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Email marketing for photographers: Ideas, tips, and tools for 2024

By Stacy Kimbell

March 20, 2024

Social media has become the go-to platform for photographers to showcase their work. However, the algorithms of visibility there are always changing and not to the brighter side. That’s why email marketing is a good addition to your marketing toolkit.

Email marketing offers photographers a direct line of communication with clients. It bypasses algorithm changes and guarantees that your messages reach their intended audience.

By employing email marketing effectively, photographers can deepen connections with their audience and always stay on top of their minds when a decision needs to be made.

In this article, we’ll delve into the essentials of email marketing for photographers. Let’s look at its advantages and learn how to build a strategy for better outcomes.

How can email marketing benefit photographers?

Email marketing holds advantages for photographers in various niches. These include wildlife photography, product or commercial photography, fashion photography, event photography, architecture photography, and more.

Here are some key advantages of email marketing for photographers:

1. Portfolio display

Photographers can feature recent projects or behind-the-scenes content through email marketing. This is a great way to let your subscribers know what you’ve been up to while showcasing your skills.

2. Targeted and personalized messaging

Photographers can tailor emails based on subscribers’ interests or preferences. This can be easily achieved by segmenting your subscriber list. 

Consider this scenario tailored for email marketing for wedding photographers. Let’s say you’ve previously conducted a wedding shoot for a couple. You could contact them before their anniversary to schedule another photo session or offer a fall/spring/summer/winter photoshoot outside.

3. Budget efficiency

Creating and sending emails comes at a minimal cost, even with a sizable subscriber base. Additionally, email marketing tends to yield a higher investment return than alternative channels. However, it’s not so easy for photographers to measure that.

4. Credibility enhancement

By delivering valuable content and freebies like how-to guides, photographers showcase expertise. You can use email to request testimonials from clients after photoshoots. This increases the likelihood of gaining trust from potential clients.

Email marketing ideas for photographers: What should you include in a regular photography email?

So, you’ve decided to try email marketing. But what should you write in your emails? The crucial thing is to provide value, which can come in different ways.

Here are some email marketing ideas for photographers:

1. Showcase your work

Keep subscribers engaged and excited by sharing recent photography projects in your emails. Providing a glimpse into your creative process has two key benefits. It updates subscribers on your latest work and fosters anticipation for future projects.

To prove versatility, include a variety of styles and techniques in your portfolio. That said, avoid adding too many images in your email. This can overwhelm viewers and dilute the impact of your best work.

2. Offer exclusive discounts

Rewarding subscriber loyalty to encourage bookings is a wise strategy. Here are examples of exclusive offers you can provide:

  • Offer a percentage discount on services, such as “Get 20% off your next photoshoot”
  • Create package deals bundling multiple services together
  • Provide a discount to subscribers who refer new clients

In all cases, simplicity is key to minimizing confusion. Additionally, consider using limited-time offers or deadlines to instill a sense of urgency.

3. Showcase your expertise with educational content

You can position yourself as an expert by offering valuable tips or tutorials in your emails. This could include composition tips, editing tricks, or even lighting techniques.

Let’s say that your target audience primarily includes clients rather than photographers. In this case, you can offer advice on how to prepare for a photoshoot, or how to choose the perfect location.

4. Highlight client testimonials

Photography is a highly personal service. So, clients often rely on others’ recommendations when choosing a photographer.

Take advantage of this by featuring positive feedback from clients in your emails. Testimonials serve as social proof of your skills and professionalism. Moreover, they help alleviate any doubts or concerns potential clients may have.

Five steps to mastering email marketing for photographers strategy

If you’re new to email marketing and aiming for a strong beginning, here’s what you need to do:

1. Define your email marketing objectives

Having clear goals provides direction, along with helping you measure campaign effectiveness. Your goals could include:

  • Increasing bookings for photography sessions
  • Boosting sales of photography-related products
  • Driving traffic to your website or blog
  • Establishing collaborations with other businesses, etc.

Note that it’s acceptable to have several goals. However, it’s important to prioritize them based on immediate needs and long-term objectives. Furthermore, ensure that your goals align with your brand identity and target audience.

Lastly, it’s crucial to recognize that these goals are subject to change. Make sure you revisit them regularly as your business and audience evolve.

2. Build your email list

Once you’ve established your goals, shift your focus to expanding your email list. A larger list correlates with better outcomes. That said, emailing individuals outside your target segment diminishes campaign effectiveness.

