The Birth of a Fauxtog

In this rare case we get to see the precise moment when this aspiring photographer was unfortunately transformed into a fauxtographer. They did what their client requested, the client no doubt loved it and a fauxtog was born. Selective coloring and foggy faces ensued.

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  1. I can’t stand spot-coloring. But I can’t escape the fact that a lot of people love it, so I guess I have to let them enjoy their life and just avoid their photographs.

  2. FalconGTHO

    And now you have in print proof of what Ive been saying since I started commenting on this site, a LOT of the junk seen is a result of customer demands/requests.

    My work here is done.

    • Bad customer requests do not end up published in the portfolios of real photographers.

      • whitney

        Although some of these ideas are horrible, as a professional i think we all try to meet our customers needs. I wouldn’t snub my nose up to anyones Ideas. I ask what my customer want, do what they ask AND add in several of what I would normally do and after having all the choices in front of them they rarely end up picking the disgusting ideas they had in the first place but on the rare occasion some people want those craptastic ones. It’s simple. Don’t put them on your website or portfolio if the idea was not flattering to you in the first place. Sometimes your definition of fauxtographers and professional/respecting your clients mixes. Just because people aim to please their clients does not mean they are not worthy.

    • Melissa R.

      No, no, nonononono. I just don’t buy it. This is NOT a real photographer who *poof!* is transformed into a fauxtog by doing a foolish client request. The person is ALREADY A FAUXTOG, lacking in knowledge and skills. I’m sure of it!

  3. A Photographer should say, “No, I do not edit my work in that way. Go try this other fauxtographer I know.” Only a fauxtographer says, “Sure, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.”

    • So you’re telling me if you had a client that had just paid you 800.00 for a session, and they wanted to have one photograph turned into a selective color photograph, you would tell them no? You realize that word of mouth gets around, and I don’t think Joshua Barnett is code for Annie Liebovitz. To me, that seems not only incredibly pious, but a little more than obtuse. Biting the hand that feeds you is one of those things you are taught not to do.

      • I have to disagree, turning away clients doesn’t make you pious it makes you good at what you do. Not every client is for every photographer. I’ve turned away clients before looking for more traditional studio shots, that’s not what I do, so I refer them on to someone who DOES do that. I’d rather the client be happy and get exactly what they are looking for. Also, if you build up a strong referral network among your peers the business will come back to you.

      • I’ve had this request numerous times and I always explain to my clients that it’s a dated fad. They and their photos(my work) are better than a cheap, cliche editing technique. Sometimes I’ll throw in that it’s one of the first things photographers learning photoshop do because it’s so simplistic and I’m past that point in my photographic life. In other words I’ve graduated from dish washer to fry cook.

        Usually I’ll leave the door open and say, “I’ll do it if you really want me to but I’d really rather not.” I’ve never had one insist on it after that. Psychologically I don’t think anyone wants to be associated with the words “cheap” and “dated.”

      • ashleesue

        I agree with josh. You have to make it clear what you do and don’t do as far as editing. I do this before the client even hires me, so they understand that I’m a photographer and not a fauxtographer. I’ve done selective coloring ONCE and it will never show up in my portfolio. While it didn’t turn out like the horrific attempts strewn all over this website, I still don’t feel it looks professional. I don’t think there’s ANY way to make selective coloring look good, in my opinion.
        And yes, turning certain clients away is a must. Like LOLZ said, word gets around and the last thing you want is to knowingly engage in a client relationship where that person is going to demand a quality that is beneath you and then go tell everyone that you refused to cooperate. Just steer clear of them to begin with. I’ve done it on several occasions.

    • When you go to restaurants you avoid customizing your order too, right? Don’t want to offend the chef?

      • Someone

        If you say “I don’t like how the cook makes this signature steaks, could you tell them to use ___ instead of ___ and make sure they ____ instead of ___.”

        That’s insulting.

  4. This is exactly correct, Falcon. I absolutely abhor selective color usage, and faux bokeh, but if the client asks, you do it. However, I typically have 2-3 maternity session a month, and each one will say ‘PLEASE don’t do the stupid heart hands, or anything with an ultrasound photo?’ I generally laugh a little bit and tell them that it’s definitely not something you will find in my portfolio unless someone specifically requests those types of work.

    I am not sure where the mentality went, but it needs to come back. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. PERIOD.

    • I actually don’t do it – but I’ll happily send the client elsewhere. Why? Because I don’t want my name to be attached to something this crappy. Sorry to be blunt but we’re the professionals. It’s our reputation. We can educate clients. We can refuse do to certain things. The customer is not always right. Period. What you’re saying is that you’ll do anything for money or by demand, even if it’s tacky. Which has nothing to do with integrity. Do you really think Jerry Ghionis would do spot color if the client asked for it? Nope. His clients wouldn’t ask for it – because he doesn’t attract that type of client.

      • Jason

        Kat took the words out of my mouth… I don’t ever even leave the option open for clients to have much of an input in editing, I do the shoot, and tell them to expect the finished photos in a timely fashion. But then again, they have all seen my portfolio and know what to expect. I see myself as an artist and I’m not going to tarnish my art and style because a client has bad taste.

      • ashleesue

        Amen Kate

      • whitney

        Part of reputation is customer SATISFACTION. and a BIG part of it.

    • You can proclaim to be above everything you wish, but for my business, if someone asks, we may try to ever-so-gently dissuade, but if they insist, we will do what is asked. This economy is horrible, and selective color and adding blur is hardly a deal-breaker. It’s nothing I would ever post for my business portfolio, but I am certainly not going to turn away a client for asking for a specific shot.

