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15:00 Duration

Free Shoots & Gift Vouchers

In this video, Sue discusses that while valuing your work is the most important shift you must make for you and your business, building a strong folio is something you must do. Doing folio building shoots is a way to build your marketing images, to show on social media that you are doing shoots, and to make your folio stronger. Starting with “free” folio shoots is great, but at some point, you have to transition to charging full price.

There are free folio shoots and there are shoots using gift vouchers and Sue teaches us the difference and how to use them both to your advantage.

Sue emphasizes to stop saying that it doesn’t work, and to start taking responsibility. If you say it isn’t working, ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” Then come back to this video, get on convocation, and start talking through it!

Key Points:

  • Free folio shoots are for building your folio because they are someone that you want to shoot more than anything and you just have to have her on your website. Be prepared to give away the shoot, but never say the word FREE. You have to understand that for this, it will cost you the shoot, but what you could do with that shoot will lead to more and more shoots.
  • If you are putting out a model call for a free shoot to build your folio and no one is responding, there is something going on with YOU that is blocking people from coming. And don’t put out a model call on facebook! Once you do start charging and people see that, they will think that they wish they had done it when it was free.
  • If you are doing a folio building shoot for free, you have to be prepared to pay a makeup artist.
  • Shoots using gift vouchers means they are not free, but instead you are gifting them a value towards purchasing their photographs.
  • Ask yourself who do you want to shoot? Ask your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. if they know people who match what you are looking for. Tell them you want to offer a gift voucher to them.
  • Whatever genre of photos you show, is what you are going to sell.
  • Make sure you are not only shooting models! The photos you are showing must be relatable to women.
  • When writing your vouchers or talking about your vouchers, the word “free” should never be a part of it.
  • The gift voucher should have a monetary value attached to it. Decide how much you want to give away. This makes it so that it isn’t a free shoot, but a gift to them with the idea that they will purchase more. This gives you the practice to get comfortable saying what you charge and educates your clients about your pricing.
  • The gift voucher can include hair, makeup, your shoot time, plus $100 TO SPEND ON PHOTOGRAPHS.
  • When connecting with other business owners, tell them that before they refer their clients to you, you want them to come have a shoot with you. Tell them what you charge and then tell them you are gifting them a $500 voucher (or whatever value you decide). Offer business owners a higher value of a gift voucher than you would a typical potential client.
  • Include on your gift vouchers that it is a gift from you with the value listed. They also must include an expiration date — a call to action, a short description — girl’s day out, makeover & photo shoot, etc. Check out the download for an example.


  • Once you get them in your studio, win them over!