Holiday online selling checklist for photographers.

November 3rd, 2023
man holding woman by the hand and twirling her on path in a redwood forest

The holiday season is just around the corner, and for photographers, it’s not only a time of seasonal photo shoots and festive cheer. It’s also a prime opportunity to boost your online sales. With a little preparation, you can make the most of this bustling period and increase your revenue. In this article, we’ll walk you through essential steps to get your photography business ready for holiday online selling.

1. Preparing your website.

Your website is your digital storefront, and it should be welcoming and easy to navigate. Here’s how to ensure your website is holiday-ready:

Website review

Preparing your holiday online sale should start with a thorough review of your website, and make important updates. Take a close look at your portfolio to make sure it reflects your style, shows consistency, and that your best work is featured. Your website is your visual resume, so make sure it shows the style of work you most want to shoot. Update images as needed and make sure your site is mobile-friendly to keep shoppers on the go.

Clear wording

Clarity in your website’s text and wording is essential. Make sure your services and offerings are described in a way that’s easy for visitors to understand. Clearly highlight holiday discounts and special offers by referring to them on your homepage and using banners in your selling galleries so potential customers don’t miss out on holiday deals. 

Easy information

Information on bookings, holiday discounts, and how to buy photo gifts and fine art prints should be easily available. Streamline the user journey by prominently placing the important information on a FAQ or other information-centric page in the menu on your website. Users should be able to find what they are looking for without frustration. 

Clear navigation

Make your website navigation intuitive. Create clear pathways to different user intents with your site menu options and strategically placed call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Whether your visitors want to book a session or buy holiday gifts, guide them seamlessly through your website with easy navigation.

2. Create a selling checklist. 

Start your checklist by carefully reviewing your pricing to ensure you have enough profit to offer any holiday discounts you have planned, and look over the product offerings in your price lists. Consider creating a special seasonal price list tailored to your customers’ holiday shopping needs, so that you can quickly change between your standard and seasonal price lists in future. This special price list should include seasonal items like greeting cards and photo gifts in this list. By offering a diverse range of products, you can cater to different customer preferences this holiday season. 

Highlight popular products that shoppers appreciate this holiday season. Albums, mugs, prints in various formats and holiday cards often top the list of coveted items. Make sure these products feature prominently in your price lists to catch the attention of potential buyers. Price Lists control the products that are offered for sale to your clients. If you are a Zenfolio PortfolioPlus or ProSuite subscriber, you can even duplicate your usual price lists and add seasonal products in just a few steps.

Integrate enough profit into items.

While offering discounts during events like Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday may attract more customers, it’s crucial to ensure that your pricing maintains a healthy profit margin. Review your pricing structure to ensure that the integrated profit is sufficient to continue generating revenue even with discounts. The key is finding the right balance between customer appeal and profitability.

Boost your holiday sales by creating special bundles of popular items. These packages can add value to customers and encourage them to make larger purchases. Consider offering a mix of bundles that include items like prints, mini-albums, and photo gifts. Review your most popular products and the ones you’d like to sell more of, then get creative. You could bundle popular products, or have themes like “Wall Art Package” with framed art or canvases in various sizes and a “Memories On the Go” package with small giftables like pocket-sized albums, wallets, mugs, and keychains. This can streamline the decision-making process for customers and increase average order value. 

Communicate processing and shipping times.

Meeting delivery deadlines is crucial during the holiday season. Check the shipping deadlines of your chosen print lab to ensure that you can fulfill orders in a timely manner. Knowing when to order is important to ensure delivery before Christmas. To help you with this, utilize tools like a shipping calculator, which provides delivery time estimates based upon the integrated lab shipping options.

examples of new holiday card designs; Christmas, Happy Holidays, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah

3. Deciding your holiday discount strategy.

Automated vs. Customized Campaigns

The holiday season is not only a time of joy and festivities but also a golden opportunity for businesses to boost their sales. As a photographer, deciding on the right holiday discount strategy can significantly impact your revenue. Compare the benefits of automated sale campaigns against custom discounts tailored to your goals, and determine what is the best fit for you this season. 

Benefits of automated sale campaigns:

  • Time efficiency: Automated sales campaigns allow you to set up discounts in advance so you can focus on other aspects of your photography business during the holiday season. This convenience can reduce stress and save valuable time. 
  • Consistency: Automated campaigns ensure that your promotions and discounts are applied consistently across all your offers, so there is no confusion among your customers, building trust and loyalty. 
  • Streamlined marketing: Automated campaigns typically have built-in marketing tools. When using automated campaigns built into your website, tools such as email announcements and reminders can be combined with promotional banners in your photo galleries. Spread the news on your social media, and rest assured that every visitor will see the banners encouraging them to take advantage of your promotion. 

Benefits of customized discount campaigns:

  • Tailored to your goals: Customized campaigns allow you to fine-tune your discounts and sale timelines according to your specific goals. Whether you want to boost sales of a particular product, clear out inventory, or attract new clients, you have full control over your promotions.
  • Unique branding: Custom campaigns allow you to infuse your brand’s personality into your discounts. You can create unique and eye-catching promotions that match your brand image and values. 
  • Flexibility: Custom campaigns give you flexibility in applying discounts. You can react quickly to market trends or customer needs, making it easier to adapt to changing circumstances.