      Just because it isn’t in my portfolio doesn’t mean a client won’t ask. The holier-than-thou attitude sometimes goes entirely too far over the top. Get over yourselves.

      • someone

        it’s not about being holier than though, that’s what you don’t get. It’s about finding your style and sticking with it. If you are consistent with your work and stay true to who you are, customers will book you because of that, and you can charge significantly more than the photographers running around trying to be everything to everyone.

  5. ithurtswhenipee

    Maybe it depends on what type of photography you do, but my clients hire me based on my portfolio. If they don’t see it in my port, they don’t try to make me do it.

    • exactly, and by all means if the customer requests it, then fine, do it, but you don’t have to put your clients shitty ideas on your website or portfolio..

  6. Phegan

    Maybe it’s just me… but I will not muddy up my artistic integrity for the a client or money. I just wish my artistic integrity paid the bills as well as money does. lol

  7. Jonathan murphy

    You may not have it in your portfolio, but If customer asks for it advise against, if they insist then do it and charge them accordingly. I can’t stand it myself, but have done it as a specific request. The other thing that separates us from a fauxtog is we leave it at that and don’t put it on our portfolio.

  8. Melissa

    “Try?” Are you saying that this fauxtog doesn’t even know basic, amateur edits?

  9. Not sure where this post came from… But this photographer didn’t take the photo in question, and now they’re a fauxtographer for fulfilling a client’s wish? I guess I’m cursed to be a fauxtographer too, just because I need to earn a pay check.

  10. There is also a big difference between someone starting out and learning, and a fauxtographer.

  11. i had a friend come to me for portraits, and after many re-edits (she wanted them super desaturated but not black and white), she did her own edits on them. she was learning photoshop and used as many filters as she could. which is fine. i learn from making mistakes too. and they looked as tacky as one of those websites with animated glitter gifs all over the place. i was afraid she would credit me when she displayed them on her facebook page, but thankfully she credited me with the image and herself for the edits. i haven’t had that situation arise since, but i don’t think i’d make edits that i didn’t want my name attached to OR i’d tell them not to credit me at all for the image.

    • This is the reason I sell digital copies for $700 a DVD. I want to discourage people from doing exactly that. I had a client purchase their photos one time (and it was the last time) and saw some of the horrid results they did with the editing. I’m all for people learning and experimenting with PS, that’s how we learn, but I don’t want it done on my work and be a reflection of how I edit photos.

      • ashleesue

        I avoid that situation by putting in my contract that the client is not to alter the image in any way, and doing so will bring about legal consequence. They are authorized to PRINT their images and nothing more. I make sure my clients all understand this THOROUGHLY and even have them initial by the paragraph. So far no one has broken it.

  12. David

    About the only client editing request I’ll yield to is a B&W conversion. I had one recently that requested that ‘yellowy vintage look’ (I guess they mean that style you see all over wedding and outdoor portraiture at the moment). I said that as we’d shot in the evening there’d be a beautiful natural light and that I didn’t like that effect simply because I think it would date the images in the future (kinda like how all that ‘grunge’ 90s David Carson photoshopped stuff looks really dated now).

  13. Mike G

    I would agree that this points out that many times it may be a client’s wish. I’m not wild about saying that if you use fake bokeh, or selective color, you are immediately a fauxtog. They are creative decisions, the same as dodging,burning, HDR, b&W, sepia, etc. Granted they get a bum rap since the majority of time they are done piss poor.

  14. -zero-

    It’s alive… ALIVEEEE!!!!!

  15. Gal with a Camera

    Well. I’ve always imagined the fauxtogs coming up with this stuff themselves, and the clients being unhappy with it. But… it looks like the clients actually ASK for this stuff sometimes. :-/

    So maybe the real problem here isn’t dumb photographers.. it’s dumb clients. LOL!!!

  16. I agree with many of the other comments. I just wanted to add that this photo is super skankalicious. Perhaps she is using it for a resume photo for a job as a stripper or something.


  17. first off – you don’t use a website to edit photos…

    second – you don’t communicate like the people in this chat do if you are a professional… “u” instead of “you”

    third – You don’t edit another photographer’s work – unless the client has a full copyright release or the permission of the copyright holder.

    fourth – you delete this thread from your fb page…


    Finally – you do not show spot coloring and fake bokeah in your portfolio.

  18. I do whatever a client asks me to do…but I”ll do it MY way, and I explain that to them beforehand. That’s the difference. If they are still insistent on their own interpretation…then we try it their way first, my way second…and 100% of the time they agree that their idea didn’t exactly translate too well. I’ll do spot color if a client wants it, but I’ll only do it with certain tones and never black and white. I’ll blur out something if they want…but only if I can do it artistically and attractively. It’s all good…I get my paycheck, and they get something they love, and I’m not embarrassed to put my name on it.

    • whitney

      Love this! That is what I always do. I’ll do what the client wants but also do the pictures in what I would do. 9 out of 10 times the way i would do it is the chosen one. Not saying some clients don’t come up with some amazing ideas but for the most part their just happy seeing that you listened to their requests. showing them several different options instead of just their own always comes out amazing!! I hardly ever have to do ones I really dislike other than the heart on the belly ones and the ultrasound ones, although if you’re create enough those can come out cute as well. It’s all in the quality you put forth not only the idea you have to use or try to use. 😉

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