Photo Seller’s Foundations: Promotions, coupons, and discounts.

Stacked photographs of the outdoors. The top photo of the stack is a person riding a motorcycle through the desert, facing the camera. Photos by Adeel Shabir, Bradley Dunn.

Welcome to day 2 of the Photo Seller’s Foundations series. If you missed part 1, be sure to check out yesterday’s products, pricelists, and packages post, or continue reading for today's deep dive into coupons, discounts, and limited-time offers. We’ll also walk you through how to make an automated “thank you” discount for your customers all year round.

As always, you can power through the whole series on our Photo Seller’s Foundations page, or get into the nitty-gritty of photography marketing and business strategy with our Marketing for Photographers ebook.

Setting up coupons in SmugMug.

First things first: Coupons and discounts are only available for SmugMug Pro subscribers. If you’re a Portfolio subscriber who’s been on the fence about upgrading, consider this one more reason to take the plunge and invest in your photography business. 

Coupons are a powerful tool to grab attention, drive sales, and even prime return buyers for more purchases down the road. On SmugMug, coupons are generated via a code that your customers enter during checkout. The option to enter a coupon will only appear when coupon-eligible items are in your customers’ shopping carts. 

You can manage coupons from the same place you find your pricelists: Just click “Manage” under the Coupon section of your Selling Tools page. Here you’ll see any previous coupon discounts you’ve run, and the option to create more.

More of a visual learner? Everything to get you started with coupons is also covered in our Pro Workflow webinar, Coupons: How and why?

Step 1: Choose your coupon type.

When you click the “+ Create Coupon” button in your coupon manager, you’ll be prompted to choose an initial coupon type. SmugMug coupons come in four different flavors: 

  • Amount Off: Choose a set amount to take off a purchase, before or after shipping is calculated.
  • Percentage Off: Choose a set percentage to take off a purchase, before or after shipping. 
  • Free Shipping: Free standard shipping for your customer, or free airmail shipping if the order is international. If the customer opts for faster shipping at checkout, then an amount equal to standard shipping will be taken off the shipping total. 
  • At Cost: Offer your lucky customers the option to purchase photos at the same cost you’d pay to print them.

Once you’ve chosen a coupon type, you can fill in the details, including a title, description, desired currency, and discount amount. We recommend giving your coupon a descriptive title that will help you quickly identify it in your coupon list, like “Amount off portraits” or “Percent off metal prints.”

Last but not least, you can choose your custom coupon code. Have fun with this part! Choose something eye-catching, memorable, and descriptive to grab the attention of customers browsing their inbox or social feeds. 

Step 2: Customize with restrictions.

Choosing your discount type is a great start, but the real power of coupons comes alive when you start applying restrictions to fine-tune your offer. These can be mixed and matched to build the perfect coupon for your customers. 

When you click the “restrictions” tab, this is what you’ll see:

Valid from and Valid through will let you set the start and end dates of your promotion, if you 

choose. Many promotions benefit from a limited duration, but some (like the one we’ll walk through making below) are good to leave open-ended. 

Here are your other restriction options:

  • Minimum Purchase: Set a minimum total price for the entire purchase before your coupon can be applied to a customer’s order. This can help you ensure the order amount is large enough to cover your coupon’s discount.
  • Maximum Discount: The most you want a customer to receive off an order’s total. Especially helpful to ensure a large discount doesn’t eat too much into your gross profits.
  • Maximum Uses: How many times a coupon can be used on separate orders. If this is left blank, your coupon will be good until it expires. 
  • Maximum Items: How many items the coupon can be applied to in a single order. The most expensive items will automatically be selected for the coupon application to give the buyer the largest discount.
  • Choose galleries: By default, your coupon will apply to all your photos, but here you can choose specific galleries you want it applied to instead. This is an easy way to make client- or genre-specific offers.
  • Choose products: Like galleries, your coupons will apply to all your products by default, but if you have some special items on sale (like ornaments) or you have a higher profit-margin product you’d like to promote (like gift cards), this tool will let you limit a coupon to a specific product or product category.

Pro tip: By combining coupon types and restrictions, you can create engaging sales like limited-time offers, bulk discounts, and buy-one-get-one deals. We have five great options broken down step by step here: Want to sell your photography? Use coupons. Any one of these would make a great promotion for that best-selling gallery you made yesterday, too.

Step 3: Get your promotions out there.

We’ll cover search-engine optimization (SEO), email, social media, and more in tomorrow’s post, but specific to coupons, here’s an easy way to get your discounts into the hands of people who’ll use them.

Ongoing discounts: Who says coupons are just for selling season? Promote return sales all year round with an automated 10% off “Thank you” coupon for all print orders. It’s an extra $1 per order, but you can deliver your coupon via a custom print, sticker, or, in some cases, both (visit our Help Center article for full details). 

Here’s how to get it set up:

  • Create a coupon for your thank-you promotion:
  • In the coupon manager, click “Create” and select “Percentage off.”
  • Title your coupon something descriptive, like “Thank you 10% off.”
  • Enter a coupon code—for this example we’ll use “THANKS10.”
  • Enter 10 in the “Discount Amount” field.
  • Click “Create” and you’re done with the coupon.

  • Enable “Thank You Prints”:
  • Download these customizable PSDs and make them your own! Just be sure to keep the sizing the same—prints need an exact 3:2 ratio, and stickers need to be 2:1.
  • Go to your Account Settings page, click the Business tab, and find the Printing section.
  • Click “Manage” under the Order Branding subhead to open the Pro Branding tool.
  • Upload your images for your coupon and sticker. 
  • Check the box next to Thank You Print and Sticker, then click “Done.”

And that’s it! You’ve just made an ongoing coupon to encourage your customers to buy again—or encourage their friends to buy by sharing the discount. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your customers, help them feel seen and valued, and drive repeat sales in the future.

Next up, it’s all about outreach and how to connect with your customers: SEO, email, social media, website updates, and more. Don’t miss it.


Still confused about coupons? Reach out to one of our sales specialists for help.