Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? What do you think of my work?

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    If you convert from raw to JPEG, you loose most of the data available.  That’s fine for display since a high quality JPEG is all a lot of output devices can handle.  For editing white balance, or adjusting exposure, you want all the data available from the raw file, either as the raw file or as a TIFF or DNG.  TIFF is the traditional 16 bit format.  DNG is an Adobe format.

    DPP should be able to deliver a change in exposure of a couple of stops either way before converting the file to a JPEG.   ACR gives up to 4 stops of control but you may find excessive noise after a couple of stops depending on the image.



    Yes Emilee, I agree 1000% with CC.  The problem with JPG for editing is that once you make any changes and save, you can’t go back, unless you have copies of the original file.  Your editing is very limited to what can be done and what can be undone.  RAW is direct information that is compiled directly from he sensor, whereas jpg has preset adjustments and a reduced file sized compilation of the image taken.

    JPG editing is what we would call a destructive editing process.  RAW is a passive or non-destructive process, because no matter how far along you go it never actually writes over the original file.  It creates a XMP file called a sidecar file that contains all the instructions of any edits done to the file.  So if you mess up, you can reset the file back to square one.

    With you saying that your converting from RAW to jpg for editing, I would highly invest in an app like LightRoom for RAW editing capabilities, if you don’t already have Photoshop o another RAW editing app.


    Much of your work remains technically acceptable,  from at the very least, an enthusiasts perspective. Beware the common trend you have occuring with a strong sense of ‘the set up’ While compositionally quite strong, I see a great many images which do not offer any ‘natural’ feel. Consider capturing your subject in action. Gentle direction and suggestion should occur on the fly and it is your job (as a commissioned tog) to record that decisively. The experienced ‘tog would be combining this ‘direction’ of the subject with the ability to ‘see’ the moment. Props are a genuine tool for adding narrative although dont over do it. Lasty almost EVERY shot (excepting children) has your subject engaging the camera directly – not always needed. Mix it up! Lots more that could be said but i gotta go!


    WHITE BALANCE: I carry around a white paper and also use grass as a sub for a grey card when I forget to pack one. Sometimes, if the sky is really deep blue I’ll use that as a grey point as well. I wish there was a “zebra” function on the T3i (maybe there is one, but I’m not aware of it) as it would be easier to tell what is a true white in the image. I also notice the inconsistencies in tone in my images and am working on it.

    FOCUS: There are only eight focus points on my camera, so I have a lot of issues with focusing. I end up having to reconstruct the scene or focus on the eye and recompose, which is an extreme hassle when using a tripod.


    Reading through your comments in this thread, I see what is quoted above, and I have questions:

    Plain white photocopy paper makes a reasonable white card when the real thing is not available.  I spend a lot of time in Chinese restaurants, which works well for me because their china is usually white.  Black suits also work well, as does a shot of my black camera bag.  What I don’t understand are your references to using grass and blue sky!  Since neither of those are neutral, how do you use those to set white balance?


    Why do you say 8 AF points, when Canon think there are 9?  From their T3i specs web page:

    AF Points
    9 points (Center AF point is cross-type, vertical-line sensitive at f/2.8.)

    Some parts of photography are art, other parts are science.  The “art” portion is all about your style and desire, you can stick to the rules or break them as you choose.  The “science” part is not as forgiving.  In order to get the art as desired, you have to pay attention to the science details.


    I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I use grass and deep blue sky as a grey card.

    I was wrong about the focus points as well. There are, in fact, 9 auto-focus points. This number, however, is just as insignificant as 8 when it comes to being able to quickly and accurately focus on a subject.


    Emilee, CC’s point though is that a gray card is just that- it’s gray. Grass and deep blue sky are colors, they aren’t gray (which isn’t technically a color at all) and they won’t work. It’ll screw your colors all up and your processing program won’t remove any color casts right. A gray card is also very specifically 18% gray to help get exposure right.


