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Client galleries can be a massive income source for many photographers, often exceeding session fees, and why choosing a good client photo gallery platform like Sunshine Photo Cart is important to help you maximize your revenue. There are two ways you can increase revenue in your photography business: Get more clients or make more from each client.

Many people believe email is a dying marketing channel and it's all about social. I'm happy to say that email is still the most effective channel for business marketing. This is why I made the automated email marketing add-on that Sunshine Photo Cart has available to help photographers like you make more money from each client to increase your overall revenue.

What is email marketing?

Standard email marketing is pretty simple: Have customers willingly provide their email address (only send to those who have given permission!) and send them emails with information they will find useful related to your business. You're likely on many email marketing lists and receive regular emails about upcoming sales and promos from the companies you have subscribed to. Email marketing helps you stay in front of your customers who may not have been to your website in a while. Photographers can often use email marketing to send notices of special session fees or upcoming holiday events, like Christmas, to remind people about doing a new session.

What is automated email marketing?

Automated email marketing is a more advanced and efficient approach compared to standard email marketing. While standard email marketing typically relies on manual efforts to create, send, and manage email campaigns, automated email marketing happens based on specific triggers which you have created. It can also be personalized based on the event that triggered the action to help engage users more effectively. A few examples of automated email triggers from our add-on include:

  • 3 days before a gallery expires and user has not yet purchased from a gallery
  • 4 hours after adding an item to cart but customer has not yet completed a purchase
  • 2 days after adding images to favorites
  • 4 hours after adding item to cart but has not yet ordered
  • 5 days after a successful order

In each of these examples, you can set up an automated way to help guide your customer to complete a purchase they may have become distracted from. You can then craft a specific email based on the trigger to remind the customer to complete their purchase.

How do you grow your list?

In order to send automated emails, you need to have email addresses to send to - pretty obvious, yes? Sunshine helps build an internal list in a couple of ways:

  • Require email to access a gallery: One of the options when creating galleries in Sunshine Photo Cart is to require a user enter their email address before being allowed to access a gallery. This email address is then saved and available to send to when a trigger matches their behavior.
  • Private Galleries: You can make a gallery private and only available to specific users accounts that have an email address associated with them.
  • Checkout: At checkout, an email address is a required field (so Sunshine can communicate with them about their order) but also be used to trigger automated emails. Sunshine’s efficient checkout grabs user email addresses for guest and logged in users at the very start to help get them into the automated email process as soon as possible.

How do you help convince a user to buy from an automated email?

Email marketing is only as good as the information that is sent and how useful a customer may find it. Crafting automated emails for your photography customers, however, can be pretty easy, especially with Sunshine Photo Cart.

  • Match content to the trigger: If you set up a trigger that sends 3 days after a user has added some images to their favorites, a great subject would be something like "You picked some great photos, don't forget to purchase them!" In the email itself, Sunshine allows you to include thumbnails of the images they have selected with a link to the Favorites page on your site where they can quickly and easily add to cart and purchase.
  • Include a discount: Sunshine also allows you to create a custom discount code that is only created for that specific user and triggered email. If you had an automated email that sends 1 day before their gallery expires, adding a discount code giving them a little off their order can help push the customer over the edge on their decision to finally make that purchase.

Ensure email deliverability

While Sunshine sends the email, it cannot guarantee it makes it to your customer's inbox. Two most important factors in helping to ensure email deliverability are using a quality sending system and ensuring your email does not look like spam.

Quality email sending system

Most web hosts can send emails from your website anywhere and it works just fine for low volume. It is often reliable and nothing needs additional configuration on your part. However, it is recommended to check in with customers to ensure they are actually receiving emails being sent from your website, such as order receipts. You can also confirm this is working with your own website contact forms or order notification emails Sunshine sends and that you are receiving those emails in your inbox.

If email deliverability is an issue, I recommend using a 3rd party email sending system. My preferred recommendation is SendGrid and you can learn more from our documentation article about ensuring email deliverability.

Prevent emails from ending up in spam

On the technical side, it is important the "From" email address of the email matches your domain name. For example, if your website is, then the email should come from [whatever] and not Having an email that matches your domain will significantly help prevent emails from going into spam.

As for content, it is recommended to avoid common spam wording like SUBJECTS IN ALL CAPS or excessive exclamation points!!!!

Use automated email marketing for more sales in your client galleries

Email marketing is an incredibly effective selling tool for photographers. Automate it and you can literally reach out to your customers and make new sales in your sleep! I believe the Automated Email Marketing add-on for Sunshine Photo Cart is the most effective tool to help photographers increase their income.

Derek Ashauer
Derek Ashauer, developer of the Sunshine Photo Cart WordPress plugin, has dedicated over 10 years to developing and supporting this effective tool for photographers. His expertise in the WordPress platform extends beyond this plugin with over 15 years of experience in building client sites. Derek's work centers on enhancing the functionality and profitability of client galleries for photographers, showcasing his commitment to supporting their business growth.