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

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    just shoot.  Shoot with no preconceived  ideas or outcomes.  Even if it’s wrong shoot.  (Easier said than done.  I’ve had many of dry spells)

    One time I forced myself to shoot a bunch of crap, that I knew I’d get nothing from.  I ended up with a pretty blah photo of a bottle brush blossom.  It was in focus and the composition was ok, so I kept it.  In the meantime the blue glass mug that I used as a backdrop made a gorgeous light refraction if you tilted it just so and the light hit it just right.  The next day it was all about that blue glass, and I ended up making a photograph that quite possibly will never leave my portfolio.  Shoot nothing, shoot somthing, shoot anything, you never know what you might find, or what  kind of workable ideas will come from it.  Your shots will most likely suck pretty hard on these shoot anything without a care ventures, but… Ideas can spark, and inspiration might just strike you.


    Ah, I have to digress- the movie with Natalie Portman was Where the Heart Is… it was one of my favorite movies when I was younger (and then I read the book too). When she met the Walmart photographer he was a very influential person to her and pushed her to make something of herself for her unborn baby’s sake. She wasn’t exactly what you’d call a “MWAC” by today’s standards because she got into it more as a hobby.


    I see a lot of soft photos. colour issues and cliches.




    ^^^ this photo really really freaked me out. i am the wife of a train driver and seriously this is nuts. railway tracks look nice (albeit a cliche these days) if you use them for their leading lines, this just looks silly and dangerous. not to mention its illegal. i am assuming they are working tracks as i see a carriage in the distance. Really really really bad idea.


    ohh and what the go with contests and posting images from your clients that you have taken, at face value i saw some horendous shots and then realised they were a photo contest. maybe think about deleting them.


    I find the whole shots on railways thing really alarming!

    Thanks IHF and Cassie; Cassie, sleep trained baby sounds like heaven! My daughter has her back teeth coming and nights are not good here right now….but hopefully will get better soon. Right now, I’m so tired and finding it hard to push myself. Sorry, I don’t want to be a moaning Minnie! Everyone has stuff to deal with.

    IHF, thank you, you are absolutely right – I will just shoot through it. I heard a great quote the other day, maybe it was even here, I’m not sure, but it was “inspiration exists but it has to find you working”.  So basically, stop moaning and start shooting!


    I just want to say when ebi said “this isn’t a direct critisim of you Erika”. He meant it that way.

    You didn’t make excuses. You admitted to taking shortcuts like shooting in an automatic mode, and getting caught up in the fauxness. It’s easy to do. What you explained is exsactly how faux business are created 99.9% of the time. It can get crazy very quickly. I think it’s great that you are owning up to things, being honest with us, and to yourself. I find it refreshing really. That sort of integrity and self awareness doesn’t happen often here when the dreaded faux word gets said to someone.

    Go ahead and pull down the train track pictures, so it doesn’t keep this thread alive and well. Believe me when I say the subject can get quite heated, and bring out a lot of anger in people. What has been said here is quite tame compared to what I’ve seen in the past. Some even go so far as to jump on fb walls and go off repeatedly over it, with their possy in hand. I don’t want you to have to deal with that. Thing is though even though I feel they are wrong to publicly speak their mind all over your business page, they are still right, and most of the photography world wouldn’t back you up.


    I’ll definitely pull the track shots.. I thought it might be illegal, but one of the last time I used them I was actually there with a police officer!  Aaaand a guy that works for the railroad!  How ironic is that?!  😛

    Also, while we’re talking about pulling stuff- should I pull old albums that I look back on and cringe?  I mean, obviously I have a TON of work to do, but even I can see some improvement.

    Last night I ordered a monopod to help reduce camera shake and watched like a million tutorials on better focus.  I was always letting the camera just do it’s thing. I had my seven year old let me snap a few shots last night and just a few simple adjustments and I saw a HUGE improvement.

    Also, I don’t intend to stop shooting, just stop scheduling and start hitting up friends to use as guinea pigs.  I don’t understand why people like me get sooo much business.  I get it, my prices are dirt cheap, but why pay anything for subpar work?