    I do more event photography than I do portraiture.  And I believe that my camera has only 9 AF points on it.  But I manage pretty good doing fast moving, low light, event photography using my center focus point. I’ll get my focus and keep holding the shutter button halfway down and snap back to my composition I was going for.  Or another way is learning to use your focus lock.

    As far as color balance, 90% of the time I can get away with using auto color balance. This is probably the only setting on my camera that is set to auto.


    Emilee, Cassie gets my point.  One side of a grey card is 18% grey which is useful for setting both white balance and correct exposure, the other side is white which is useful as a small reflector and to set white balance and the white point.  Grass is green, and any shade of blue sky is blue!  Green and blue are not good references for setting white balance.

    As far as 9 focus points being able to quickly and accurately focus, this was taken with a Rebel T2i (your T3i is newer but virtually the same):


    Raptors are very fast!  This one was coming almost straight at me and it was only in the air a couple of seconds.  I might be mistaken but looking at your web page, I don’t see any subject that moves at even half the speed of this bird!

    Photography is a mix of art and science.  It is a lot easier to do the art if you understand the science.  That includes understanding how your camera works and not just what the camera settings do, but why you would want to use a particular setting for a specific shot.  A rebel T3i is an extremely capable camera and shooting a posed portrait in daylight does not tax its capability at all.


    18% grey is NOT used to set white balance. I misrepresented myself in the above posts. It’s used to set exposure. Grass (deep green, not dry dead stuff), sky and a host of other things can be subbed to set exposure when the camera is in the monotone profile because it WILL register very close to 18% grey. I know you might not understand the reasoning, but it’s what I was taught by my instructor, and it’s what I use when I DON’T have the card.


    18% grey is NOT used to set white balance.

    That’s news to me!  You can set white balance with a black reference, any shade of grey reference, or a white reference.  The software does not care, as long as the reference has equal values for red, green and blue.  It works out the change required to make the point you select neutral and applies the change to the whole photo.

    Shooting monochrome or colour, you can use almost anything that is at about the desired brightness to meter your exposure.    Grass and sky would both work depending upon what you were trying to achieve with the scene before you.   Concrete also works pretty well in many cases.


    Okay, now I am really confused?!?

    Emilee, before we think that you are doing something completely wrong or start to blame your instructor, here is a PDF from X-Rite, the people that make the color checker passport.
    It explains the reasoning for color balancing and white balance and all that stuff. Obviously, they promote their product, but the information is pretty solid.

    I would suggest to you to start shooting in RAW, and getting better control over your images in post to alleviate any future issues. Trust me, it helps.


    This is beginning to look like the Circle Game we played with the Wolf Cub Pack.  Get the kids sitting in a circle, whisper a sentence to one and have them whisper it to the next, around the circle, then see what comes back.

    The grass and sky part probably started out like this:  “If you want to take a photo of birds on a wire, you will find the camera exposes for the sky so the bird is a silhouette.  If you point the camera at the grass and press Exposure Lock, then take the birds, the birds will be properly exposed and the sky will be blown out.”  Or, it could be that the thought was if you shoot monochrome and get the grass properly exposed the rest of the scene will work itself out.

    She may understand it better than she expresses it.

    Raw files have benefits!  If you shoot in raw, you get bigger files because they contain the sensor data, and you have to convert them.  But, all that extra data means you can have complete control over white balance and a lot of control over exposure, in post processing.  A raw file of a scene like the girl holding out the flower probably contains enough data to recover the blown out areas of the flower and her hands, while the data may be lost in the JPEG because the camera throws so much data away.  Even if the data is in the JPEG, there is so much more data in the raw file that you can get a cleaner recovery.  Another benefit of shooting to raw, if you want monochrome, you can set the camera to monochrome and the display on the back will be monochrome (the camera makes a temporary JPEG for the monitor), but by having the raw file, you can still choose to have colour, or you can choose different filter sets to alter tones in the final monochrome image.