Accordingly, here are some ways to grow your email list:

  • Website signup forms: Your website likely attracts an engaged audience. This indicates that visitors are interested in your offerings. Simply incorporate a signup form to collect email information from visitors. To encourage signups, you can also offer incentives like free resources.
  • Social media: We suppose you rely on social media platforms to attract new customers. In that scenario, you can include a signup link in your bio. You can also host a giveaway contest. Request participants to provide their email addresses and opt-in for further communication.
  • Through your network or connections: Use your expertise to craft guest posts for other websites. For instance, you can collaborate with event planners’ blogs if you specialize in event photography. Include a link to your signup form in your author byline to maximize exposure.
  • Workshops and webinars: When hosting photography workshops or events, offer signup sheets or digital forms. Encourage participation by incentivizing the signup process. For example, host an online workshop where participants must provide their email to register. In return, you could offer them exclusive access to your tutorial video or gallery.

In any case, make sure that you clarify the benefits and give compelling reasons to subscribe.

Moreover, avoid fishy methods to grow your subscriber base, such as buying email lists. Trust me, it’s “no-go”. 

3. Create valuable and engaging content

Typically, the primary aim of email marketing for photographers is to increase bookings. That said, make sure that your communications offer value beyond mere promotion.

Below are several email marketing ideas for photographers:

  • Latest trends: Keep clients updated on photography trends through your email newsletters. This can inspire clients for their upcoming shoots. For example, in 2024, you can discuss emerging styles like minimalist photography, retro, or drone photography techniques. 
  • Personal experiences: Share your personal journey and experiences as a photographer. Clients often appreciate receiving the inside scoop about your passion, challenges, and successes. This can help build a stronger connection and trust.
  • Gear recommendations: Offer recommendations on essential photography gear that recipients might find useful. Whether it’s cameras, lenses, or accessories, your expertise can help them make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Personalized session ideas: Craft session ideas that resonate with your clients’ unique interests and life milestones. For instance, if a client is celebrating an anniversary, propose a romantic couples’ shoot capturing their love story. Alternatively, for families, suggest fun and interactive sessions that reflect their cherished moments together.

Check out the example of an invitation to a retro photoshoot below:

An invitation to a retro photoshoot example by JCSPenny Portrraits

Image via Milled

Equally important is the presentation of your content. Numerous platforms provide email marketing templates for photographers to kickstart your efforts. Feel free to customize these templates to better reflect your brand identity.

4. Choose the right email marketing tool

This step can significantly impact the success of your email marketing endeavors. With numerous email marketing services available, choosing the right one becomes paramount.

Good choices when it comes to email marketing for photographers include ConvertKit, Flodesk, and MailerLite. All three of them boast user-friendly interfaces. Flodesk is distinguished for its captivating templates, while MailerLite and ConvertKit excel in automation features.

Regardless of your choice, consider the following platform criteria:

1. Ease of use 

Ease of use is crucial when selecting an email marketing tool. Look for an intuitive platform that simplifies the process of sending emails, even for those without extensive technical expertise.

Moreover, seamless integration with tools such as website builders and CRM software can further enhance usability.

2. Customization options

Another crucial feature to consider is customization options. As a photographer, you want your emails to reflect your unique identity and style. Look for a tool that provides custom branding options.

Moreover, make sure that the chosen platform offers a wide range of customizable templates. This will offer you significant flexibility in shaping the appearance of your emails.

3. Automation capabilities

If you want to automate certain tasks and save time, pick a tool that can offer you automation. 

Automated workflows, for instance, can help you send follow-up emails after a client inquiry. They can also schedule reminders for upcoming photo shoots, or anniversary reminders.

4. Customer support

Prompt and knowledgeable assistance can be invaluable. This is especially true for beginners in email marketing for photographers.

Prioritize platforms offering robust customer support channels. These include live chat, email support, and comprehensive knowledge bases.

5. Analytics and reporting

Finally, analytics and reporting features are critical for tracking email campaign performance. Seek out tools offering comprehensive analytics dashboards.

Consider other useful features such as conversion tracking and A/B testing functionality.

6. Pricing

Another important consideration when choosing an email marketing tool is pricing. Look for platforms that offer scalable pricing plans, allowing you to adjust based on your needs and budget.

Additionally, prioritize tools that offer free trials or free plans. This will allow you to evaluate their suitability before committing.

After analyzing many email marketing tools, we suggest you start your investigation with Flodesk, Mailerlite, and ConvertKit.

5. Optimize your email campaigns

If an email isn’t reaching the appropriate audience or doesn’t yield engagement, it won’t convert. Therefore, it’s important to optimize.

