Freelance photography is like any other self-employed job – you seek out clients and complete their projects. When asking "what is freelance photography" or "how do I become a freelance photographer," know it's not a great job. A freelance photographer works on projects from different companies. Project-by-project pay is always negotiated beforehand. In freelance photography, a steady income is a luxury. Even if you can support yourself as a freelance photojournalist, income varies.
Freelance photographers often travel. Even if they have a home, family, and 2-car garage (I know several), they still move a lot for work. Diversifying their portfolio and clientele requires travel. You may enjoy travelling as a freelance photographer; it may be why you started. Freelance photographers take photos. Employers sometimes hire you without photos. You sometimes sell them alone. Your goal is to sell high-quality photos.
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90% of the time, you must first contact potential clients. Freelance photographers must be persistent in contacting new leads to be successful. If companies make the first move, it's usually with popular photographers with large social media followings.
Freelancing can feel like a correspondence job – you'll be creative 25% of the time and network 75%. Freelance photographers are social marketers (for themselves).
Tips for Starting a Career in Freelance Photography
Freelance photography? Freelancing involves juggling multiple clients and contracts. You choose everything you do and find photography clients, unlike a traditional job. Each client is your boss for each shoot.
Freelance photography is a serious career. Photography alone won't do it. Buying top gear doesn't make you a pro.
We were told to find a paying client before starting a new career. If you can find a job, get the gear you need and go from there. It proves you can land a client and make professional photography a career. Your wedding photos will be cherished.
Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
There's a lot to starting a business in freelance photography.
Hint: It's not all about gear and being the best photographer. It's about building a real business. Business techniques DO apply to photographers even though we don't think they do because we're artists.
We hope you choose the path of being one of the world's best freelance photographers who also makes a great living. The choice is yours!
Finding Clients for Your Freelance Photography Business Is Your #1 Focus.
Yes, it is necessary to become proficient in the art of shooting and to do so with ease. However, knowing the art and being an incredible photographer aren't enough to make ends meet on their own. Acquiring new customers, also known as sales, is the single most important aspect of your job. After you have established a clientele, you should make it a priority to continually develop your art form.
Buy Some Business Books.
in particular books with a focus on customer service and business development. There can be no business if there are no sales. Communication, the quality of the work, and punctuality are the three most important factors in maintaining satisfied customers. If you are able to master all three, you will be able to keep your customers for a very long time.
Find Your Freelance Photography Niche.
There is an overwhelming variety of opportunities available. Are you interested in photographing weddings in the surrounding mountains? Are you planning on becoming the most famous architectural photographer in the world? Do you offer senior pictures? What about action sports? Pick one so you'll always know who to contact for work and can become an expert in the particular art and pricing structure that goes along with it.
Contact Clients and Potential Clients Again and Again.
When it comes to your current customers, you should put reminders in your calendar and get in touch with them once every two months to see how they are doing and to see if they have any photography needs. You are going to be astounded by how effectively this works. It will keep you in business by bringing in an increasing number of jobs. Trying to find new customers is a lot more difficult and expensive than just keeping the ones you already have.
Price High at the Start.
Customers will communicate their desire for lower prices to you if they wish to do so. Or, they might tell you that they aren't interested, at which point you could enquire as to why. You can attempt to negotiate with them even if they say it's because of the price. If you set a low price, you'll end up working too hard for too little money, and you'll end up regretting taking the job.
You Don't Need the Best Camera Money Can Buy.
Look for something that has features that are unique to your market and produces products of a high quality (i.e. fast frame rate for action sports, high MP count and a large sensor for portraits). The technology behind cameras advances at a rapid pace, but image quality has improved to such a degree generally that a camera body that costs $1,200 can produce photographs that are on par with those produced by a camera body that costs $5,000. Make an investment in lenses because they are one of the few things that can withstand the test of time and have the best resale value (sometimes even increasing!).
Go to the Online Forums for Your Niche.
You will gain a lot of knowledge about what they do, how they talk, and the requirements they have, and after participating in the forums, you will be able to talk about the new company that you are going to start! It's an effective method for getting inside the heads of your customers and discovering what it is they're trying to find.
One step that the vast majority of freelancers never seem to remember is client research. In light of this, you should get in touch with some of your rivals in a different city and ask for a price estimate for an imaginary shoot. It's always nice to see how the competitors handle new leads, especially the successful ones.