    I tend to be blunt so take that for what it’s worth while reading.  Also, remove any emotional attachment from your images before reading:

    1.  White balance- you shouldn’t be charging a cent before achieving perfect white balance every time.  A piece of white paper ain’t gonna cut it.  Using grass as a sub for a gray card?  Huh?  One of the biggest giveaways of a new photographer is the green color cast on skin on outdoor images.

    2.  Get better glass.  One look at your images told me you were using a hobbyist Canon Rebel.  All is not lost.  You can make up image quality with good glass. Your images lack “pop” that good glass gives.  I can also see you are using a lot of post processing to make up for out of focus images.

    3.  Learn how to focus.  8 focus points isn’t an excuse for anything.

    4.  Learn how to properly sharpen your images for output, how to resize images for web viewing, and knowing how to sharpen for both print and web viewing.

    5.  Do a cost of business analysis before pricing your sessions.  $25 for 25 minutes is not a true assessment.  I guarantee you actuate your shutter for more than 25 minutes.  Unless you set a stop watch….which is really amateur.  Plus, you need to factor in post processing time.  $25 may an acceptable session fee (i.e., just for showing up) but you’re going to spend more time processing.

    6.  Don’t price for weddings until you’ve second shot for one or have actually done one.  Weddings are a big deal.  A T3i is not gonna cut it.  This is where the camera body does make a difference.  Oh…for weddings, you need 2 of everything.

    7.  Invest in good processing software.

    8.  Your contracts- this is a whole other separate thread.  It’s plain as day you culled these contracts from the internet or pieced them together.  You have so many loopholes it’s like looking through swiss cheese.  Do yourself a huge favor.  When you go legit this year, spend the $150 and meet with a small business attorney to draft up lawyer reviewed contracts.  The contract will be your best defense.

    9.  Join the PPA and get the indemnification insurance.  You’re gonna get sued.  It happens.  Refer to item #8.

    10.  Step back, take a breath, and practice.  Just because your friends on Facebook think your photos are “kewl”, does not make one a professional.  You need to master perfect shots every time, be very comfortable with using flash and lights (half your images could’ve benefitted from fill flash), and set up an infrastructure before hanging out a shingle.

    I’m not gonna call you a “faux” but you are exhibiting every sign of one.  Sometimes ya gotta crawl before you run.


    Thank you all for giving the info I need when I first posted.

    I have put together a Flickr album of 7 images that I would like feedback on.

    Thanks in advance! Y’all are wonderful!


    Hi ink!

    A question:

    What is the first thing the eye is drawn to when viewing a photograph?

    I’m going to hold off on any further comments. Seems like a lot of folks want comments and yet don’t feel the need to follow up on those that are made.

    Except for this. I like your IMG 6886 but I think you could have turned the subject’s body (shoulders) in toward the negative space instead of having the shoulders leading out of the frame and head turned in. This for a more balanced shot and also keeping the viewer’s eye in the frame. The shoulders tend to lead the viewer’s eye out of the frame. Then, turned the head slightly back toward the camera. Unless going for a full on profile it is not really considered good form to have the nose breaking the line of the cheek bone. Then have the model looking not straight sideways but at approx. 45 degrees or less toward the camera. This to get the other eye and some whites of the eyes instead of just some makeup lines and the other eye eyelash. Nail the focus on the eyes. Then there is the catchlight issue.

    It has been said (on here even) that the eyes are the Window to the Soul. This is what portraiture is all about. If you miss this, then you only have a snapshot.

    Another related question and follow up question?

    Why do you think manga art is so appealing? Why are Disney’s most visually appealing animations so remarkably compelling and able to convey emotions that draw one in?

    Hint: Eyes?

    And a final question before I just give it up if I may?

    How did you do your mono conversion?

    I’m a huge fan of mono portraiture, especially headshots. It is an art form unto itself and a successful conversion is way more than just a button click and/or desaturation.

    What are your thoughts on my response?

    (Oops, was that too many questions and comments?)

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