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Build Your “Storefront” Contest ~ Win A Custom Blog + $500 Marketing DVD Set


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Winners will be picked and announced on Sunday, May 23rd. Winners must contact me by May 25th to claim prizes. Make sure to enter past contests too.

1. Cinnamon Girl Studios

Cinnamon Girl has kindly offered a custom designed blog sites (examples here: wordpress or blogger) to one lucky commenter. The winner can choose one of the pre-made templates and then she’ll customize it just for you! This is a $220-$360 value.

2. Joy of Marketing

Woh, Mama! Sarah Petty, creator of the Cafe Joy Marketing Materials for Photographers, is offering a huge giveaway! It’s her Meaty Marketing DVD set (a $499 value!).

How to enter:

Add your entry in the comment section of this MCP Blog post (not on Facebook) by answering the question: Write 3 words that describe you? If you are in business already, write 3 words that describe your business/company/brand as well.

Want more chances to win? Get bonus contest entries:

MCPEntry1 Build Your "Storefront" Contest ~ Win A Custom Blog + $500 Marketing DVD Set Contests

* Error correction – the lens rental give away is by

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  1. Erin B on May 17, 2010 at 9:12 am

    AMEN!! Thanks for the great article, so many takeaways here.

  2. kimberly on May 17, 2010 at 9:12 am

    i’m not a professional and don’t plan on being one…but this was REALLY interesting. you photographer’s put A LOT of work! as a mom who takes a lot of pictures, but still takes her kids on photo shoots, i don’t mind paying the big bucks for really good pictures!

  3. Cynthia on May 17, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I wish I would have read something like this before I started and started by having 6 moths or year worth of portfolio building. I didn’t, but I did a lot of work for someone else, so I was always working, but b/c the pictures weren’t for me, I can’t sue them and although I have loads of great work to show, I can’t and my site looks a little too bare for my liking. So this year, I am stepping back and restarting and it really seems to be paying off. Great articles. I look forward to each of them and hope to catch one of your workshops soon!!

  4. Alrik // on May 17, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Hi Jessica, nice to read, very helpful for many I think. It all starts with the right attitude, good work …

  5. Amy on May 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Darn! Love the idea of the friends and family response! I needed that! 🙂 I would love to hear your advice on how to handle when you raise prices, I am over my year mark as a professional and feel that it is time to charge a little more based on my growth and new knowledge. I am also changing over from CD’s to prints. How do you go about notifying past clients? And tricks on how to keep them?

  6. Andree on May 17, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Another great post. Some valid points — if you don’t take yourself seriously from the get go, then why should others ? I like the “Friends and Family” pricing idea too (at least to cover your costs and whatever amount on top).Thanks for the valuable info.

  7. Christina on May 17, 2010 at 9:25 am

    This is a really great article. Thank you for the advice! As someone who has only been in business for a couple of months & is now beyond the stage of doing free sessions, I love your tip about having a friends & family pricing guide as well as all your other tips mentioned!

  8. Stephanie on May 17, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Great advice. I too, have put together a little friends and family pricing sheet. It’s small but it packs a great discount for those closest to me. And as for not posting what I don’t want to be shooting…You’re right. My girlfriend asked me to do a newborn shoot for her and that is something that I believe takes a talent of its own and I much prefer them when they’re a little older. But I didn’t want to say “no” to her. She’s one of my dearest and oldest friends. I love this series of articles and I have learned so much! I haven’t officially “launched” anything. I just have my site so that if someone does stumble upon it, I am there if they want me. Once the confidence level is up there, there will be some heavy marketing from me!

  9. Amy C on May 17, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Jessica, I just adore you!!! And this series is so valuable!! Thank you so much Jessica and MCP!

  10. Kacie Hanna on May 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Geez can I just go back in time and do this! Is it too late to implement this if I’ve done EVERYTHING wrong on the list! Oh well…

  11. Aimee (aka Sandeewig) on May 17, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Excellent EXCELLENT Post! The best one of the series yet. Very helpful, especially for the stage I’m in. THANK YOU!!!!

  12. Stacey Allison on May 17, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I am thoroughly enjoying your series, and yes, even the days where there are no contests. Smile. Today’s article was extremely informational and helpful. Thanks.

  13. simone on May 17, 2010 at 10:23 am

    awesome! it was so good to read this! than you thank you thank you! Amern, Amen, Amen!!!

  14. Michelle m'belle on May 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    This is great advice. Especially because it shows me what I’m doing that doesn’t seem very professional. This absolutely gives me guidelines to changing my online image.Thanks Jodi!

  15. Yolanda on May 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I have been hanging onto and absorbing every ounce of this series. But, this post has given me that “Ah ha!” moment. While I’ve always guessed that people worked for free for a time to build their portfolio, I haven’t been able to figure out exactly how you prepare people for the fact that their future sessions would be charged. This article gives a pretty clear strategy, which I”Öm looking forward to implementing.

  16. Denise G. on May 17, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    This is so great! I’m a fairly new reader and budding photographer and the whole “How in the heck do I build a portfolio?” question was on my mind this weekend. I’ve still got plenty to learn, but his blog is invaluable and has such useful information. Thanks for the wonderful tips!