Get a Squarespace Website After You've Landed Some Paying Clients, or Make Your Own With Photocrati Through WordPress.
Both are excellent choices, and you can get started with them for not too much money. You can have a landing page with your bio and pricing information even if you don't have much work to show potential clients. This page can be sent to them. Websites give companies the appearance of being more reputable and established.
It is not necessary to acquire one right away, but it is beneficial to get the ball rolling down the line. In any case, you shouldn't devote any of your time or energy to this during the first month. You should instead put your energy into reaching out to people you know, such as friends, family, and acquaintances.
Set Business Goals.
The construction of a skyscraper begins with laying the building's foundation, and subsequent floors are added one at a time. If you want to build an empire, the first thing you need to do is lay a solid foundation. Perhaps during the first week, you will contact 15 prospective leads to determine whether or not they require photographic services.
You should be able to achieve each goal, but they should also challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone for the week. Continue onward once you have accomplished what you set out to do. If you found that it was successful, you should take it to the next level and keep expanding your company.
Strive to Keep a Livable Minimum Amount of Savings.
If you have sufficient savings, an occasional poor month won't be able to devastate you to the point where you have to liquidate your gear or look for a day job. It doesn't have to be a lot, and to tell you the truth, having less will actually make you feel more motivated to work, but it's always nice to have some extra cash on hand.
Track Mileage, Photography Expenses, and Freelance Income.
You can get a tax break for your expenses as well as your mileage, and we could all use a break when it comes to our taxes. Your equipment is very expensive, and you should deduct as much of that expense as possible when filing your taxes. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should put aside about one-third of each and every payment you get into a separate account that you won't access.
In this manner, your tax obligations will be met regardless of the circumstances. If you work for another person, they will most likely take care of this aspect of your employment, but you are still responsible for setting aside money to pay your taxes on your own. You will be glad you saved that money in the future, despite the fact that it is painful to do so now.
Save Your Money When You Start!
Everyone makes the common mistake of purchasing business cards that they either do not distribute or that are discarded after being read. Websites, stickers for branding, the cost of a logo (seriously, you don't need a logo yet, and you probably never will), software, unimportant gear, and so on and so forth are all examples of common expenses that are unnecessary from the very beginning. Instead of focusing on branding, you should put your energy into building a business through sales. As a freelancer, no one will care about your brand; they will only care about your name and the quality of your work.
Shoot every day.
Bring your camera with you everywhere you go, and snap pictures of anything that grabs your attention along the way. Since we are now living in the digital age, taking additional photographs will not cause you to lose any money or resources. As you continue to gain knowledge, you will eventually feel as though you are an extension of your camera. Every shot gives you instant feedback, allowing you to see what works and looks good as well as what doesn't work so well. The more you are familiar with the camera, the easier it will be for you to work with customers who are paying you.
Listen to Your Client.
Do what they tell you to do in the beginning if they have a distinct idea of the kind of image they want to project and are attempting to direct you. After you've given them the shots they require, you can exercise your creative side. If you show that you care about them and have faith in their decisions, they will be happy to work with you. There are times when the photograph they envisioned is the best one that can be taken. We are artists and we work as freelance photographers.
There are times when it is challenging to let go of our artistic visions. There are times when customers require a specific item, and they hired us specifically because they needed that item. Always strive to work WITH your customers, and never against them. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Always Overestimate How Long it Will Take You to Finish the Edits.
Because of this, the customer is pleased. Without letting them know, move the actual deadline for delivery a few days earlier than you had originally planned. They are going to be so grateful that you took the time to rush the order because they are going to be so excited when the images are sent over early. This is a nice way to ensure that all of one's photography clients are satisfied.
Be Clear on Your Pricing for Photo Services.
Even in the event that you never disclose your procedures to a customer or show them in any way on your website. If you are aware of how much you should charge for a particular shoot based on its type and duration, you can avoid underpricing your services. Create a number and record it someplace, whether it will be by the hour or by the shot.
Multiply the client's request by the appropriate factor, and then provide them with the total cost. Have a number in mind that you're comfortable going to if it doesn't work out with them, and don't go any lower than that. They will pay whatever you ask of them if they want to collaborate with you.
We all struggle with insecurities, and there are times when it may seem as though our customers and business partners are more important than we are. Keep in mind that we are all just people who are attempting to provide for our own families and ourselves in the best way that we can. You are the one that a client is going to choose to hire, regardless of what position they hold or how important they are. Even if you are only slightly better than them, you have something to offer that they cannot do for themselves, and this gives you an advantage over them. The better option is the better option, and you are doing a wonderful job.
