Samples of Professional Email Writing for Better Photography Client Relationships

Samples of Professional Email Writing for Better Photography Client Relationships

I'll start by saying that I have never been a good writer. Words never came naturally to me, and this became a huge problem when I started having to reply to work emails. However, I worked on it and can now share my best email templates with you.

Emails from potential clients would come, and because of my huge desire to get the jobs, I would find myself only wanting to send professional-sounding and properly thought-out replies. However, because I would be unable to come up with something satisfactory on the spot, I ended up postponing my replies. So, not only did I not have a satisfactory reply, I now had no reply. Awesome! This would lead to delayed responses that sometimes would be pushed back so long that another photographer was chosen for the job. Unsatisfactory reply, no reply at all, no job. Double awesome! It's all very silly. Sometimes, all I wanted to write was just: "Hire me!!"

I only started improving when my then boyfriend and now husband started helping me out. He's constantly replying to emails as part of his job, so it comes easily to him. Triple awesome (this time without the sarcasm)!

There are already many articles out there giving tips on the how-to and etiquette when writing these emails. However, most of the time, my main issue is actually stringing them into proper, professional-sounding phrases. So, here are some easy samples that you can easily rephrase and tweak for your own usage!

Are these all perfect? Probably not. Are they a good starting point? Probably. Should you use them verbatim? No! Should you use them to start finding your own voice and style? Absolutely! Have they been working for me? Definitely.

Sample Emails

Introduction to a Company You Would Like to Work With

Hello (person),

I am a (country- based (genre) photographer and I'm reaching out to you in hopes of discussing a possible opportunity to work on a shoot together in the future. I don’t know whether you have any immediate projects or rather some coming up in the future, but nonetheless, I’d love to hear from you so that we can establish a line of communication and see where things go from there.   

I've shot for (accomplishments). You can check out my work here:

(website)

As mentioned, whether you have projects coming up immediately or further down the line, it would be great to have a discussion and establish a relationship so that we can hopefully find some synergy together.  

Thank you!

Follow-Up Email When There Is No Reply

Hello,

I hope it’s no bother, but as I haven't heard from you regarding my below email, I just wanted to follow up.

Would love to hear from you about any collaborative opportunities that there may be between us. If you need any more information from my side, just let me know, and I’ll send that over for your review.

Thank you!

Follow-Up Email When There Has Been a Reply but Client Goes Silent

Hello,

I hope its no bother but I just wanted to touch base with you on the below. 

I realize December can be hectic, so no worries if you're too busy at the moment. I hope to hear from you soon, but either way, I've made a note to touch base with you again during the first week of January!

-or-

I hope 2018 is off to a rocking start for you / your week has been going well / you enjoyed your weekend.

I definitely don't mean to pester you, but I am still very much looking forward to working with (company). When would be a good time to catch up on all this?

Shall we set up a call or a coffee? 

Thank you!

Follow-Up Email Months Down the Road When You Have New Work

Hello,

I hope all is well since we last spoke!

Earlier this year, I (updates on new work). I wanted to use this opportunity to get back in touch with you to share all the recent updates to my portfolio, which you can find at (website).

It’s been a really exciting few months on my side with (other update), and I was also recently awarded (any competition you might have won).

Would be great to find some projects we can collaborate on, so if there is anything you have in mind or anything you would like me to brainstorm around, please let me know.

I have also attached my recent (new work) for easy reference.

Looking forward to hearing from you! 

Replying to an Email Inquiry From a Big Client

Hello,

Pleasure to be in touch!

My schedule is currently available for the project dates and I'm definitely excited by the brief, so if you do end up selecting me, it would be a real honor to work on this project.

I would be looking at a total fee of (rate) for the shoot. That said, depending on the needs and expectations, I am open to reviewing that figure if necessary.

Replying a Client Who Asks "What's Your Rate?" With No Other Details, Leaving You With More Questions Than Answers

Sometimes, when a client asks a very vague question, I end up with more questions than answers.

For example, if the clients asks "what is your rate for a photoshoot for my designs," instead of having a huge paragraph filled with questions like "How many outfits? Is this a campaign or lookbook shoot? Are you looking for a half-day rate?" you can put them out in a list form, keeping the email looking neat and professional.

Hello,

Thank you for your email and interest in my services!

Before I can give you a suitable quote, I'll need to know a couple of things:

- How many images are you looking at?

- Do you have reference photos for what you're looking for?

- Do you have a makeup artist and model in mind?

- What's your budget?

- Where will be the photos used and for how long?

Please let me know!

Thank you!

Replying "No Thank You" to a Low-Budget Client Without Burning Bridges

Hello,

Thank you so much for your email. I would love to work with you, but I'm not sure I can pull off what you are looking for based on the budget you are proposing. I’d rather respectfully turn down the project than overpromise and fail to deliver. I hope you can respect that! Nonetheless, please keep in touch as I’d love to see if we can work together in the future!

Thank you!

Replying to a Client Who Is Going With Another Photographer

Hello,

Needless to say that it's a disappointment as I was looking forward to working with you.
Nonetheless, I hope we get another opportunity together in the future. Please reach out anytime.

Thank you!

Pay Me Round One

Hello,

The images have been sent over and I hope you like them as much as I do. I have also sent the invoice over. If you could let me know when it has been processed, that would be hugely appreciated!