  17. Jessica Cudzilo on May 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    @Amy If you are contemplating raising your prices I would (again) highly suggest purchasing Alicia’s Easy as Pie Pricing Guide. She gives great advice on how and when to do that and if I share it here I will only be stealing her expertise. ; ) As for how to keep past clients – simply take care of them AND keep them updated. Send out newsletters, postcards in the mail (with discounts), write letters/emails just to say hi. I purchased some little albums from J. Lee Albums and put little albums of wallet-sized photos together for past clients as a way to say “Merry Christmas!” Basically, just stay in their lives and they’ll stay in yours. ; )

  18. Patty Reiser on May 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    This is a great article. I especially like the idea of setting a date and letting everyone know when you will start charging for your services.

  19. Nekane Erro Owens on May 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Great article! Thank you 🙂

  20. alexa on May 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Fantabulous post! So, question… How many photos would you say is enough in a gallery? And, do you think there is something to be said for having too many photos??

  21. Cortney on May 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    These articles have been so inspiring and helpful as I’ve just begun to charge clients. Thank you so much and I look forward to reading more! I will definitely do the “friends and family pricing” idea.

  22. Brad on May 17, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks, Jessica! This is really great info – thanks for sharing it!!!!

  23. Jessica Cudzilo on May 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    @Alexa I don’t think there’s a “magic number” but having a good array of different shoots, faces, settings, etc. is most helpful to new clients to see just what all you shoot. As far as too many … I don’t think you could ever have too many, but keep in mind that people only spend a limited amount of time on websites. So, pick your absolute favorites and save the rest for your blog.

  24. Pam L. on May 18, 2010 at 12:22 am

    What a great article, Jessica! Being in business for a while now I never thought to do a “friends and family price sheet”. I love that idea instead of a discount and having them always ask for a little bit more.This has been a wonderful series. I look forward to the rest. Thanks Jessica and Jodi.

  25. Tracy on May 18, 2010 at 1:46 am

    AMEN …

  26. Amber Ricketts on May 18, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Thank you so much for this series! I am just starting out and trying to build my portfolio. I too wondered how to switch from free to charging when it came time.I did however have a question about charging a small fee while building the portfolio. If I were to offer a session with a certian number of free edited photos on a CD for them to print would it not be wise to charge a small fee for the other images above the amount. Like if I offer 10 edited images but they decide they want 10 more. Should they just get all 20 for free or would it be okay to charge for the other 10?

  27. Zoe Heatherington on May 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Great article with some excellent pieces of advice!! My biggest marketing challenge at the moment is trying to do something new to get those new clients-I have ideas and have had success with some if them but many have not generated any business? What is worth the time and money??

  28. Nikki on May 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Great article! Thanks for the advice. It’s just what I need to hear right now.

  29. Megan on May 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks! I am loving this series! So helpful!

  30. Jessica Cudzilo on May 19, 2010 at 12:51 am

    @Amber – I think your idea sounds great! If you want to do that I say go for it. @Zoe – What is worth the time and money? The million dollar question. I wish there was a “recipe” to what you should and shouldn’t do, but there simply isn’t. I have advertised and it been a total waste of money and advertised and it been a total moneymaker. A bit of advice I can give is to get to know your market AND your target audience. Then, do whatever you can to get in front of them (sometimes this is as simple as setting out business cards in the right places). Hope this helps! 🙂

  31. Jenn Straznicky on May 19, 2010 at 10:25 am

    These tips have been so helpful. I have loved this series and it has helped me think so much about the business side of photography. Thank you for your time and effort.

  32. Dawn on May 19, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Great advice Jessica! One question, who do you limit your family and friends pricing to? Thanks so much!!

  33. dental hygienist on May 21, 2010 at 5:38 am

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  34. Marion Niewald on December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Hello, I am so very greatful for all these wonderful articles. There is so much to learn! I am hoping to turn my start-up business into something successful, and have already realized that I have made already many mistakes in that regard. However, after reading, I have set the goal to start out new with the next year. I want to begin with offering the portfolio shots for a certain time, in order to keep practicing and to have more work for my website. Now my question regarding this is, what do you offer your “model” families for posing for you? Should I have prints made for them, or give them the edited files? What should I do? This article mentions this portfolio work, but does not state what is given in return for the right to publish the work. PLEASE, I really would like some advice on this. Thanks so much!!!

  35. Christina on April 24, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Thank you, this is exactly what I needed. Being a very detailed person it was nice to see that I wasn’t crazy by being detailed and treating my free portfolio sessions as I would a paying customer.

  36. Lisa on March 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Great advice. One question: how many sessions would you advise doing before launching your website? I do plan to include some shots of my own wee one but I have also done three newborn shoots and one maternity (all free – I am going to give them the images with a print release, but I am also going to give them a menu for printing with my future full prices plus some kind of discount). Do you think that’s enough to get started with a website? I was planning to launch it to help get the word out there. The few friends/family I have shot will hopefully refer me but the people they refer me to have nowhere to scout me out without a website. I have a couple of leads on other sessions that I was planning on charging a discounted rate for as well which I will add but they are after I was planning on going live with the website… Thoughts?

  37. Justine Johnson on January 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for that! It was a great help. Perfect timing for me to see this, cause I’ve been working on my photography site the past few weeks and I’m wanting to do it right. I haven’t published it yet and I’m glad, cause I’ve got a few changes to make. Thank you!

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