Starting Freelance Photography

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These are great tools, but also just that — tools. They just scratch the surface of what it takes to get ahead in a very crowded field.

How to be a Freelance Photographer — Helena Price

Those lovely shining boxes of new lenses and bigger better cameras are going to degrade plummet in price, and new better equipment is always coming out …and always will. So what are you to do while starting out, when finances are their tightest? This way, you only need to actually purchase the items you need to do a good job across all your shoots. But carting around all that high-cost equipment, you should also be carrying public liability and employers liability insurance, as a minimum, and I would suggest adding professional indemnity.

They are another expense but — speaking as someone who has dropped a lens and spilt iced tea all over a laptop — accidents happen and you need to get things repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. But to survive as a freelance photographer is really about you having two jobs…. From contracts more on this later , to photo copyrights, to marketing, and much more, you are a business. Lastly, if photography is your main profession, remember to also put something away for a pension or similar.

Taking care of yourself as you start on your new career in freelancing is important! Perhaps, at first, what you end up negotiating is only a fraction of what your work is worth. The one thing I had to learn for myself is you need to be seen, but that comes in various ways.

But then again, one of my oldest and regular clients I met when I phoned them and asked if I could pop in to show them my portfolio!


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Out of all the advice I relied on when I started out, the best piece of advice I was given was to keep shooting. No matter how busy you are, shoot something for yourself, your portfolio, website or Instagram. Remember that long-term client I mentioned in the last Myth? I got there by making the effort to reach out. Ready to kickstart your career? Build a professional portfolio website in minutes using Format.

Start your free day trial today, no credit card required. These included photographing some events seminars and promotional material for a large street market. Friends, workmates, neighbors and so on. Unless you start by working in a company, or by opening a photography shop, this is how every one starts, by making contacts. They liked my stuff and asked me if I did other things like parties, events etc.

I was upfront and honest about having little or no experience doing those things, and charged a low price to reflect that. I want to say the first was through Facebook, second was a referral from a planner and third and fourth were hits on Google. I got my name front and center. Then family and friends started dropping my name. I picked up a handful through my website.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer: Tips and Tricks to Succeed in the Freelance Market

Having a contact form is critical. Even if they want just general info, make it easy for them. Be proactive, not reactive. Follow-up frequently. Review all their information pertinent to the job at hand. Ask clarifying questions. Be thorough. Respond to their inquiries in a timely manner. Deliver — The most important part. Produce the top quality work and results that you promised.

Results that your customer wants and needs. Over-deliver to ensure any repeat business comes back to you.

Delivering excellence is how you achieve ongoing success as a freelance photographer. And also how you will make money. Do photographers actually make money? But… likely not at first there are always exceptions. Or at least not consistently at first. To begin cashing checks, you have to first show that you are worth the cash.

14 Tips to be a Successful Freelance Photographer

You have to be visible to get paid. This is where strategic networking comes into play. Consider every new contact you make a valuable network connection for potential future use. Nurture and develop relationships with people inside and outside of the freelance photography field. You must come across as professional, competent, and easy to work with during every interaction. Doing so will make you more memorable, and someone easier to say yes to when the time comes to ask for the job.

Despite their skills behind the camera, their off-putting personalities make them hard to work with in front of the camera. There are many other talented shooters out there who have pleasant personalities who also produce top-level work. Quality being equal, who would you rather work with? Commit to being an active and smart internet and social media user. Sure, most of us are on some quantity of social media these days, but mainly surfing and scrolling timelines with light engagement here and there.

To be successful as a freelance photographer you have to get your name out there and connect with people. You need a strong photography website, and have a smart and active social media presence. Smart online activity and social media use is not a passive activity. Sometimes the use of outside services to help small businesses expand their reach farther and faster can help.

Many photographers pay for ads, sponsor posts and pages, etc. Done right, it can pay big dividends. Beyond social media, the internet in general is your friend when it comes to searching out freelance photography jobs.

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But you have to be discerning when using it to get the most benefit. Here are a few places to start your search for freelance photography jobs:. Is any of this easy, or come without ongoing hard work? Not by a long shot. You just have to go look and work for them review 2. We all do it. We compare ourselves and our work to others. Should you follow other photographers? Sure, in moderation. Getting creative ideas from other photographers to expand upon and make your own can be very helpful.

But, paying too much attention to how and what others are doing will start to suck the life out of you. Pace yourself. And dare to be different. Learn from others, yes. Take what you like, and leave the rest.

Six Steps to Follow to Become a Freelance Photographer

Develop your own unique style and voice to inject into your works and into the world. These groups can be educational, but can also be counter-productive if overused. Some photography groups are notorious for being full of freelance photographers who are full of themselves.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer With No Experience

Many come off as rigid know-it-alls, and their delivery to newcomers is more harmful than helpful. Speaking from experience, comparison moderation is key for your mental health. You can stifle your progress by both over and underestimating your talent and skill. Pompous and puffed-up freelance photographers are a dime-a-dozen that nobody likes to be around. Keep your ego in check. Again, objective feedback is very important. Seek it only from those you trust and whose opinion you value. We all need honest, constructive critiques of our work to become the best we can be.

Human beings suffer from cognitive biases at times that prevent us from being objective about ourselves and our work. This is where feedback from trusted others comes in. Seek the opinions and experience from those you value and know have your best interests at heart. Be prepared to hear things you may not want to hear. Remember, you asked for feedback. Take it, and think about it awhile before deciding to keep it or chuck it.



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