Online marketing for photographers y Shotkit

Online Marketing for Photographers

A free guide to online marketing for photographers. Effective tips, techniques and tools that will help book your next photography client in record time.

Business Guides | Learn | By Mark Condon | Last Updated: October 13, 2023

These days our success as professional photographers seems to depend less on our artistic talent, and more on our ability to market our businesses well. It’s with this in mind that I created this post on online marketing for photographers.

Marketing for photographers has always been very important, whether using the Internet to find your next client, or by more traditional offline methods.

Today, we are fortunate enough to have access to an array of online marketing tools and techniques which we can use to our advantage.

Online marketing consists of various strategies, including search engine optimisation, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing and more.

All of these things can have a huge impact on when running or starting a photography business.

Book more weddings using online marketing

Through a lot of experimentation I’m finally having success with lead generation for my photography work. The techniques I’m using are all detailed in More Brides.

Online Marketing for Photographers

As online marketing is such a huge topic, I’ve chosen to focus on a small handful of online marketing techniques for photographers in this post.

I’ll be pulling examples from various photographers’ websites, my own website, and even from this Shotkit blog. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to get leads for wedding photography or just tips for online photography marketing, this is the guide for you.

As a side-note, you’ll obviously need your own website to be able to implement these techniques – check out my guide on how to start a photography blog to get your site online within 15 minutes.

If you’re interested in learning ways to use SEO for Photographers and many other Internet marketing techniques to grow your photography business, check out More Brides, a product aimed at wedding photographers but useful for all photographers who want to rapidly grow their business.

Book more weddings

Lead Generation

The primary goal of online marketing for photographers is usually to market your services as a photographer. To achieve this goal, you need to have ‘leads’, i.e. potential clients.

‘Leads’ can just mean people you meet, but since we’re dealing with online marketing here, leads equals email addresses. The process of getting these email addresses is known as lead generation.

Generating new photographer leads is the bread and butter of internet marketing for photographers. The more you know about how to get photography leads, the better your business will be whether you do engagement shoots or you’re selling photography expeditions.

Email marketing for photographers

One effective way to collect new leads is via an online gallery software such as ShootProof. Read how to set this up here.

Unless a visitor to your website is intent on contacting you, he or she will leave your site, potentially to never return. This is why it’s important to capture the lead, giving you the option to market to the lead in the future.

Having a lead is like having a second chance to convert someone into your client.

The most basic lead generation tool is a ‘lead capture form’ placed on your photography website. This consists of a space (usually a sidebar widget) that asks website visitors to enter their name and/or email address.

While it would be great if we could get free photography leads with just a capture form, sometimes us photographers need to sweeten the deal by motivating people to enter their email.

Newsletters & Updates

Obviously you need to give the website visitor a reason to enter their email address. The most basic lead capture forms offer a newsletter  in exchange for an email address.

You’ve probably seen them before on most online blogs these days:

Online marketing

Example from the Stuck in Customs site

Depending on the quality of your website content and the amount of traffic you receive, this approach is usually rather ineffective. To put it bluntly, when was the last time you entered your email to join a newsletter?

When it comes to inbound marketing for photographers, there’s just more effective strategies.

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Put yourself in the website visitor’s shoes – are you really offering them any good reason to subscribe to your photography website, other than to look at the odd blog post each month?

Even if you’re providing great content that’s over and above the regular photographer, simply offering your visitors the chance to receive a newsletter isn’t particularly alluring.

With that said, these newsletter capture forms are very easy to implement and maintain. It might not get you many leads for photographers, but it still has a roll to play in marketing for wedding photographers.

Lead Magnets

Enter the lead magnet. A ‘lead magnet’ is designed to attract a lead, enticing them to enter their email address in exchange for something of (perceived) value.

As a photographer, here are some examples of content you could write, then offer in PDF form (or as a hidden link on your website) as a lead magnet:

– “A simple guide to using your camera”

– “How to pose to look awesome in photos”

– “10 great photography venues for weddings”

– “Flattering clothes to wear for portrait sessions”

– “6 Tips to get the most from your newborn photography session”


Examples of lead magnets used by Shoot Dot Edit

Examples of lead magnets used by Shoot Dot Edit

If you don’t have time to write the content yourself, there are many affordable writers who’ll do the work for you (Fiverr, Hire Writers, etc.)

Try thinking outside the box for these lead magnets for photographers. There are hundreds of guides to the exposure triangle, so how can you make yours stand out?

Here are some more quick lead magnet ideas for photographers: Lightroom presets, LUTs, or even links to video guides.


If preparing content to create a lead magnet seems like too much work, another great technique to generate more leads is via a giveaway. You could offer a free portrait session, or a free album as the prize perhaps.

“Enter your email address to win a family photo session worth $800!” is a much stronger sales pitch than simply saying “Enter your email address to receive my newsletter.”