Apart from crafting exceptional content, here are several approaches to achieve this:

  • Craft compelling email copy: Your email campaigns’ success hinges on your copy’s quality.  Start with attention-grabbing subject lines that entice recipients to open your emails. Inside the email, use visually appealing designs to evoke emotions or convey a story. Ensure that your CTAs are clear, persuasive, and prominently placed. Finally, include easy-to-access links to your service pages, contact details, and social media profiles for further engagement.
  • Segment your audience: ​​Based on your niche, you might have many types of email subscribers. This necessitates segmentation. Segmentation involves dividing your subscribers into groups based on specific characteristics or behaviors. This way, you can send special offers to loyal customers or photography tips to beginners.
  • Provide an unsubscribe link: Building credibility doesn’t just involve sharing valuable information. You must also respect your audience’s choice to decline it. Always include a visible and easily accessible unsubscribe link in your emails. Remember that email marketing aims to reach a receptive audience. Persisting with disinterested recipients can damage relationships and lead to negative feedback.
  • Perfect your email schedule: Balance staying connected with your audience while avoiding email fatigue. Establish an appropriate email cadence, for example bi-weekly newsletter, or monthly. Regularly evaluate engagement metrics to gauge subscriber satisfaction. 
  • Test and improve: To maximize your efforts, track key email marketing metrics. Keep a close eye on open rates and click-through rates. Additionally, you can use A/B testing to compare variations and optimize campaigns. These steps will help you refine your approach and maximize return on investment over time.

Five examples of email marketing for photographers

Actual campaign examples demonstrate successful strategies in action. Let’s delve into five inspiring examples of email marketing aimed at photographers.

1. Portfolio display

Death to Stock, a subscription-based stock imagery company, presents a new image collection in this email.

The email’s use of vibrant hues like yellow and orange enhances the visual impact of the photographs. Moreover, despite varying image sizes, they blend cohesively.

Also notable is the inclusion of concise yet informative text. This helps add context to visuals and clarify what’s on offer. Finally, the email includes a clear CTA button, social media links, and an unsubscribe option.

Emails like these can help photographers attract potential clients, engage existing ones, and drive traffic to their website.

Portfolio display example

Image via ReallyGoodEmails

2. Workshop promotion

For photographers seeking to promote a workshop via email, here’s some inspiration.

Observe how the email begins with a compelling copy designed to capture attention. Despite many CTA buttons, the email doesn’t seem overly promotional.

Additionally, it provides exclusive incentives for early registration. This effectively creates a sense of urgency, boosting signups. 

Emails like these can help you attract potential attendees, ultimately driving more signups for your photography workshop.

Workshop promotion example

Image via ReallyGoodEmails

3. Cross-channel promotions

This email example from The Phoblographer serves multiple purposes. ​​It educates readers, keeps them updated, and ensures the brand stays top-of-mind. The email shares three articles from its blog for subscribers to check out.

Each headline is linked for easy access and accompanied by a brief description. The email also includes social media links and an option to unsubscribe at the end.

For busy artists and freelancers, such cross-promotion emails save time amidst their busy schedules.

Cross-channel promotions by The Pholographer

Image via Milled

4. Tips and techniques

This email example demonstrates simplicity while delivering valuable content. A filmmaker shares straightforward tricks for subscribers to improve their video creation skills.

The layout uses ample white space, allowing visuals and text to stand out effectively. Moreover, the tips provided are concise yet impactful.

Finally, the email concludes by promising more tips from Julia the following day. This fosters anticipation and keeps the recipient engaged.

Photographers who send emails like these can benefit by positioning themselves as experts in their field.

Tips and techniques email example

Image via ReallyGoodEmails

5. Giveaways

Giveaways are attention-grabbers that prompt recipients to engage with your emails. Wildist’s email showcasing a giveaway includes prominent names like Sony and Chris Burkard. This immediately captures subscribers’ attention.

It offers clear instructions on how to enter and details the prizes for lucky winners. What’s more, urgent language throughout the email prompts quick action, as registrations are closing soon.

Photographers can leverage giveaway emails like this to grow their email list and increase brand visibility.

Giveaway email example

Image via ReallyGoodEmails

Email marketing for photographers: Wrap up

Emails hold significant importance in photography marketing. What’s more, email marketing isn’t about complexity or costliness. Instead, it’s an enjoyable method to share your narratives and cultivate a clientele that resonates with your perspective. 

To begin, choose an email marketing tool that aligns with your needs and budget. Then, provide incentives to encourage signups. Additionally, adhere to best practices to consistently deliver valuable and tailored content.

That said, while email marketing for photographers is crucial, it should only be a component of your overall strategy. 

Find a balance between email, print, social media, and personal outreach. Your approach will be unique, so remain flexible and test different strategies to determine what works best.

Stacy Kimbell
Stacy Kimbell
Co-founder & Chief Editor
Stacy Kimbell has nine years of experience in email marketing. She's worked with different email platforms and created many successful email campaigns for online and offline, well-established as well as family businesses. Stacy is excited to share her expertise with readers.

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