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I’d rather be blunt and straight to the point than pour on the sugary sweetness, so here it goes:
1. Get rid of the music. I couldn’t even find the option to turn it off. Research shows more visitors bounce faster when a site has music than not. While you may have an emotional attachment to the song, it’s slow and annoying. If I were at work or not giving a critique I would’ve bounced the second I couldn’t find the option to turn it off.
2. Rewrite your “about me” section. Do that now! Your second paragraph in which you are validating that you’re not the greatest photographer is not needed. You’re selling yourself not trying to explain your faults. And if you feel you need to explain your faults then that’s a great sign that you’re not ready to charge. Keep it concise. Make a connection. Avoid common Mom With A Camera cliche words like “passionate” and “whimsical”. Tell the reader who are you and why you are a photographer and what you can do for them that others can’t.
3. Find your style. Your processing leaves much to be desired. It’s evident you’re new to photography. How do I know? Your style is exactly the same as every other new photographer: heavy vignetting, too many Dutch tilts, actions/ presets, fake blur, heavy contrast, poor white balance, etc. You will find that a properly exposed photograph with the correct depth of field and composition will be far superior than trying to “fix” it with cheesy actions in Lightroom or Photoshop. As you learn about light and composition you will find you need the crutch of editing less and less.
4. Get a new profile picture of you. It looks like it was taken with a point and shoot. Lose the camera or at the minimum don’t make it such a major distraction.
5. Calibrate your monitor. If you’re editing on a laptop, invest in a desktop PC. Laptops are very hard to keep calibrated. Use a white balance card or exposure disc on location. Your white balance is way off and when you apply an action it makes it even worse.
6. Learn how to sharpen your images for output and what size to output for the web. You should be sharpening two times for output but singularly for each time (meaning: if you sharpen for web first, you need to undo that before you sharpen for web). Once for your hi-res images and once for images to be displayed on the web. Your images for web display should not exceed 1000 pixels on the long side. Most sites will compress the image that are longer than 1000 pixels and you will not display your best work. Final sharpening is the number one thing amateur photographers fail to do.
7. You’re shooting really tight or cropping really tight on images that would benefit from space and vice versa. Google “the rules of good portraiture” for help on posing and composition.
Lastly, a photographer advertising services should be competent enough to produce consistent images day in and day out regardless of weather, lighting, clients, and any obstacles. Based on your bio, you yourself concede you are nowhere near that. For some reason photography is one of those fields that people thing they can charge as they learn. How you do things is your own choice and I’m certainly not going to lose sleep over what you do. Just being honest. Good luck.
A buddy’s wife (who happens to be a military spouse – gee, go figure) just got a D5100 2 days ago. I suspect I’ll be posting her Facebook photography page next week after she has the weekend to do some “shoots”.
If you are great at marketing you can make a living doing anything. Personally, I think you are years away from producing great work. That’s not a bad thing but when we live in a “now” world most people don’t want to spend the time honing their skills, taking the right classes and mentoring before hanging out a Facebook shingle.
And when you saying you’ve been doing this for a while, how long is a while?
Forreally- you have to understand something. People DO start at the bottom but the majority of those people work hard, practice, take classes, and develop their craft before hanging out a shingle and calling themselves a pro or paid photographer. Photography seems to be one of those professions where amateurs feel they can learn as they go at the expense of the customer. The thing is, most of the Facebook fauxtographers aren’t in business 2 years after they start. This is because: they realized they got themselves in over their head, got a reality check from an unhappy client, the tax man found that they were collecting money but not paying the government or they got a case of “shiny penny syndrome” and found a new hobby that’s easier like selling crafts on Etsy.
UV filters also: diminish image quality, scratch the front element when dropped, are a pain to get off when bent, not needed for UV on digital cameras, are not guaranteed to protect your lens (seriously- write your UV lens manufacturer).
UV filters are good for: protection in a sandstorm and mudbogging.
Use a lens hood. Problem solved.
Doh- I read so fast I missed his post about having the 70-200.
As for the UV filter, that’s a hot topic debated in the internet world ranking right below Nikon vs Canon. I will agree with you about one thing. Using a UV filter for greasing or stretching white pantyhose for a hazy effect is a good use.
It’s all good. I didn’t take it that way. I tend to write bluntly and sometimes (re: a lot) my posts can be interpreted to be harsh.