Once you can measure the return on investment of your giveaway (i.e. how much you earn vs how much you spend), you can even start buying products with the sole intent of giving them away.

You may find that spending $500 on a camera to give away is worth it for the thousands of dollars worth of weddings you book via the new leads generated.

No matter what you choose as your prize, I recommend the giveaway tool Gleam. Gleam allows you to encourage the user to complete various actions to earn more entries. I use it for the monthly giveaways here on Shotkit.


Running this giveaway via Gleam allowed me to generate lots of new leads for my photography business as well as grow my Instagram audience.

Setting up Gleam for the first time can be a little daunting, but I explain the exact steps to set up an effective giveaway which can generate hundreds of leads whilst growing your social media audiences in More Brides.

I also show you a sneaky way to bypass Facebook’s Like gating rules to encourage users to Like your photography business page in exchange for an entry into the giveaway.

Your giveaway doesn’t have to be a full family photoshoot. You can improve your lead generation for photographers with giveaway ideas like a wedding announcement photo, business or social media profile pic shoots, or something else related to your target market.

If your photography lead generation starts to stagnate, you can always mix things up. You can hire external marketing companies to serve as photography lead services, improve your SEO and content marketing for photographers, or draw in new wedding photography leads by expanding your social media presence.

Lead Capture

Now that we have given your visitor a reason to enter their email address, the next step in online marketing for photographers is lead capture.

As mentioned above, the most basic lead capture method is the humble sidebar sign up form widget. If you’re using a WordPress site (see my guide on how to build a WordPress site), adding a side bar widget is simple. However, not all photographers want a sidebar on their website.

Another basic option is to include the lead capture form in your blog post content, most often above the footer of each post.

The footer opt in form on Robert J Hill's website

The footer opt in form on Robert J Hill’s site

These two methods are fine, but they’re also rather ineffective too. After all, the majority of blogs you’ll come across will have sign up forms in these locations too, and you’ve no doubt become blind to them. Your website visitors will probably not notice them either.

One way to quickly test exactly where your visitors are clicking on your site is to use a Heat Map.

Sumo Me offers the best free Heat Mapping tool I’ve used, and it can help you decide on new placement, wording, colours and other factors that may affect your conversion rates.

Heat maps for websites

I noticed hat no one was clicking ‘Newsletter’ in my menu bar, so I changed the wording to JOIN.

Tools like heat maps are an essential part of photography website marketing. They let you see things behind the scenes and give you more insight into how people interact with your website.

If you’d like to learn how to capture more leads using your website, I explain some simple but powerful techniques in More Brides.

Here are some other ways to display your sign up forms and other messages on your photography site. 

1. The Header Bar

Also known as welcome bars, ribbons and smart bars, the header bar is a ‘sticky’ strip that sits at the top or the bottom of your webpage. It stays in place when the user scrolls down your page, meaning it’s always visible.

There are several free tools for you to create a header bar. I’ve tested Sumo Me, Thrive Leads and others, but have settled on a tool called Hello Bar, which is the best in my opinion. You can often see see me using one here on Shotkit.

Hello Bar allows you to create an attractive lead capture form very easily. You also have the option to use Hello Bar to display a message, or even a Facebook Like button.

Here’s how I’m currently using my Hello Bar on my photography site, to create some urgency amongst my clients:

Online marketing for photographers - Hello Bar

Example from the Gold Hat Photography site

2. The Pop Up

Pop ups are messages that appear when you visit certain websites, obscuring the content beneath them.

Pop ups are a sensitive topic among online marketers since they can cause annoyance to website visitors, but one thing’s for sure – done well, pop ups can really help with your lead generation.

I’d advise you to use pop ups with caution on your photography website. A worst case scenario would be scaring off a potential client, so you need to be sure that whatever your pop up is offering is genuinely useful to your website visitor.

Pop ups also to load quickly and be beautifully designed, in keeping with the rest of your branding, otherwise it will resemble spam.

The pop up on Ben Sasso's site is in keeping with his branding.

The pop up on Ben Sasso’s site is in keeping with his branding.

I’d also advise you to only show your pop up once to each visitor. I use an excellent WordPress plugin called Thrive Leads which allows me to do this. Even better, Thrive Leads allows me to only show the pop up (and all other sign up forms) to users who haven’t entered their email address.

This is a great feature, and it means that I don’t annoy anyone who has already claimed whatever it is I’m offering by showing the same message over and over.

Thrive Leads also allows me to show a completely different message to my ‘subscribers’ than the one I show to visitors who haven’t yet provided an email address. Consider this a basic step in email marketing for photographers.

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Internet marketing for photographers

The Thrive Leads ‘Already Subscribed’ state allows you to create a custom message for your subscribers, or simply show nothing at all.

