Freelancing is tough stuff in today’s economy, but the upside is that it allows professionals, especially those in the creative field, enough flexibility as to pursue several projects at once. That being said, it’s common knowledge that the competition in such career tracks is fierce. This is why we’ve scoured the web high and low, looking for the five best tips for those interested in forging a career and finding success as a freelance photographer.
1. Price yourself well
Perhaps the biggest bane for newbie freelance photographers is figuring out how much to ask for a shooting. The bad news: it doesn’t get better with experience, as jobs tend to vary immensely, and even those who have found success as a freelance photographer still struggle with pricing. Ask about budget and never agree on a fee before you’ve made sure you’re well aware of all the details of the job. How many hours or days of your time is it going to require? How many photos do they want at the end? These are the kind of questions that will help you figure out how much money to ask for. Forget about your relatively low self-confidence in your own abilities. You are going to make as much as you sell yourself for, when you’re freelancing in the photography industry, so don’t sell yourself short.
2. Save time to find success as a freelance photographer
In plain English, Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom is going to save your life. Nobody’s asking you to batch edit every picture the same way, but the truth is that this program is probably the most intuitive photo editing one out there. Once you work out all the shortcuts and features, it’s going to improve your work time span dramatically.
3. Your website is your business card
You’ve probably heard that piece of advice before and we’re here to confirm it. In other words, you don’t exist if you’re not online nowadays – and this is especially applicable to photographers, who can thrive thanks to the internet and achieve greater popularity than in the heyday of printed media. This is especially important to consider if you’re afraid the World Wide Web is some sort of scary monster, which is only going to ‘help’ you get your photos stolen. There are plenty of ways to protect your photos from copyright infringement, from watermarking to simply disabling right-click/save as on your page. Other important tips for creating the kind of website that will bring you success as a freelance photographer:
- Keep up a blog and update it as often as possible. Write about your projects and photo shoots and upload some visual content, too. It can be a behind-the-scenes video, a camera test, or a session with friends. The blog is going to garner you a following, which means more publicity.
- Avoid using Flash programing. The best photography websites are coded in simple HTML, as to offer optimal end-user experiences.
4. Don’t mess up your schedule
This is a particularly difficult piece of advice to follow – for all freelancers, not just for photographers. If you’re just starting out, you may soon find yourself working nights and sleeping throughout the day. Try, as much as possible, to wake up early and start work around 9 or 10, as you would if you were someone’s employee. Believe it or not, a structured schedule is more likely to help you find success as a freelance photographer than sleepless nights spend editing photos. This doesn’t mean you are giving up your hard-earned independence, but enriching it. By keeping a regular work schedule you are going to be on your way to becoming a true professional – one who really is his/her own boss.
5. Find your own jobs
Find out who your competition is working with. Look into similar companies in the same niche. Figure out if you want to work in photojournalism, fashion photography, real estate photography, or product photography. Contact potential clients and agencies to let them know you would be interested in working with them. Email blog owners to get them to do a write-up of one of your projects: there are plenty of photography focused blogs out there for you to get a guest post, or even a featured artist of the day post.