I’m not sure what’s it makes you. I was merely addressing the OP’s original post of her qualifiers of being a hobbyist and then subsequent posts eluding that its more than that. I’m certainly not the FB page police but when someone creates a page specifically for photography there is an assumption that the person is intending to do more. I post minimal pictures to my FB page because I specialize in boudoir and glamour and I don’t really want to bombard my nieces (and family – though they all know what I do) with this types of images. “Likes” are typically generated by friends and my friends aren’t my clientele so there’s no need to advertise there.
Before you bring the camera up to your eye, look what’s behind your subjects and how far from your subjects the background is. You have a few images where the trees are impeding the visual appeal of your subjects. We often like to post our subjects directly against a tree when in fact, the tree becomes a distraction. Position your family a few feet in front and using your depth of field knowledge you can expose to get your family tack sharp and the tree becomes a piece of blurry goodness. Also, if you’re going to use a tree, post, or something that will rise higher than your subjects as a backdrop make sure they don’t sprout out of their heads. Before I even raise the camera there’s three things I’m going to determine: 1) what aperture I want to use to achieve the depth of field I want 2) how is the available light falling on my subjects (do I need to use flash) 3) what is behind my subjects. These things greatly reduce the I amount of time in post production and yield more pleasing images.
Learning flash is very easy. Getting it off camera is simple with some cheap triggers. There are many video tutes covering off camera flash. I always recommend the AdoramaTV channel on YouTube. The quicker you incorporate flash into your workflow, the better you will progress. You don’t always need flash but it’s good to know when you need it.
Lastly, output sharpening for the web is a critical yet overlooked process for new photographers. You should be resizing and sharpening your images differently for web use then you do for your hi-res images for printing.
Don’t spend money on better glass. That’s not going to solve your serious issue with white balance and depth of field. You can achieve a pleasing DoF with kit lenses. It’s all about knowledge and applying it, baby!
Based on your intro post why do you have a FB photography page? Why can’t you put them in your regular page? If it’s just a hobby, enjoy it being just that. You’re saying you have password protected “client” albums. I thought this was just a hobby?
You see where I’m going with this? You’re saying one thing but presenting something that sends the message you are available to “clients”. If you are taking on clients then good for you. I’m just being honest because I hate fluff. You have some work to do to get to a level that you can take on clients. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice.
There’s a difference between being a fauxtog and a serious hobbyist. Fauxtogs typically bought their Canon T2i at Best Buy with a kit lens and UV filter because the kid in high school said they would protect your lens (complete crock of shit). They start a Facebook photography page about 2 months after buying their camera and after all their friends “liked” their horrible images. They claim hobbyist status in public but tell all their friends they’re going pro. They offer all images on a CD for the low cost of $25 which tells us they’re not the sole income earner (usually a stay at home mom) and have no CODB plan. They use a free web based editing application and think selective coloring is to die for. They have huge logos and a cliche business name like “A Moment Lasts Forever Images” or “Hearts of Love Photography”. They use the word passion or passionate in their bio and classify their style as “whimsical” or “contemporary”. They buy actions from Etsy.
A serious hobbyist simply enjoys the love of creating images. They harbor no fantasy’s of becoming pro. They are intent on learning about light and the many implements used to produce it or use it. They may have an online gallery to share with online forum members. They are generally far more knowledgeable than the 2 month FB “pro”.
If you don’t want her to second shoot and the organizers are concerned then suit up and tell her that you’re moving in another direction with a different photographer. Being passive aggressive is for the weak. You’re being commissioned to do a job. It doesn’t matter how much the pay is. The expectation is you will produce the best results. If the second shooter doesn’t leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling then let her go. Simple as that.
My other $.02 is don’t take on projects that are out of your league. Learn the relationship between flash and ambient light. It’ll save your butt one day.
If they have a FB page and an over sized logo on crappy work, then I don’t feel bad. They’re putting themselves out there by claiming more than being a casual hobbyist There’s plenty of aspiring photographers who are practicing and practicing without trying to pass themselves off as a pro with a Canon Rebel.
This thread is full of win. The both of you need to scrap your Florabella/ Style Me Pretty actions and learn how to post process on your own. When you use an action or preset you are laying said action over your image thus greatly affecting the white balance of the image. Having a green baby face is not vintage…it’s making them look like a martian. I’d also advise the both of you to join some reputable online photo communities and get critique from other working professionals. Friends and family are not a good gauge of quality of work as they are emotionally invested in you.