Girl On Fire and Why I Don’t Sell a CD of Images

I call her that, because she is.  First of all, she is going to college on a softball scholarship.  That much dedication to anything always impresses me.  Add to that her personality, and throw in the fact that she’s gorgeous…..and SO mature, wow.  This was definitely a favorite session of mine..I had a great time.  10

And so, since I had a great time, because I usually do, the session just doesn’t seem like work.  It seems more like fun.  Even when I’m shooting a session in the snow, or rain, or tramping through weeds, it’s all fun and even exciting for me.  So I consider myself lucky, to do a job I love.


So, I do love most things about my job, but I figured now is as good a time as any to explain a little about the business side of things.  (not so fun)  I’ve heard many times people saying how they can get a 5×7 at Wal- Mart for $1.  I agree..it’s true.  Or they say, “I just want a cd of images”  …..which I don’t sell.   So those of you who wonder about all that….here’s a little bit of info.


The work I do is fun, but the bottom line is:  It’s Still Work.  And while I would love to do it for free, I haven’t won the lottery so I have to make a living.  When you come to me for portraits, you come to me because you want gorgeous photography, and that is what I intend to give you…every….single…..time.   To give you that gorgeous photography…….here is a little about what is involved……


I spend approximately 10 hours on each client.  I spend time on the phone with them, planning their session.  We talk about what they should wear, what they can bring.  I plan my outdoor shoots for a certain time of day, and I always follow up with clients a few days before the shoot to narrow that time down or adjust it if necessary.  Then, shooting day involves one to three hours of time.


But it doesn’t end there, I then spend up to 8 hours editing your proofs.  Yes, and I’m not talking crazy mad photoshopping, I’m talking the basic time it takes to cull photos, open each file, adjust contrast, color, exposure, smooth skin and a few other tweaks.  Going as fast I can, just for basic edits…….minimum five minutes per image.  (and that’s one reason I don’t do weddings….I really, REALLY have no desire to do that to 1,000 images at a time)


So, for each client, lets say I spend 10 hours, and want to pay myself $20 an hour (which is very small considering then I pay social security and employment taxes out of that, plus no benefits)  That comes to $200.  So now you’re thinking, wow, she’s making $200 per client, she should just give me the CD of images for that.


But, the paying myself a measly wage is just about 1/4 of the real expenses.  You want the best photography, and to offer the best that I can, I am constantly paying for education in my craft.  My computer is an expensive one, it has to be, my software costs me hundreds of dollars each year.  Cameras get a certain number of clicks before they die, it costs me $20 just to turn my camera on for a shoot.


Have you priced studio lights lately?  Thousands of dollars…..then there is building rent and utilities.  So…………I could go on and on, but the quick rundown is:  You aren’t just getting a 5×7 piece of paper when you buy a 5×7 from me.  All of the above (and more) goes into making that image you love which just happens to be on a 5×7 (or whatever) piece of paper.


And so……..This is why I charge what I charge.  I’m not cheating you when I charge you more than Wal Mart does for a piece of paper.  Because you’re not getting a piece of paper.  I charge what I charge so I can stay in business doing what I love, creating images like this.


And sometimes, the best ones, are the fun ones…….like this…..


And now you know….when you order pictures from me…….you are paying $27 for the education, backgrounds, props, rent, utilities, cameras, lighting, taxes (etc,)  that goes into the artwork that goes onto a 5×7………but I’ll throw in the paper for free…… 😉


Before and After

So, I’ve never done this on here…but I thought I’d let you in on a peek of some before and after  photos.  Most people don’t know that with digital cameras, the photo’s aren’t meant to come out of the camera ready to print.  Even if the color and exposure is completely accurate in camera, adjustments in contrast and sharpening need to be made.  That being said, I usually have to color correct my pictures, and I usually tweak the exposure, then comes the contrast and sharpening.  Often I crop….and all that just to start a picture.   After that…..if there are blemishes….stray hairs……those have to be fixed.

For me photoshop isn’t about making someone look different than reality, it’s about bringing out the best in the photo.  So for your viewing pleasure, some before’s and afters…………



This is before…..it was shady and so the lighting was cool……..

And here is the after, increased contrast and warmed up…….

Another before…….a little bit of a pullback, you can see my giant reflector……

And after….the giant reflector cropped out and everything else tweaked….









Posts, seniors

September Senior Special

Okay, I jumped the gun a little on announcing this, just to give everyone a chance before the dates fill up.  Yep, you’re reading it right, no session fee for studio sessions for seniors in September.  Here are the details:

Your session must be in the studio, and in September.

You WILL have to pay a $50 retainer to hold your spot…..this is to make sure everyone has a chance for a session.  It’s not fair to anyone if my book fills up and I have to turn people away, and then someone doesn’t show up for their session.

When you order your photos, your $50 is credited to the amount.  If you don’t like any of your pictures and don’t want to order any….you get your $50 back. (But THAT’S not gonna happen cause I know you’re gonna love em   😉 )

Simple!  So call or email me soon…once my dates fill up….that’s it!   740-314-7976  or email :  selinaphillipsphotography@yahoo.com


Senior season……..

I wanted to share a fun session from a few nights ago.  I seem to shoot many more senior girls than guys, so this always challenges me.  This guy was so comfortable with it all and did everything I asked him to do.  Maybe I should rephrase that……..I didn’t really have to tell him much………he was a natural.  We used some cool locations……I love downtown urban shoots for texture and unexpected backgrounds.  Anyway CJ, thanks for a great session, and here’s a sneak peek for you.

How about these killer eyes!!  Wait til you see the pictures of him in his blue shirt………just sayin………

And this is the “boy in the hood” look…………so okay, maybe this isn’t his personality………but hey it’s cool and fun nonetheless!