One of the greatest things about Freelancing is that you have your own freedom, you are the boss, you choose your own projects, and make your own money. If photography is your passion deciding to become a freelance photographer may seem to be an easy path. But in reality, freelance photography is such a difficult thing to do, because you need to work multiple projects for different clients. To help you kick start your freelancing journey, we have 10 tips on starting freelance photography that sells.
Hence, photography is more than just taking pictures. Some might own a DSLR but not all know how to be a photographer. Just because you own a camera, doesn’t mean you are a professional photographer. You’re a professional at something when you know it’s your profession.
A life of a photographer is not that easy, their salary depends on their projects. They don’t have promotions or bonus, unlike the others. But it is such a great thing to do, most especially if you are really into it, because from a merely passion/hobby you can create a very nice business.
There is indeed no doubts that you can earn money from freelance photography. You can also do it as a part-time job, not that bad for someone who has a passion in photography, at the same time earns money from it.
There are actually a lot of opportunities in photography where you can easily earn money. So here are 10 useful tips on how to start with freelance photography that generates profit:
1. Find a Niche
What’s your specialty? Your niche?
I know many freelance photographers who think they can shoot most anything, but would you really want to? Don’t become a “wedding photographer” because you believe that’s the only way to make money as a photographer.
Or because you shot a friend’s wedding once.
Choose a photography niche or two that you’re passionate about, and then master them. Ensure that your work demonstrates that you are the go-to person for the best quality within that niche.
Doing so will mean people come to you for your expertise.
Whether it’s stock photography, portrait photography, product photography, travel photography or real estate photography. Whatever you’re passionate about, stick with that.
2. Make Your Work Stand Out
There are many very good freelance photographers out there. A select few are great. If your images are good, but look like everyone else’s, you will not stand out. As a result, “success” (whatever that means for you), is going to take much longer.
So how do you separate yourself out from the rest?
First, get great moments. Force yourself to “see things” differently.
Second, spend extra time in post to make your images pop.
This takes time and practice to achieve. But, it is one of the most fundamental tips on how to become a freelance photographer.
Patience is a key virtue to become an in-demand freelance photographer.
3. Focus on Getting Great Moments
The best photos are the ones that have captured the best moments. The “best” of anything is subjective, but that’s why freelance photography is an art form. Great moments need to be great to you first.
They don’t always have to be grandiose. Compelling moments are often subtle. Understated. They’re those images that cause you to pause and look longer.
It can be a sporting event, concert, wedding, sunset, portrait, or street photography.
Skilled shooters are always looking for interesting postures and facial expressions. They are considering the placement of objects within a frame. They are looking for interesting lighting and any unusual elements present, etc.
The best moments don’t require the best gear. The best moments require the right photographer to recognise them and capture them.
4. Studying Techniques Is Important
Want to learn how to take great long exposure images? Get good at pet photography? Or to become the go-to wedding photographer in your area?
Then commit to learning as much as you can about those styles and techniques of shooting. Read articles and books.
Watch videos. Work one-on-one with a photographer who has demonstrated skill within these areas. Then spend 10x more time taking photos to apply what you’ve learned.
Too many freelance photographers spend too much time inside studying, instead of outside shooting. Studying techniques is good and needed. Actually applying what you’ve learned is best and necessary.
5. Spend More Time in Post Processing
Efficiency is always necessary and smart. Time is finite, and time is money right? Begin by understanding some of the tools available here. BUT remember, if your images don’t stand out, YOU won’t stand out. And if you don’t stand out, you don’t stand a chance at succeeding as a freelance photographer. Why? Because there’s too much competition.
So, don’t rush your images. You need to find that elusive balance between quality and quantity. Unfortunately, a lot of photographers err on the side of speed. This is a mistake. Taking longer in post creating great images that last will ensure you last as a freelance photographer.
6. Communication Is Key for Your Freelance Photography Business
Becoming a great communicator is the number one business tip for a budding freelance photographer. You have to be effective in all different kinds of situations, with all different kinds of people.
Commit to communicating well with your subjects, prospects, and potential customers. Be the kind of person and professional you’d want to hire. This is THE most important skill any person, in any field, can have.
This is counter-intuitive because most people think they’re already competent communicators. A few quick clicks around social media tells us otherwise.
So what does this have to do with freelance photography? Everything. Talented, freelance photographers with questionable communication skills are prevalent. Many are standoffish, aloof, and/or downright rude. Remember: first impressions count, and first impressions last.
Getting the job often comes down to one person making a strong connection with a decision-maker over another person. Less experienced photographers get opportunities at times because they’re easier to work with than the pompous pro.
Even if you become the greatest photographer in the world, if you’re hard to work with, it will cost you. Take an interpersonal communication course. Enrol in a webinar or online course like those of Taming Light Photography’s. Polish your skills in this area. It will pay you back in spades.
7. How to Get Freelance Photography Jobs
To land freelance photography jobs, and make money as a freelance photographer, follow the following ABCDs:
Ask – Ask for the job. As simple as it sounds, this step is often skipped. Make a phone call. Send an email. Message a contact. Inquire about opportunities you’d like to take on. Ask the question.
Back It Up – Experience and social proof are the most powerful persuasion techniques available to everyone. Especially in photography, often few words are necessary to “prove” how good you are.
Your portfolio of images will do most of the talking for you. After asking for the job, direct prospects to samples of your work. Link to your website. Provide testimonials.
Correspond – Be in continual contact with your prospects throughout your working relationship with them. Be proactive, not reactive. Follow-up frequently. “Top of Mind” is where you want to be with your prospects and customers.
Review all their information pertinent to the job at hand. Ask clarifying questions. Be thorough. Respond to their inquiries in a timely manner. They need to know you’re a professional, freelance photographer, as well as a business professional.
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.
8. Networking Will Help You Make Money From Freelance Photography
Do professional photographers actually make money? Absolutely! But… likely not at first. Or at least not consistently at first. To begin cashing checks, you have to first show that you are worth the cash.
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.
9. Have an Online and Social Media Strategy
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. A key distinction that I’ve had to learn and get better at myself over the years. Smart online activity and social media use is not a passive activity.
It’s daily, it’s focused, it’s consistent, and it’s oftentimes a grinding exercise. If you’re using a WordPress blog, update it at least several times a week. Don’t let your online presence dwindle.
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., to promote themselves. Done right, it can pay big dividends.
There’s a world of potential opportunities available for the earnest and driven freelancer. Is any of this easy, or come without ongoing hard work? Not by a long shot. They’re there. You just have to go look and work for them.
10. A Photography Coach Will Help You Improve Faster
It’s never been easier to connect with people for personal or business purposes with technology today. Quality photography coaching is available with a little research and a few key strokes.
Investing in one-on-one photography coaching could advance your skills fast. It can be the best money you will ever spend.
Reading books and articles about photography is one thing. Watching videos is another. But, nothing replaces talking with someone who’s been there, and done that which you aspire to do.
First, you need to find someone whose work you like and respect. Next, you also need to connect with someone you feel comfortable, and can work with on an ongoing basis.
This may take a little trial and error, and that’s OK. If the first person or two doesn’t work out, keep trying. You’ll eventually find what you’re looking for and what you need.
A good photography coach can cut your learning curve down big time by cutting to the chase to get you the know-how you need to improve your freelance photography fast.