How to write prospective emails to photography clients

How to write prospective emails to photography clients

Top tips and best practices for putting together emails to potential photography clients

Emails are one of the most effective ways to introduce yourself to a potential customer; they provide the opportunity to get in touch with someone and send them a link to a place where they can quickly and easily see your photography. I firmly believe that the soft touch option (emailing rather than cold calling) is the best way to get in touch, image buyers are busy people and you don't want to put the off by being too pushy.

In my roles in the industry, I’ve sent thousands of emails to image buyers and other photography professionals, sometimes to introduce myself as a photographer, sometimes as a fellow professional in the industry, sometimes on behalf of other photographers and sometimes on behalf of a collection or company. Some emails, admittedly, have been much better than others, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to emailing potential clients. But it’s certainly worth a shot.

Choose an engaging but not spam-like subject for your email.

Whoever is receiving your email will give just a few seconds to it, so you want to grab their attention as quickly as you can. You can do this with a good subject line for your email.

Your email should explain precisely when your email includes; an introduction to your work. You should also add a few words on what makes your images unique. This is particularly important, for example, if your image caters to a particular niche.

Here are some subject lines as an example:

1
An Introduction: My portfolio of images on British Railways
2 Introduction: Philip Mowbray, a photographer specialising in North East landscapes
3 Photography collection: Extreme macro work by photographer Philip Mowbray
"Whoever is receiving your email will give just a few seconds to it, so you want to grab their attention as quickly as you can."

Introduce yourself, be clear and concise

The next part of your email should be about addressing the recipient and giving a sentence or two to introduce yourself and why you’re writing to them, and this is all it needs to be, just a couple of lines. You don’t need to include a bio or a long paragraph or essay about your work - let your portfolio do the talking for itself, and if they want to know more about you, they can read your bio on your site. Be confident and sell yourself, but don’t be pushy.


For example:

Dear Petra,

I hope this email finds you well.

I’m Philip - a photographer specialising in railway imagery, with a particular focus on railways and locomotives currently in operation across the North East. I’m contacting you as I thought they might be of interest and potentially a good fit for the magazine.

Link to your portfolio or store

The following sentence should be a link to your portfolio, website, or store. Invite the recipient to click through to your store and browse your images. It shouldn’t be said, but always check that any links you include in your email work properly and direct the reader to the correct page.

Forward a link that doesn’t work or goes somewhere it isn’t supposed to, and the recipient is very unlikely to get back to you. Don’t hinder your chances with simple mistakes.

Example:

Below you’ll find a link to my portfolio of work; please feel free to browse when you have a spare moment.

https://philipmowbray.picfair.com/ (insert your website link or if it's a specific collection, the relevant page here)

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Upgrade now to save 50% on Picfair Plus with code BLACKFRIDAY50

Sign off

You can end your email with a short sentence or two thanking the recipient for their time, and you could also ask an open question or invite them to get in touch with you; remember to provide a clear point of contact too.


Example:

I hope you enjoy viewing the collection. If you have any questions or want to discuss a collaboration, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. All of my contact details are listed below.

Best wishes,
Philip

(Insert contact details like email and telephone number here)

A look at the email in full:

Subject: Photography collection: British Railways in North East England by Philip Mowbray

_

Dear Petra,

I hope this email finds you well.

I’m Philip - a photographer specialising in railway imagery, with a particular focus on railways and locomotives currently in operation across the North East.

I’m contacting you as I thought my photographs might be of interest and potentially a good fit for the magazine.


Below you’ll find a link to my portfolio of work; please feel free to browse when you have a spare moment.

https://philipmowbray.picfair.com (insert your website link or if it's a specific collection, the relevant page here)

Thank you for your time, and
I hope you enjoy viewing the collection. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. All of my contact details are listed below.

Best wishes,
Philip

_

(Insert contact details like email and telephone number here)

Follow up

If you haven’t heard back from your prospective customer, don’t hesitate to get back in touch with a polite email. For example, you could forward the original email with a note saying, “Just wanted to make sure this reached you”.

If you don’t hear anything back, or your customer gets back in touch to tell you they aren’t interested at this time, don’t worry; there are plenty more customers waiting there. You’ll also likely find that a customer’s need for images is never immediate; however, if they have you in mind, they could well come to you when they need photographs.

If you haven’t heard back from your prospective customer, don’t hesitate to get back in touch... Forward the original email with a note saying, “Just wanted to make sure this reached you”.

Some Dos and Don’ts:

Do:

-
Be to the point - don’t send emails that are too lengthy at first contact
- Make sure what you’re sending to your potential customer is relevant to them

- Be polite, respectful and friendly - first impressions are super important, and you want
- Check all links, spelling and grammar

Don’t:

- Pester or chase too much - this is hugely offputting

- Take rejection to heart; there are plenty more customers out there
- Be rude or unprofessional - buyers talk, and it could harm your reputation in the long run

Final thoughts and notes

I hope you find the above advice helpful in creating future customer emails. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and over time you’ll likely find your way of composing emails that work best for you.

Always be polite, professional, and diligent and do not take rejection to heart - at some point, you will find a customer who is the right fit for your photography business.