As freelance photographers, we’re in the business of offering our services to others for a fee. We make money when people hire us to take their pictures they want to show the world or use them for their website or social media profile.
Mostly, though, we don’t get paid until our clients send us their payment. This can be quite difficult to do as most businesses don’t have much budgeted for photography.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! It’s totally normal to feel nervous about asking your colleagues, friends, and family to pay for your services.
But it’s also okay to ask for help paying bills! Most major employers offer free employee benefits like health insurance which covers the majority of the costs of medical treatments and doctor visits.
The same goes for income tax refunds! Almost every country out there offers significant rebates from taxes paid the previous year.
This article will talk more about how to ask for help with payments and expenses in general, but first let’s discuss what is meant by ‘freelance photographer.’
What makes someone work as a freelancer?
Freelancing isn’t just doing jobs outside of the workplace; it’s doing work without being hired by or employed by another person or company.
History of freelance photography
Before there was digital freelancing, there were two main types of business models for professional photographers. One was working as an employee in a studio or production company that paid you a salary to do your job with other people’s money. The second is independent contract work, where you are hired directly by individual clients to fulfill their creative needs – typically commercial work.
With the advent of digital technology and easy-to-use editing software like Photoshop, most professionals now produce their own content rather than outsourcing it. This is called self-producing or indie filmmaking because it resembles how filmmakers make movies at small studios or independently.
In fact, many experts consider this style of artistic expression to be the future of visual storytelling. Rather than being dependent upon one source provider for photographs or videos, users can easily create and publish their own media. And they are! Every day, millions of individuals upload thousands of photos and short video clips onto websites, social networks, and smartphone applications.
This has left vast amounts of free content online that anyone can access and use for any purpose.
Who is a freelance photographer?
As mentioned before, being a freelancer comes with its own set of rules and regulations that relate to both you as an individual and your business. So what exactly defines a “freelance photographer”?
Typically, people refer to freelance photographers as professional photogs or just plain photojournalists. Both are great ways to describe the career path for many aspiring photographers.
But there is a key difference between those two terms. A professional photographer makes photography their full-time job so they can exclusively focus on capturing beautiful pictures and stories. A professional photographer earns enough money doing this to cover basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing.
A photojournalist is also considered a professional photographer because of how hard they work in telling authentic, valuable stories through their craft. But since they are not paid for his or her time, most need other jobs to make ends meet.
What is different about being a freelance photographer then? Being a freelance photographer means you do not have to worry about finding new clients or having sufficient income to survive. You know yourself well and will not take opportunities that cannot afford to pay your bills.
What does freelance photography mean?
Being a freelancer means that you are your own business! You get to decide what projects you will take on, how much time you want to invest in each one, and your income is dependent on you – you have to work hard to earn money.
But it also means that you don’t need to be part of an established company or structure to succeed. You can choose to work for yourself or set up private practices with other photographers. It’s totally possible to make a living as a photographer by doing only casual assignments or even advertising your services online.
And because you’re not tied to any specific project, you have freedom – you can easily move onto another job if something more exciting comes along. This flexibility is what makes being a professional photographer such an attractive career choice.
What do you need to be a freelance photographer?
Being a freelancer means that you are your own source of income, which can make it tough to know what things are needed to run a successful business. Starting out as a freelancer may also feel a little scary since there is no one else around to help you when you need it.
As a freelance photographer, you will probably have to manage your clients yourself. This could mean staying up late to meet with them for their event or tour, going through pre-production materials to get a sense of how they want to be photographed, and then meeting with them to take professional pictures.
Your client should feel comfortable with you and confident in your work, but beyond that, you don’t really have anyone else to look after you.
Marketing your business
After you launch your freelance career, the next step is to market it. You will need to put in time developing your photography skills as well as marketing yourself and your services. With social media making life easy for us all, this is no longer a task that requires expensive tools or lots of experience.
By now, you’ve picked your niche and designed your website, so these are done! Now, what are you going to do with them? While some people start by trying to sell their service directly, most use indirect means to get new clients. These include creating content targeted at your ideal client, building up a strong network, and engaging in conversation – just like you would in the real world.
Freelance photographers must be good communicators, and they have to talk to potential customers about their services. Starting conversations is an excellent way to promote your business.
Creating your website
Now that you have done some research, designed your portfolio, and picked your niche, it is time to start creating your freelance business!
After this article, you will be able to create your own free lancer profile on several popular freelancing websites such as Fiverr, Upwork, and The Wage Station. You can now upload your portfolios, add yourself to the marketplace, and begin offering your services to employers.
To take things one step further, most of these sites offer social media accounts for your business so that clients can contact you directly online- which is very professional and helpful in the work place.
These additional platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are crucial for freelance photographers to use to promote their businesses. By having a strong presence on all three, you will get more customers and exposure for your account.
As with any career, freelance photography requires you to know how to market yourself. You will need to understand your audience and what messages work for you as an artist. Creating your own marketing strategies is one of the best ways to get noticed as an photographer.
You can create yours by doing research and experimenting! There are many ways to promote your services and the best way depends on your style, target audience, and budget.
Some of the most common ways to market your business include:
- Keeping up-to-date social media profiles
- Participating in online photosharing sites and communities
- Writing articles or Vlogs that focus on tips for aspiring photographers
- Holding open events or photo contests
- Getting involved in local art scenes and meeting people there
- Directly contacting potential customers via email or phone calls
- Running promotional offers such as free pictures or discounts
Gaining followers on Instagram and other platforms will help you spread your message more effectively. The more engagement you have, the higher your follower count and thus exposure.
Keep posting quality content and offering your service at a reasonable price so people will want to hire you! And don’t forget to keep learning and developing your craft – we can’t emphasize this enough.
Freelance photography is a great way to make money while exploring your artistic side.
Doing all your work as a freelance photographer
As we mentioned before, being a freelancer means that you are not obligated to work for any one company or individual. This can be a good thing because you do not have to agree with their policies or procedures or even believe in their mission.
As a freelance artist, you get to choose how you spend your time. You get to decide if you want to go into a job today or stay home and watch TV. Your career takes shape depending on what you put into it.
If you are just starting out as a professional photographer, then working as a freelancer is an excellent way to hone your skills while keeping yourself motivated.
There are many ways to make money as a freelance photographer, so choosing the right situation is important.