Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Waiting for the bottom to fall out.

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    I decided to jump on the bandwagon and offer photography to my small town and I was crazy busy right from the get-go.  It’s a really poor area and I was totally new so my prices are low.  At first I thought it was my low prices drawing people in, and then I thought it was just the trendy thing to do for people, and now I am having people come from 50-75 miles away to get their pictures done with me.  I am learning as I go and have ton of fun doing it… so please… tell me… am I an F-word?  And please any constructive criticism- send it my way!


    I am sorry for the facebook page but it is literally the only place besides my customers walls that the pictures exist 🙂


    I’d say you are not a faux but there are still issues. I think your prices are realistic and if you can make a legal living off then by all means.

    The main problem with your photos is that they lack a bit of zing, they are a bit dark and a bit bland yet at the same time you have lots of burnt out skies. Your colours don’t pop either, I’m not looking for just a global increase in saturation but rather a bit more vibrance and maybe a touch more contrast. I can’t see what settings you have for your camera or what equipment you are using because of facebook but in general lower ISO will be better for image quality including colours. If your lenses aren’t great the colour won’t come out very nice either.

    Your colour consistency is poor, the colour temp varies wildly within the same shoot which doesn’t matter much if you have a single shot but in an album it doesn’t look good.

    I think you still have a lot to learn, do you have any opportunity to assist a well established photographer? I think you could benefit a lot from some tutelage in person.

    Worst Case Scenario

    I hope you are not religious, becauseI think you may have damned your self into Fauxtog hell by taking this shot


    There’s one or two really nice shots, but there’s a lot more with problems. An awful lot of them don’t look sharp, as nesgran says, there’s no pop in any of the colours. Are you shooting raw? if so, you need to find out about dynamic range and them have another go at processing them.

    You’ve got too many pictures with too many problems for us to be able to tell you what’s wrong with every shot.

    I choose this at random (it’s on of the better ones )


    The colour is not to bad, a tiny bit yellow, but it’s flat – the colours are muted. You’ve burnt out the white in the horses main but you haven’t got any rich blacks. You are only showing part of the dynamic range that should be in the picture.

    You seem to have missed the focus. The horses eye is in focus, but the woman’s eyes are not. Also if you are shooting in a field, don’t get part of a roof coming out of the horses head.

    I didn’t look at the prices, but I’d say you probably shouldn’t be charging, and that makes you a Fau……………………


    Ummmm…. Well… You pretty much have all the ingredients needed to be a faux. I’m sorry. It just looks as though you are shooting hundreds of pictures in an auto mode to get a few ok shots, and then running actions on them. Doesn’t seem to be much care put into them. Not YANAP front page material, just ho hum snaps that anyone with a camera and the interest could take. I think it may be more about your prices, and your personality, than it is about your photography.
    I think if you were to price for profit, instead of just for fun pretending to be in business, it may not go as well for you as far as how busy you are. Right now, I don’t think you should be charging, and you should take a few steps back and learn and get a good understanding of the basics first.

    But, just because it’s where things stand right now, doesn’t mean you can’t change things, improve, and even run a legit profitable business someday. It takes time. Allow yourself time. Have patience, and perseverance.

    Just a few things that stand out the most for me

    Color managing: you need some help there. Have you calibrated? And maybe look up and learn more about while balance. How to set it in camera, and how to correct in post.

    Focus: looks as though you are letting the camera chose the focus instead of telling the camera where to focus. Look up focus in your manual and learn the different modes and how to select your AF, lock focus, and all the ends and outs.

    Light modification: I don’t remember seeing one portrait on your page where the eyes looked good and sharp and well lit. Lots of dead eyes going on.

    Looks to me like you are getting a lot of your ideas from Pinterest and other fauxs and pros and just throwing it together because “awwwww how cute!” Much more to posing and making a portrait than that.

    Not only is shooting on train tracks cliche and kind of funny, it’s also illegal and discouraged.


    Can you tell us what’s wrong with this photo?

    If you can’t, you’re definitely a Faux.
    If you can, but keep it on your Facebook, you’re a faux.

    If you can, delete it and don’t learn anything from it, you’re a faux.

    If you can tell us what’s wrong, if you decide to stop charging, and then if you decide to maybe even consider the fact that you aren’t as good as you think you are, then you are on your way to not being a faux.



    and I notice too that you can’t wait to put a naked newborn on your new acoustic guitar. You do know that that type of pose is done as a composite, and requires slightly advanced editing and lighting skills, for safety’s sake? You aren’t actually putting the baby directly on the guitar.



    Here’s another link with a slightly different set up http://jodieotte.com/?p=632



    I think you have a lot of potential. Your stuff actually reminds me a lot of where I was about 1 1/2 years ago and decided I actually wanted to learn how  the technical side works.