Again, there are many pop up tools available, but I highly recommend Thrive Leads for this task. If you’re after a free option to test the waters, SumoMe is good, but rather limited when compared to Thrive Leads.

The timing of your pop up is another sensitive topic. Pop ups can be triggered when a user enters your site; spends X amount of time on a page; scrolls to X% of a post, tries to exit your site… there are many variables for you to test, and thank fully Thrive Leads makes this easy.

Then there’s the ‘multi-step’ opt in form pop up which only appears when the user clicks some text or a button.

The psychology behind this suggests that the user is more likely to continue with an action if he/she has completed one voluntary action immediately before.

3. The Landing Page

When discussing landing pages within the realm of online marketing for photographersa landing page is a standalone web page separate from your main photography website, that has been designed for a single focused objective – collecting leads.

Landing pages are usually used in conjunction with advertising campaigns, such as Facebook ads.

I discuss the set up of a complete Facebook ad campaign including the use of a targeted landing page to book destination weddings in More Brides.

For the purposes of this post though, I’ll assume you know what you’re doing, and just say that a landing page can be hugely beneficial to your online marketing efforts.

landing page for photographers

Example of a landing page created in Thrive Landing Pages in a couple of minutes.

Separating your landing page from the distractions of the rest of your site is an effective way to focus the visitor’s attention, guiding them to your call to action (i.e. your “contact me” button).

I haven’t come across any decent landing page tools that are free. If you’re willing to invest some money into it though, I recommend the Thrive Landing Pages plugin, which is simple to use and provides many pre-made templates.

More Online Marketing Techniques for Photographers

I’ve only scratched the surface of the topic of online marketing for photographers. Search engine optimisation, content marketing, retargeting, social media marketing, email marketing and much more – they’re all big topics with so much potential to help grow your photography business.

You could try a photography leads website or try wedding photography advertising in your local area. You’ve got plenty of tools at your fingertips for wedding photographer marketing, but the tried and true way of learning digital marketing tips for wedding photographers is to learn directly from experienced wedding photographers.

I have lots more advice on both online and offline marketing techniques for photographers, so if you’re interested in gaining more leads to grow your online business, be sure to check out More Brides where I go into much more detail.

Book More Brides

More Brides is 180 pages of tactics and tips to book more weddings. Advice on SEO, social media and other online practices are also useful to other genres of photographer wishing to rapidly grow their business.

I’ve tried to keep More Brides as non-technical as possible, whilst cramming it with all my know-how from 7+ years of experience in the online marketing industry, as well as things I’ve learned from world-class photographers and marketers.

It’s an approachable book for anyone looking to boost their wedding photography lead generation or even for someone who wants strong tips for general digital marketing for photographers.

Most importantly, the techniques included in More Brides are those which are having the biggest impact on my own wedding photography business.

Book more weddings using online marketing

Through a lot of experimentation I’m finally getting results with lead generation for my photography work. The techniques I’m using are all detailed in More Brides.

Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve implemented the most effective out-of-the-box techniques that consistently attract more photography leads, and I’m confident that they will work for you too.

Whether you decide to purchase a copy of More Brides or not, I hope this post on online marketing for photographers has given you something to think about.

Leave us a comment with your best tips on online marketing for photographers below, and I wish you the best of luck in booking your next client!

Book more weddings

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  1. Carine Bea on October 6, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Great article!! Thanks X

  2. Lee on September 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Hi, Mark, thats all very interesting – but what about photographers that want to increase their business, but don’t want to offer give aways on their site, PDF’s, or other ‘advice’ that may, or may not be directly linked to potential clients? Also, website visitors are ‘global’. What is the point of capturing someone’s email address if they live in a different state, or country? Unless of course you are trying to sell a PDF for example? Thanks.

    • Mark on September 26, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      Hey Lee. If you want to increase your business without using this kind of online marketing, there are lots more ways, both on and offline. I go into a few of them in More Brides, and offer ideas on how to segregate your marketing efforts to target particular countries. Also, regarding your question about a global audience, it’s safe to assume that unless your work is truly world-famous, the majority of your audience should be your local market (assuming your SEO/site content is localised), or at least, the same country. Either way, I don’t think it’s detrimental to have enquiries from elsewhere in the world. A lead in the US will have friends in the UK etc etc

  3. Mamad on September 8, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Some awesome tips and recommendations for plug-ins etc.
    I’m also very tempted by your book Mark ;)
    Especially as it’s tax deductible!

    • Mark on September 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      If you found this useful, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of the book Mamad :-)

  4. Beth Grimes on July 14, 2016 at 3:48 am

    I see how effectively you use your own advice. Well done. I’m buying your book. ha.

    • Mark on July 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

      haha I hope I don’t come across as too slimy! :p Thanks for your support, Beth.

  5. Tarik on July 13, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Great article Mark, thanks for sharing.

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