like we’re just bragging, or playing the victim, or any number of other generally reprehensible things. But since I’m trying to explain what it means to us to be a pro in a world where the term pro has become distorted, I hesitantly move forward. Here is a brief explanation of my early years as a photographer.

    I didn’t pick up a camera and start shooting gold at the age of 5. But I did the long hard work, just like very other real pro right up to today. My parents were not well off, but they bought me a toy camera when I was young and I loved it so much that I mowed 150 acres of lawn with a push mower and shoveled almost 20 miles of driveway in Michigan to buy my first real camera (a Pentax K-1000) and some decent glass, just so I could start to learn and my dad who had done a little photography taught me some of the basics. I volunteered with a master photographer 20 hours a week almost the entire four years of high school just to have the opportunity to observe someone of that caliber and learn from him, and that doesn’t count as time I was shooting, back then, I was learning. For the next five years, I read dozens of books on photography and thousands of magazine articles, I logged 5,000 hours shooting and 10,000 in the darkroom, shot and developed 45,000 frames of film at $.50 per frame. Then, finally, after 7 years of learning, 5 years of shooting, and $50,000 of personal financial investment, I finally got my very first client, a senior portrait shoot that I made $150 profit on.

    That is what it meant for me to call myself a pro, and that means more to my identity as a photographer to this very day than how many countless millions of times my images have been printed or what clients and jobs I’ve completed.

    In short, it is a demonstration of my passion for photography. I hope that now you can understand that this means to us, and that should hopefully help you understand just why we look at inexperienced photographers trying to “break into the biz” and are insulted by the gall they have to charge for their work when they have barely even begun to learn. It is tantamount to hiring a personal chef and having them make hamburger helper or hiring a pianist who shows up and plays chopsticks.

    And before you ask, “isn’t my time worth something?” The simple answer is, no, no it isn’t. Your time will not be worth anything until you have INVESTED in yourself. It takes every bit as much work to become a great photographer today as it did 20 years ago and in some ways, it takes  more, because the knowledge base has grown since then. So are you in for the long haul?

    As I stated in my last post. Don’t measure your passion by how much you like photography or how much you enjoy doing it, measure it by whether you are willing to put in the kind of work I’ve described here. It’s hard, working without pay is hard, shooting the same things over and over until you get it right is hard, shooting a hundred pictures you’re proud of and having someone who’s been doing it a long time sit there and rip every single one of them to shreds is very hard. There are no shortcuts, there is no way to excel without doing the work, and what point is there in doing it if you’re only gonna be average?


    MBC, you are truely a better person than I. I have no idea how you didn’t lose your temper like I did, but I applaud you.  Now I feel like a complete and utter bitch lol my head hangs low.

    thank you for taking the time to explain calmly, honestly, and without anger.  I sure hope you hang out here for a while.


    IHF, I do want to correct you on one minor point. You don’t need lighting equipment to use the Rembrandt pattern. It’s a single light source pattern, so you can do it with the big light source in the sky. So everything on that list CAN be done without additional equipment, that is why I picked THAT listof 20. (though high key is a devilishly tricky job without a four light setup, it can be done, and I’d expect anyone styling themselves a pro to at least know what it is)

    Of all the seminars I teach one of my favorites is a 2 day seminar on available light portraiture. It’s just great to see young photographers realize that anything you can do in a studio with one light, you can do outside with the BLS and a reflector.

    I’ve actually used practically every reflector known to man, but I’ll tell you which one I love most and use today… It’s a piece of R-Max foam insulation (from Lowes) with the matte silver side, cut into thirds, then cut in half, each half edged with duct tape, and then taped together. Use a little of that reflective silver tape to cover up the seam where the dull duct tape is and, to quote Emeril “BAM.” 3 reflectors for 12 bucks, works great, and no big deal if the wind grabs one and slams it into a tree. Maybe a little bulky, but I can’t count how many of the $50 collapsible ones have been destroyed on location in my career.

    I actually usually made a small one with one of the three pieces and take the other two and make one large one.

    But really, I want to thank you for your kind words. If you ever need someone to look at your work, just get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to help you in any way I can.

    As a side note, given the kind of work you have in your portfolio, have you ever played with cross polarization? If not, check it out, plus if you already have a CPL, it’s very inexpensive to get what you need to experiment with the effect.



    I totally missed that high key was on the list.  I get the the therory  behind Rembrandt using the sun, but I don’t know if I have it in me to try to accomplish it lol. But high key outdoors!?!?  I have yet to accomplish it properly with lighting!  High key portraiture is my nemisis and once I finally get it, I’ll be over the moon and wanting to plaster the words “I did it!” All over some huge billboard.

    your reflector idea is way better than my piece of cardboard wrapped  in tinfoil lol. That didn’t work out so well

    Thank you for the offer, and I may just take you up on it once I have time to set up my make shift studio (just made a big move from one coast to another).  My crazy eyes work better in controlled lighting, so I’ve been teaching myself mostly studio portraiture.

    Not going to lie, I had no idea what cross polarization was.  Looked it up, and oh my!  I’m so in!  I even found a DIY tutorial 🙂

    Thank you MBC

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