Note: I am happy to say that 99% of the feedback about this website has been very positive! The questions for this FAQ page are largely gleaned from a few negative comments that have been noted on a photography forum, so I would like to address them. If you have any further questions/concerns please contact me. Thank you!
Q: I am a photographer who has been in business for 2 years. I don’t understand why you’re bashing people like me and calling us ‘fauxtographers’. Surely you were new in business once too!
A: Please reread the What Is A Fauxtographer page. At NO point, anywhere in the description of a Fauxtographer, does it say that a Fauxtographer is someone who is new to the photography profession. It clearly states that being a Professional Photographer is about mastery of the photographic medium and quality of work produced, as well as the work ethics and customer service standards adhered to. Nowhere is there ‘bashing’ of people who are new to the industry. Yes, I was new to the industry once too! There is nothing wrong with having just a couple of years under your belt as a Professional Photographer.
People who have been in business twenty years can produce crappy work, and people who have been in business one year can produce fantastic work. The description of a Fauxtographer has nothing to do with how long you’ve been in business!
Q: If you’re not against people who are new to the industry, then why can’t I join the registry if my work is solid and I’ve been in business 2 years?
A: When planning the registry, I decided to address three separate aspects of running a photography business: the quality of the work itself, professional level pricing that doesn’t undercut the industry, and business experience. Minimum standards for all three of those aspects were chosen, and the business experience minimum that was decided upon was three years. Why? This is addressed in the What It Takes To Be In Our Registry page – Studies show that 50% of small businesses fail in the first year, and 85% don’t make it to 5 years. If a photographer has been in business for at least three years, they’ve made it past the first big hurdle and are well on their way to passing the second. Additionally, we believe that experience counts. The first few years in business involve a lot of on-the-job learning. A photographer who has been in business for 3+ years has done the grunt work and gained valuable skills in a variety of photography and business aspects.
So if your business is two years old – good for you! Sounds like you’re well on your way to success. You’ve made it past the first difficult year, and you’ve spent some time learning how to successfully handle the challenges of a business. For purposes of this registry, however, three years of legal business experience is required. With another year of success, you’ll be ready to apply to the registry.
Q: I object to this word you made up, ‘Fauxtographer’. I think it’s offensive.
A: I definitely did *not* make up the word Fauxtographer! I have no idea where it originated, but it’s been used in the photography industry for a number of years now to describe people who produce sub-standard work. It’s used on this site simply because it’s a well-known term.
Q: I don’t understand who you think you are, pointing out things in photography and declaring them ‘wrong’.
A: Let’s be clear – this site is not devoted to things that *I* don’t like in photography. This site is devoted to educating consumers on the difference between good and bad photography, and I am not reinventing the wheel here.
I haven’t yet written a single thing that hasn’t been discussed elsewhere – I didn’t just decide, for example, that putting babies in glass objects was unnecessarily dangerous. I took part in a number of discussions with other photographers on forums, noted other photographers commenting on this dangerous trend, and I wrote an article about it with illustrative images using a doll in an effort to educate people on the topic.
I didn’t just decide that some photographers are color-popping things to a level that won’t print correctly – there are other articles out there about color-popping and out-of-gamut images. I compiled the information from several sources and provided some visual examples on the topic in a format that would be helpful to consumers, who might not have the technical knowledge of what to look for.
I didn’t just ‘make up’ reasons that Professional Photographers charge higher prices for the article on that topic – for the past NINE YEARS I have taken part in pricing discussions on forums, at workshops, and at conferences with hundreds of photographers. The topics covered in the pricing article are all things that I have heard a photographer say “I wish my clients knew that…(fill in the blank)…..and that’s why I charge $xxx for that item.”
So this website is not “Good And Bad Photography As Decided By Heather”. This website is designed to educate consumers on what they may encounter when they are looking for or working with a Professional Photographer, and how they can get the best results for their time and effort and money invested. This website compiles a large number of topics that are discussed often in photographic circles, and puts them in a format which can be utilized by photographers to educate their clients/potential clients.
Q: Why are you charging for the registry?
A: This is not a registry that anyone can sign up for. The minimum standards must be met, and proof submitted. That proof has to be reviewed and checked for accuracy before the photographer can be added to the registry. All of this takes time, and is done carefully and thoughtfully.
Not everybody gets accepted. For those who did not meet the standards, an email is drafted explaining why. If the applicant simply did not have the required 3 years of legal business proof, this is fairly simple. For the applicants who have been rejected due to low pricing or issues with the work shown on their websites, often there is some back-and-forth through email. A couple people have been upset that they were not accepted, and I’ve spent a lot of time discussing pricing and website/gallery variety issue with people. I’ve had some good conversations – they’ve given me things to think about, and I hope I’ve done the same for them.
So, to offset the time that is involved in the entire registry process, plus the costs of running/maintaining the website and SEO work, there is a small fee to take part in the registry. This is, essentially, a marketing cost – and a very small one.
There are other photography registries that charge for listings. There is a registry which charges $25 annually to list your site so that military families can find you for free sessions. A few years ago there was a registry that charged $25 to apply, and $200 annually to be listed on their registry – and they did not have any standards that had to be met, other than paying the registry fee. There is another currently operating registry, which anyone can sign up for, that charges $10-$50 a month for the registry listing.
This is a service I am providing for those who wish to take part, and a small fee is charged for the service to cover my costs. The fee is equivalent to a couple trips to Starbucks, for a whole year of listing on this informative, educational registry. Only you can decide if it’s worth it for your business.
Q: Why isn’t your information on the About page? Who are you?
A: When I shared this website with some photographer friends, I had no idea how strong the support would be or how quickly it would be shared. I hadn’t yet completed a FAQ page, which is where I intended to put my information. My name is Heather Skau. My business, Catch A Star Photography LLC, operates in Southwest Florida. I started the business as a sole proprietor in 2002, then incorporated in 2006. The business website is www.catchastarphotography.com.