dont be a fauxtographer
A member of my online photography group recently asked if any of us identified as a “fauxtographer.” What the heck is that?
It’s someone who earns money doing photography, who has a photography website or fanpage, but, from a legal standpoint, does not have a legitimate business. It’s way more common than you may realize.
Urban Dictionary defines it as someone “who tries to jump on the photography band-wagon by ‘Pointing-and-shooting’ hundreds of terrible pictures, which they will upload to myspace in an album titled ‘My Photography,’ ‘My Art,’ or ‘Critique My work.’ Always followed up by the person adding ‘Photography’ to their General section, or adding ‘Photography is my life…’ to their About Me.”
The question posed to my photography group caught me a little off guard. “Fauxtographer” doesn’t seem like something anyone would aspire to. Who’s going to admit to being that? Of course, the goal of this person was to help those who are not legitimately in business, but the way it was asked and the way people responded made me feel bad for those who may have felt embarrassed fessing up to their faux status. Then someone posted, “Perhaps we won’t hear from those who are not legitimate.”
This Post Has 4 Comments
If u r a “Pro Photographer”‘, is this discussion about subpar wannabees worthy of your Input?
Hey Todd! Yes there are other interpretations of a fauxtographer…. it is kinda a made up word! 🙂 I really don’t think we will find a legal definition in the dictionary 🙂 My only definition and explanation is from a legal standpoint to make sure more photographers are protected. It doesn’t matter when you start a business but the day you start charging for services if you are not legally protected you are exposing yourself. Completely agree on your points that there are many newbies that are underprepared for services they are booking. But that is a whole other story and conversation. 🙂 This article is only from the perspective of helping the photographer from a liability standpoint. Yes there could be a another article protecting the consumers from the newbies or how to be prepared for being a professional. Thanks reading Todd and reaching out!
I agree with Todd. I am a newbie (In that I have been trying to go pro since 2009), but I am not a fauxtographer. I don not claim to be a pro. I do not currently have a license and that is because I only make about $900/yr so far, that is before taxes and expenses as I work on donations. Right now, it wouldn’t pay for me to add in the added stress and expenses that it takes for me to be licensed small business owner. However, I am a student who is slowly building my portfolio and making myself worth the amount of money I will soon be charging. I am constructing a business plan and the second I make $500 +/ week for three weeks I will get my license. Once I am able to do this for a year then I will call myself a pro. Until then I am a student with a camera and if you want to donate to my school fund, I will accept it, but I am not calling myself a pro. Even though I will always conduct myself as if I were.
I recently had a “friend” with a camera who shoots in always-auto mode go out and purchase some lights on ebay, set them up in their garage and announced to the Facebook world they were starting a photography business. It lasted two weeks before they gave up and went back to their day jobs of being doctors and engineers. These are the people I consider fauxtographers. These people that claim to be in business and then fold up in a couple of weeks. Who never charged what photography is worth but pass themselves off as being professionals. I know my way isn’t helping but I am working in a time for prints scenario 99% of the time and the donations are only “tips” the people are giving me.
Maybe, this does make me a fauxtographer, but I am doing my best to try and let everyone know that I am only a student trying to create images that are pro quality, before I call myself a pro.
I disagree to a point. My idea of a fauxtographer is someone who not only posts a bunch of crappy images and is sans business license but, they usually show up to an event with their consumer grade camera (I acknowledge in the right hands gear doesn’t matter) in AUTO mode or GREEN mode and just fires away without any regard to composition or creativity. They don’t own a flash of any sort except for what came built into the camera and if they do, the only use it pointing straight forward and again, on auto. Now, to be fair, I’ve seen a pro exhibit similar behavior, the difference is when you see his final images, you realize he/she, knew what the heck he was doing.
Ok, to be totally fair, we have a lot of new photographer wanna be’s that are just starting out. Some will keep up with it and engage in all the learning they can and practice what they have learned. They will post crappy pics at first with progress being shown in their work as they get increasingly better. Are these people fauxtographers? I say no. They’re just newbies. Hell, I’m a newbie but I do have a business license and I do my best to get a great image and I get paid from time to time. And if we look at a pure definition of what PRO means, in most cases, it means someone is getting paid to do what ever it is they do whether it be photography, music, accounting etc. Go easy on some of us.
But, to the crowd who buys a decent rig, and pretty much does point and shoot and claims to be a photographer, and usually works for free (which really equals fauxtographer) to you, I’ll tell you, you are taking money out of the pockets of working professionals, you are driving down the expectation of what it means to use a real pro. Your crappy images teach the public that’s what you get from a pro so why should they pay “that much” if anything. Please, if you’re going to offer to shoot your friends wedding and give them substandard pics and not charge them, do NOT call yourself a pro. At least until you have some seriously outstanding chops and are charging a decent rate. Let’s elevate the profession, not bring it down.
Thanks for reading.