    I do have some stuff for you to ponder: are your prices actually fair to you? When you are in business, it isn’t enough to just scrap by when you havea high demand. I would take a break to learn  more, because you  will burn out working the load you are working without good compensation, or  start intense research to learn the technical side,  pick a tutorial on a new camera technique every few days to practice and learn, research, and practice some more. When you  more and open shop again charge a lot more. Trust me, it’s a lot  more relieving running a business where you need to have four clients  break you even than charge so low you need to have 16 clients (and yes, that does mean I think you should be confident in your ability to charge 4 times what you are right now). It doesn’t even matter if you only have 1/4 the number of clients because you still pay yourself the same amount of money at the ends of the day. Actually  you pay yourself more because you save yourself significant amounts of time shooting, editing, gas and car maintenance. It helps keep you from burning out, because if you don’t compensate yourself well enough, you will burn  out  sooner or later and it will be a chore not a hobby anymore. While I don’t havea photography business, I do have a service based business with highish overhead and my  prices set me at break even point if I have 2 clients a week. It’s comfortable and really doable even with two kids under three. I can’t afford daycare at my price though and  trade services and swap babysitting for them however.


    If you like pinterest a lot/  and since you are a mwac (nwrong with being a momtog btw, I think we have an advantage) check the site iheartfaces.com. Critiques on  their forum are really weak IMO but the tutorials in it are incredibly useful. Lots on manual flash, camera modes, lighting,  editing does and  don’ts, etc. I think you’ve gotten good constructive feedback, there’s just one thing I want to  point out about the horse  portraits that hadn’t been yet, and it’s an equipment thing. Horses are really really long compared to people, and unleyou are taking a pic of them from the side, if you aren’t usinga long lens, they will looka little long, skinny and stretched out.  Next time you go to take portraits with a  horse, start looking at  portraits with horses, you’ll notice most of then are taken witha really long lens to compact the background and the horse if they aren’t taken directly from the side and include the horses full body. Bring your regular portrait lens, but also bring  your longest lens.


    Thank you all!   I happen to work another job so my cheap prices are because I already knew I was still faux material, but as you can see there’s still a demand. 🙂  I watched youtube tutorials to figure out how to shoot in AV and some other very basic things.  The whole thing took off so fast I guess I lost focus (no pun intended) and forgot to keep learning.  My youngest daughter has a seizure disorder, so between my part time job and this gig I’m pulling enough cash to be home with her more.  I reallllllllly don’t want to be a faux, and want to capture the images I can compose in my head but the supply and demand escaped me really fast because the other local “photographers” are waaaaaaaaaaaay worse than me (hard to believe, eh?).  I’m going to pull in the reins and stop scheduling for awhile and learn a lot more about the issues you all mentioned.  Thanks so much.  In a year from now I plan to resubmit and hopefully shake the faux label 🙂



    Erika, you’re a cool chick. I love your honesty.

    not at all hard to believe there are other togs way worse than you. And now I know I was right to think that your personality plays big part in things. That’s good. I’m very introverted and struggle with my people skills while shooting. We all like to think our work speaks for itself, but… Reality is, not without a nudge of personality flare of some sort.

    I really hope you follow through with all of this. I’d love to see what you can do with a little more technical ability, and more business sense behind your belt. Good luck


    I find these all to be kind of boring. Focus is off on alot of them. White balance issues here and there. Sharpness isn’t there on alot of them. Also when taking pictures of pets, try to keep the genitals covered. The pug is trying to sport wood and its distracting. Excuse my vulgarity there. Changing your position would have concealed him using a leg or with the other dog. Keep learning and practicing.


    the general consensus is that your work is dull and unoriginal and I’d agree. I didn’t really want to look past the first few images. You’ll do great if your clients are also dull and unoriginal.

    I don’t really understand why you would stop scheduling. You need to KEEP shooting if you are going to learn anything. What you need to do is stop CHARGING.

    The consistency of behavior among fauxtogs is quite interesting. They know their work sucks, but rather than fix it they make excuses for it. They all seem to be victims of circumstance. I blame Natalie Portman’s portrayal of a photographer in that movie she did in the early 2000’s. I think that helped propel the novelty of MWAC.

    This isn’t so much a criticism of you Erika, as much as just me noticing repeating patterns.


    I want to make it clear, because I didn’t really have it come across right on the phone, that what Ebi says is 100% clear. You just need to take a break from the business side but you need to take enough pictures of different people to really practice the technical skills. However you don’t have to schedule it at the rate you are right now either. You have your wonderful daughter to practice with and hopefully she won’t hate you for it, I’m sure friends and if you have family close by that will be willing to guinea pig for you too. Really the biggest thing is to just practice. Personally I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut but am swinging back into it- but when I’m really on top of my game and really practicing, my camera goes EVERYWHERE with me. It really does help a lot- when you go to a friend’s or a play date, you’ve got the camera there to practice inside. When you’re at the park you can practice action shots, etc etc.


    @ Cassie,

    This is off topic but in relation to what you just said about being in a rut, what are you doing to swing out of it?  I’m asking because I’m in a similar situation now – in rutsville!


    @emf I more got into a rut because I’m pregnant and get really bad morning sickness and feel like crap the whole first trimester. I’m starting to bring my camera around with me more and looking at more pictures and tutorials and playing with OCF, basically trying new things out with what I have. Sleep trained the baby too so I wasn’t as tired all the time.

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