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Six Reasons You’re Losing Money As A Photographer – And How to Fix Them!

9 min read

Do you feel overworked and underpaid? Did you get into photography to take pictures, not to be a salesperson? There are six basic photography business mistakes costing you money, and we have the solutions for you! Get ready to transform your business. And your bottom line.

You’re only offering digitals (and including them with your session fee)

Clients think they want digitals because that’s the only thing they know how to ask for. You can show them a better way — a world where their photos aren’t merely thrown into a drawer on a USB, but are shared and featured prominently in their homes. A world of high-quality, professional prints and other photo lab products. And you should educate clients about this world at the beginning of your relationship.

Whether a client’s first interaction with you happens on your website or in a conversation, print products should be a part of it.

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How can you get print products in front of clients before their session? 

  • Outline product options in your client welcome packet
  • Feature finished product examples on your website
  • Create a gallery of photos of finished products and make it public so it appears on your portfolio website

When you showcase the signature products you offer with compelling imagery and thoughtful descriptions, your clients will understand that they are working with a photographer who specializes in creating high-quality heirloom products.

Clients will enter the sales session with the right mindset to choose art for their home, not just a USB full of images to be tossed in a drawer, likely never to be seen again.3 reasons you're losing moneyYou’re not guiding them through the process and incentivizing them to complete their order

When your client first receives their gallery of beautiful images, they’re excited and can’t wait to start displaying them on their walls, sharing them on social media, and sending gift prints to grandparents. With every passing day, the excitement lessens. 

Make the process seamless (and speedy) by guiding them through the sale with product suggestions and incentivizing timely purchase with a $100 credit (or a free 8×10, etc.) towards orders placed within 2 weeks. You can use a custom trigger-based email campaign to remind clients to place orders by sending them an email one week, 4 days, and one day before gallery expiration.

You’re not following up with an abandoned cart email

By enabling the automatic abandoned cart email on your galleries, you can recover THOUSANDS of lost dollars, virtually effort-free. How’s that possible? Well, for starters, it’s because these emails get opened.

Abandoned cart emails have an average open rate of 45%, while most marketing emails average a  17% open rate. 

And while just 2% of marketing emails get clicks, the click-through-rate of abandoned cart emails is 21%, with 50% of those clicks continuing on to complete their purchase!

As you can see, these emails work! And to make them work for you, simply add this Gallery Setting to your Gallery Presets, or use Bulk Actions to enable it for existing galleries

Get clients. Get paid. Get happy.

You’re not using automated email campaigns

Email campaigns empower your sales and auto-send according to your unique schedule. What kinds of automated campaigns can you run? That’s up to you!

ShootProof offers 3 types of email campaigns:

  • ShootProof Email Campaigns: This is a series of emails, based on photography genre, pre-written and scheduled to send based on gallery expiration dates. 
  • Custom Trigger-Based Email Campaigns: This allows you to schedule emails to send based on a certain number of days before or after certain gallery dates, like Expiration Date, Gallery Release Date, or Order Due date. 
  • Custom Date-Based Email Campaigns: This allows you to choose specific dates to automatically send emails. These work best for special occasions like anniversaries or holidays, where each email can be scheduled to send on a specific date. 

Use a date-based email campaign to run a promo

Run a flash sale promotion or BOGO discount using a date-based email campaign that goes out x days after gallery delivery, where clients get a popular item free with the purchase of a bigger-ticket item. For example: Get a free 5×7 gift print when you buy a canvas that’s 24” x 30” or larger. The goal is to encourage a larger sale without diminishing the value of any of your products. Keep the “Get One” item small.

Bonus: You can include archived galleries in your flash sale by temporarily unarchiving them so those clients can purchase.

Use a trigger-based email campaign to send reminders

Reminder emails are a fantastic way to encourage your gallery visitors to purchase. Keep each reminder email short, sweet and lighthearted. Here’s a suggested cadence to get you started:

First Reminder Email 

Send your first reminder email four weeks before the gallery expires to all gallery visitors reminding them of the products available to them. This email prompts purchasing from those early gallery visitors who excitedly put items in their cart, then forgot about them, and anyone who’s visited the gallery.

Second Reminder Email

Send a second reminder email two weeks before the gallery expires. This one grabs the attention of anyone who has added items to their cart since the first email. It also serves as a reminder to those first email recipients who still haven’t ordered the items already in their cart.

Third Reminder Email

Send a final reminder email three days before the gallery is set to expire. It’s a “last chance” email that helps nudge customers across the sales finish line, and encourages repeat buyers to make additional purchases. 

Depending on the client, reminder emails can generate thousands in additional print sales!

You’re not upselling custom photo cards with every session

Why should you offer cards to your clients? Not only do they make a great upsell and increase your referral marketing — they help check the box for clients whose annual card-sending tradition might otherwise leave them buying elsewhere. Remember to add your studio name to the back and viola: Instant organic marketing!

ShootProof photographers can offer custom photo cards with a card builder tool directly through their galleries when using a WHCC price sheet.

WHCC holiday cardYou’re not pricing your digital and print products correctly

When it comes to running a photography business, most of us agree pricing is one of the most difficult obstacles to conquer. Charge too little and you’ll soon suffer burnout, while not earning the income to justify your hours of work. Charge too much and you won’t book enough sessions to create a truly sustainable business. 

Pricing your photography can feel like guesswork until you know your numbers. Begin your pricing journey by establishing:

Need help? We’ve got you covered! We’ve created data-driven guidelines so you can price your prints based on facts. Learn more about photographer print pricing and pricing tips from experts.

Go forth and increase your photography business revenue!

Now that you know the strategies to add to your business’ toolkit, the time to implement them is now. Get your ShootProof account set up to sell! 


Wondering about fees? ShootProof never charges a commission on your photo or product sales — ever. 

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Our photographers have made: $610,150,694

Commission we’ve taken: $0

Header Photo by Elena Blair



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