Do let me know if you need any other details.

Pay Me Round Two

Hello,

Would like to check if there are any updates regarding the payment. The invoice was sent (duration) back. 

Pay Me Round Three

Hello,

I'm following up again on the unpaid invoice. 

Unfortunately, I haven't heard from you at all either via email or phone. If I don't hear from you with any kind of an update, then I'm really being left with no choice but to share this experience with my lawyers. 

I'm happy to work out some kind of payment schedule with you, but complete silence is somewhat tying my hands and leaving with me with no option apart from what I mentioned above.

I hope you find these samples useful! If you think this won’t work and you prefer to really try “Hire me! Pay me!”, by all means, go ahead. I'm not that brave, though, so I tend to stick to the above! 

Lead image by Pixabay user 27707, used under Creative Commons.

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21 Comments

Bryce Booth's picture

Article begins with "never been a good writing" ;)
Otherwise, I enjoyed it. Thank you.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Well just in case anyone thought I was lying :) :P

DJ Toman's picture

These are very helpful, not just for the actual content, but also for the big picture of the types of correspondence a pro photog should be on top of.

Can't resist the irony of this, however:
"I'll start by saying that I have never been a good writing."

Maybe fstoppers has never been a good editing.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Make write article very hard :P

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the legible parts of the article!

Interesting article. Unfortunately quite a few errors. For example: "Where will be the photos used and for how long?"

And style that could be better: "how many photos are you looking at" should be: "how many pictures are you looking for"

"Hugely appreciated" I am not shure this even exists. "Greatly appreciated" would be better in my opinion.

Quite a few more things could be better.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Ouch! All very valid observations. Thank you! Ill be more mindful next time.

Im glad that my photo editing is better than my article editing haha :)

Rex Larsen's picture

Always carefully edit articles about writing or use the Fstoppers copy editors. They do have editors, right ?

Shavonne Wong's picture

Can I get away with claiming that my mistakes here were strategically placed to prove my lack of writing strength? No? Too bad :(

Thanks for the comment! Ill aim to be more mindful in the future :)

Alric Farmer's picture

Thank you for this article and samples Shavonne. I don't mind the errors. I would imagine that these are guidelines and that if we are to use it, we should tweak it to our own language style. Otherwise the client that shops around will get the same copy and paste replies. I will defiantly use them and save them as signatures that way I can pick which reply to give without typing much.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Thanks for the reply! Glad you got some value out of this! :)

Definitely was not advocating that everyone just copy & paste as I agree that would look pretty cheesy to potential clients. We all need to find our own voice as otherwise our messages and emails just won't feel particularly authentic. I guess my objective with this article was just to give some guidance and motivation to get everyone started in case people are experiencing some of the same difficulties that I am.

When it comes to getting an answer to a client who went silent there is no better email than this one-liner.
"Hello, Did you give up on the project ? Thanks."

Tell me you can resist to answer that one when it's in your inbox ! You just can't help but answering it ... unless it's VERY BAD.

Tony Clark's picture

Those responses would give me the impression that you are a bit desperate. My basic rules are to be positive and leave the conversation after two notes because if they have work for you, they will reach out. Otherwise, they either don't have the budget or you don't fit their needs. Large Corporation or small business means little, why would you tell them, "it would be an honor to work with them"? How can they respect you after that statement?

Shavonne Wong's picture

First of all I would say there is no one size fits all approach. Everyone has their own flavour and preferences.

That said I do not think that follow ups are a sign of desperation. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you look at it from the perspective of the health of the industry) we work in a very competitive space so ensuring that our clients and our prospects are familiar with us and remember us is very much inline with the end goal of every creative.

Furthermore I would say it is not the responsibility of the client or prospect to reach out to us if and when they need. I respect the fact that the people I am trying to work with are busy, have other people chasing them and do not necessarily spend their days thinking about me or my portfolio. I take it upon myself to ensure that the line of communication remains open and I think that as long as its done in a respectful, professional and reasonable way that it can go a long way in terms of achieving the desired results.

Andy Kazachkov's picture

Shavonne, thank you!

Thanks Savonne, this is very helpful to me.

Good article. Many creatives have never worked in a corporate environment and from I've seen that fact shows in communication.

Anonymous's picture

I note there are a few pedants here who are being critical of the content, and it is deserving of observation that 'tone' is far more important than technical perfection.

At the end of the day, THE most important thing in the generation and retention of clients (at least as a creative) is that they like you.

Anonymous's picture

I want to see some fail emails... i.e. live examples of what NOT to do!

Anonymous's picture

A tip from the world of project management regarding the "no thank you low budget" email, ALWAYS offer an alternative option. Even if it is a little ridiculous, it will help.

Give an indication what their budget will buy them. Most stakeholders don't really know what their money will buy them and what effort goes into delivering a piece of work.

It also shows that you are a proactive partner in their endeavour, you are thinking of a number of ways to fulfill their requirements, ease pressure on the bottom line and trying to give them what they really need.

mark mil's picture

Thanks! Helpful. No point in reinventing the wheel!

Hi! So glad you enjoyed the article, that’s very big praise coming from a writer! Excellent tip about reading what you’ve written out loud, I use that trick often and it definitely helps! https://avastsupportnumber.co.uk/blog/fix-avast-error-7005/
So glad I’m not alone in loving the exclamation mark!! :)