A Photographer’s Guide to Email Marketing

by David Em

Portraits Refined may earn a commission on purchases made from links on this page. For more information, read Affiliate Disclosure.

Email marketing is an essential method for you to grow your photography business. You can turn leads into paying clients.

Person sitting at a table and typing on their laptop.

What’s email marketing and why is it important?

Email marketing is a strong marketing strategy where you develop relationships with potential clients and promote your service.

Related: How to start a portrait photography business

As a photographer, your strategy will be different from a company trying to sell products to consumers. Your email list will likely be much smaller and filled with people who live in the areas that you serve.

Regardless of how many people are on your list and despite the rise of social media, it’s an important digital marketing strategy that you should implement.

When potential clients subscribe to your list, they’re giving your their email address and allowing you to reach out to them.

The amazing part is that your email list is yours. That means you don’t have to worry about a social media company removing your profile or an algorithm changing.

You own your email list, and in an instant, you can reach out to many people at the same time.

Email marketing is important because it has the potential to drive more business, increase loyalty, and lead to more brand awareness.

Related article: The complete guide to speedlights

Best email service providers

Before you start building your email list, you need to choose an email service provider. There are many companies that you can choose from, and some are better than others.

The following are the two best email companies to help your photography business succeed:


ConvertKit is built and designed for creatives. It’s a powerful tool to use because you can do more than send emails.

With ConvertKit, you can also set up sign-up forms or landing pages for people to subscribe to your email list and create automation workflows, so you can take the manual labor out of it.

It has an email designer, which makes it easy for you to craft beautiful emails. It also integrates with many other tools that you might use to grow your business.

As far as pricing, ConvertKit has a freemium model. It’s a sliding scale depending on the number of subscribers you have.

Your first 1,000 subscribers are free, which includes unlimited landing pages, sign-up forms, and email broadcasts.


MailerLite is one of the fastest-growing email marketing services for a good reason. It has a user-friendly interface and does it great job of getting subscribers to track your numbers.

If you’re getting started with email marketing, it’s a solid choice because you’ll be able to create professional campaigns, landing pages, pop-ups, and automated workflows.

MailerLite’s pricing model is based on the number of subscribers you have. The free plan allows you to have up to 1,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails sent in a month.

If you have less than 1,000 subscribers and want to exceed 12,000 emails per month, you can get unlimited emails for $10 per month.

The following is a breakdown of the pricing:

  • 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers is $15 per month.
  • 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers is $30 per month.
  • 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers is $50 per month.

When you pass 1,000 subscribers, you can send an unlimited number of emails, and if you have more than 10,000 subscribers, contact MailerLite for pricing.

How to grow your email list

To grow your email list, you need to give people a reason to sign up. Why should someone give you access to their inbox? You need to create a compelling offer. This is also called a lead magnet.

So, what makes a good lead magnet? The following are elements that you need to have to be effective at getting quality leads:

  • Useful and valuable for the potential client.
  • Relevant to your target market.
  • Available immediately.

Examples of a lead magnet for photographers include a discount, checklists, guides, or incentives for booking a shoot with you. Be sure to try different lead magnets to see which one is the most effective for you.

Next, create a sign-up or opt-in form and place it on your website in a highly visible spot. You can place it on your home page, or about page, or use a pop-up.

Your form needs to be simple. Asking for a first name and email address is perfect. If you ask for too much, people will be hesitant to enter their information. Keep it simple, and be clear about the benefits of signing up.

Email frequency and contents

As a photographer, potential clients want to hear from you, but not every day. Therefore, you have several options. To stay in their minds, you need to reach out at least once a month. This will ensure they don’t forget about you.

In your emails, you can include a video about yourself and your services. Since you have their email, tell them why you’re the photographer to go with.

You can also include a call to action. For example, if you have resources on your website that a potential client would find useful, send them the link.

A helpful and hands-off technique is to automate it. Build a series of emails that someone receives after they sign-up for your lead magnet.

This is your opportunity to book a photoshoot or be the go-to person when they’re ready.

Follow the laws and regulations

There are laws and regulations around email marketing. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the CAN-SPAM Act are a couple that you must adhere to.

The following are important tips and practices to follow:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  • Offer a clear way for people to unsubscribe.
  • Your name and address need to be at the end of every email.

By following the best practices, you’ll have long-term subscribers and avoid being marked as spam.

Frequently asked questions

How much does email marketing cost?

It depends on the size of your list, the number of emails you send, and other factors. On average, it can range from being free to costing $500 per month.

Is email marketing still relevant?

Yes, email marketing is still relevant because the number of active email users continues to grow (Source: Statista).

Are there different types of email marketing?

Yes, you can send a welcome email, newsletter, promotion, or a re-engagement email, if it’s been a while.


Email marketing needs to be a part of your business growth strategy. Be courteous, respectful, and make sure your emails are valuable. By doing so, you’ll be able to turn subscribers into paying clients.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and advice to grow your photography business. Learn more about Portraits Refined