4. Setting up discount campaigns.

Regardless of whether you choose automated or customized campaigns, setting up a discount campaign involves several important steps: 

  • Define your goals: Define what you want to achieve with your discount campaign. Do you want to increase sales, clean up your inventory or acquire new customers? Clear goals help you to shape your strategy. 
  • Select your products: Select the products or services you want to discount. Focus on items that are likely to appeal to your target audience during the holiday season. Keep this as simple as possible; if visitors are confused, they are less likely to purchase.  
  • Set discount parameters: Set the discount percentage or amount. Make sure your discounts are attractive to customers while maintaining profitability. Consider offering a straightforward “X% off when you spend $XX” promotion–percentages will often encourage shoppers to spend more than the required amount, since the discount is off the total purchase. 
  • Establish a timeframe: Set a start and end date for your campaign, and include reminders via email and social media. By creating a sense of urgency, customers can be encouraged to make a purchase as soon as possible. 
  • Promote your campaign: Use different marketing channels to promote your campaign. This may include email marketing, social media posts, and updates to your website.

To help save you time and increase sales, some online portfolio platforms like Zenfolio have ready-to-go marketing strategies for plans with selling features, including banners and emails–and all you have to do is enroll. You have options to create an entire campaign at the click of a button, or to customize the automated campaigns to your needs. Alternatively you can use the Coupons tool to fully customize and schedule the launch date of your own campaign.

5. Keep your clients informed.

Informing your customers is a crucial step in gearing up for a successful holiday season. 

Benefits of informing your customers

  • Customer retention: Regular communication keeps your clients engaged and interested in your photography services. It reminds them of your presence and the value you offer.
  • Creating trust: Transparency creates trust. When customers are informed about your holiday plans and offers, they are more likely to feel confident when booking services or making a purchase. 
  • Setting Expectations: Clear communication sets expectations for your availability, sales, and product offerings. This can avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smoother customer experience.

Prepare product examples

  • Personal Showcase: When meeting customers in person, physical samples of your products such as canvas or metal prints, albums, or holiday cards can make a lasting impression and help customers visualize their potential purchases. 
  • Social Media Videos: Create eye-catching social media videos showcasing your holiday-themed products. This visual content can grab your audience’s attention and help communicate the quality of your products while arousing anticipation and excitement in the audience.

Timely communication

  • Available bookings: Announce the availability of your holiday sessions well in advance. Clients often plan their holiday photo shoots early, so the earlier you communicate, the better your chances of getting bookings. That said, there are always folks who are looking for last-minute shoots, so decide in advance what your cutoff date will be for holiday photo sessions and stick to it. 
  • Upcoming sales: Notify customers of upcoming sales or discounts. This early notification can encourage them to wait for special offers before making a purchase. 
  • Product offers: Share details about the holiday-themed products you offer. Highlight their uniqueness and explain why they should consider these items for their holiday gifting needs. 
  • Delivery Dates: Clearly state order and shipping deadlines to ensure your customers receive their products in time for the holidays. On-time deliveries are essential for a positive customer experience.

Autumnal portrait of a black and tan dog standing in fall leaves

6. Encourage past clients to return

The holiday season is a good time to email existing customers you photographed earlier in the year, reminding them to order Christmas prints or cards directly from their collection. It’s even better if you plan to offer holiday deals. They will be pleasantly surprised and chances are they’ll order at least one for a relative. Enroll in an automated campaign or add a coupon banner with a promotional message at the top of your galleries for a seamless experience.

7. Setting aside personal time.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s incredibly important to prioritize self-care.  To achieve this, block off dedicated personal time in your calendar. Whether it’s for relaxation, spending time with loved ones, or simply recharging your creative energy, these moments are essential. 

We recommend actively communicating with your customers about your availability during this busy time. Setting clear expectations for response times and potential delays can help you effectively manage your customer relationship without compromising your well-being. Remember that maintaining a good work-life balance is not only good for you but is also critical to delivering the best work possible to your clients without burnout.

In conclusion, thorough preparation is the key to holiday success for your photography business. Whether it’s optimizing your website, setting prices and discounts, protecting your free time, or keeping your customers informed, every step will help you maximize your holiday sales revenue. Whether you choose automated or personalized campaigns, maintain a healthy work-life balance and take advantage of online portfolio website tools that streamline your efforts. With careful planning, you can ensure a successful holiday season that will not only increase your sales but also strengthen your relationships with your customers, paving the way for a prosperous year in your photography journey.


  • Cheryl Dell'Osso

    Cheryl is the Director of Content Strategy at Zenfolio and the Owner/Photographer at Portraits by Cheryl and Seniors by Cheryl in Raleigh, NC. Cheryl has mentored countless new photographers looking to build successful photography businesses.

*Promotion valid until November 30, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Promotional discount off the subscription price of a new PortfolioPlus or ProSuite annual plan only will be automatically applied at checkout with code CYBERNOV75. Discount applies to the first year only. Cannot be combined with any other promotion.

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