    Also, I shoot with a T5i and use my 50mm 1.4 most of the time.  I have a reflector and a speedlight (cheap offbrand with a cheap softbox) that I use to fill occasionally.  I spent a lot of time trying to understand ISO over the last couple days as well.  But I feel like when I practice I can’t tell if I’m doing well until I sit down and upload the images on a computer.  I plan on taking lots of time to figure out metering and maybe that will give me a little more insight!

    While I was editing some shots yesterday I played more with saturation and I can see a little color improvement- but I think the first step is getting the focus in order.  I see that first when I look at my own work…  slowly but surely I think I can figure this all out!

    Please if you have more advice or places that I could find some beginner info (there is sooooo much out there and it all contradicts each other!) tell me where I can get my hands on it 🙂


    If you look at it and cringe, then yes, pull it. Really just post a pic or two of what gets you super excited when you take pics of someone so you’re showing your best.


    I’m assuming you switched to single point ficus from the dynamic range focus (I think that’s what it’s called?) That should make an enormous difference because the camera left to it’s own will  usually just focus on the closest thing, whereas single point will focus where you put it.


    The reason you get lots of business it’s because often people are uneducated on what  subpar, average, good, and great quality are. They see cheap and look at the pics and think cute! But they don’t know about all the issues the pics have.


    As far as editing, don’t even touch anything in photo shop right now. Totally skip editing for now. Teach yourself to get that look in the camera.  Breaking up with photo shop for a little bit will make you learn the technical side faster.


    I’m confused why are you finding conflicting info? Or at least on what sort of things?  For the main part it’s all physics and  math. What I did was pick one technical  subject each week to practice (focus, ISO, white balance, etc). Then each week I added on until eventually I was shooting full manual. After that it was about looking for light.


    The pictures will usually look better or worse once on the computer because you’re viewing them bigger and actually able to view them correctly. Unless it’s obviously wrong, you probably won’t be able to tell until it’s on the computer.


    What I’d suggest you do is to install the canon software that came with the camera. I’m a firm believer that if you need to edit more than lightroom/canon dpp can do you are trying too hard. You strike me as someone who is a visual/hands on learner and all the tutorials in the world won’t do as much for you as experimenting. Get the USB cable out and hook up your camera to the computer and get something to use as a model and practice on it. If you go for the right settings in the software and your photos will pop up on your screen a second after you took them. Adjust the settings as you go and play with the different settings. I would say start in AV mode to start with and then M mode when you start adding the flash into the equation. Play with the flash and see how the aperture, shutter speed and iso affect it. Even though you aren’t adjusting the shutter speed yourself keep an eye on it anyway and see how the aperture, iso and shutter speed relate. When you’ve completely understood the exposure triangle and how iso, aperture and shutter speed interact then start worrying about metering. Until then just go for the standard setting whatever it happens to be called. Something that will be more use than worrying about metering modes would be to understand exposure locking.

    The newer rebels have decent enough AF, I believe it is the same as the older xxD models which means all the points are usable. Make sure you learn how to change af point without taking the camera off your face. The bigger bodies have a big ergonomics advantage there. If you are going to be working as a photographer you may want to consider buying another body anyway to complement at some point, a 5D mark I would make your 50mm sing and offer you better image quality than your current body can do despite the lower resolution and better ergonomics but a far inferior lcd screen.


    I skipped the last couple of responses because I’m getting sleepy, but I’ll come back to them later and maybe expand.

    A lot has been touched on thus far and is very accurate, very good advice.
    I noticed a LOT of soft focus and, maybe it’s just me, but the photos of the young man look extremely feminine. Remember to take great care with posing! You seem to have a comfortable interaction with your clients and they seem genuinely at ease in some of the portraits. That being said, when you work with a couple (and not a large group or a group with young children) you can take more time. Chimping is generally discouraged, but after a few shots take a look at the viewfinder, zoom that sucker in and check your clarity. Catching it early will save you a lot of heartbreak when you get home. It’s the mark of an amateur but it’ll definitely help keep you alert, just make sure you’re not totally reliant on it.


    when i go on meetings with potential clients and they flip through my book that I spent hours meticulously editing and arranging, I occasionally cringe at images that I thought were good hours ago. It has nothing to do with their reaction either. I don’t know why it happens. Regardless I pull it, if only for the piece of mind for the next appointment.

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