When setting the price for your services, it is essential to keep this in mind as well. Do not lower your standards simply because other photographers do so; ask yourself whether you would rather work for high-end clients who pay high rates or low-end clients who always want a deal. If you lack self-assurance and consistently underestimate your worth, you will find yourself mired in the low-paying, deal-hunting world of freelance photography.
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Ways to Find Customers as a Freelance Photographer
Attend Events With Your Camera in Hand
Attending local events is among the most effective methods for attracting new clients to your business. It is not necessary that these be events related to the photography industry. It could be anything that happens. The event should be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.
Just make sure you don't forget to bring your camera with you. Your goal is to make new friends, but in addition to that, you should offer to take photographs of them. For that, you will need to trade contact information with other people, and then you will have a prospect. If they are satisfied with the results, they may hire you for additional work or recommend you to others.
Build Your Portfolio—for Free or a Reduced Price
Building up your portfolio is the single most important thing you can do when you first start out as a freelance photographer. People who are thinking about hiring you as their photographer will ask to see examples of your previous work. If you don't have any previous work experience, you're out of luck because you won't have any future work either.
A well-liked approach is for photographers to announce on their social media accounts that they will soon be working on their portfolios and are looking for some models to pose for them.
Creating a blog is a great way to demonstrate to potential customers that you are a serious photographer while also drawing in new business. This could be an integral part of your website, or it could be a free site hosted on Blogger or WordPress.
In either case, you will be exhibiting the intellectual prowess and photographic skills that you possess. In this section, you will discuss various photography-related topics, including controversies, new equipment, and even provide step-by-step guides to everything you've learned about the subject.
You should begin contributing as a guest blogger on websites that have a larger audience if you do not wish to start your own blog, or even better, in addition to your blog. This can be in conjunction with the topics that you would write about on your blog—things that you are knowledgeable about and have a strong interest in.
This way, you have the opportunity to gain exposure to the hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of readers that frequent that website. You'll probably find more success on the more specialised websites, but this exposure is still very beneficial.
Create a Compelling Website
You'll need to display your portfolio if you want to be taken seriously as a photographer. Since we are now in the 21st century, it goes without saying that you will need to complete this task digitally in order to expand your audience and your range of options.
To put it succinctly, you require a website. However, not just any website will do. Your skill is your eye for beautiful things—therefore, your site should be just as beautiful as your photography. It ought to be uncomplicated, simple, and straightforward to navigate, with the primary emphasis being placed on the stunning photographs you have.
Network With All Industries
It is necessary to carry out these steps. Not only should you be making connections with people in your industry or those that are closely related (such as photo production, studios, etc.), but you should also be making connections with people in as many other industries as you can.
In addition to your printer's, there might also be an art supply store, a bakery, a furniture store, or even your neighbourhood hair and beauty shop. One of the great things about photography is that it can be of use to virtually any kind of enterprise.
If you are able to develop a working relationship with them, they may refer business to you, and you may do the same for them. This is a relationship that is beneficial to both parties and has the potential to last for years, or even your entire professional life.
Submit Stock Images
If you've got a great portfolio full of fantastic images, there's no reason to just let them collect dust on your hard drive. You can upload them to stock photo websites like iStock to sell them. They will make it possible for you to find businesses and individuals, as well as get found by them, as well as get paid for your photographs.
Find Businesses Willing to Hang Your Work
Another method that won't cost you anything is to personally visit or make phone calls to various types of businesses that are willing to hang up your artwork.
This work may be taken from your portfolio, or it may be work that you are willing to do for their company (for free or reduced-price). Not only should you grant them permission to display your photographs, but you should also make an effort to frame them in a way that would make you pleased with the finished product.
Customers of that company will be able to view your photographs in this way, increasing the likelihood of you acquiring new customers.
Ask for Referrals from Others
Requesting referrals from people on a consistent basis should be considered an essential action to take. These individuals have the potential to become current or passed customers. They could also be members of your family or friends with whom you have shared professional experiences.
Obviously, these individuals will need to be familiar with the work that you have done. You will be able to make use of the referrals in your marketing materials once you have obtained them. You should also highlight them in a prominent way on your company website and any social media pages that you maintain.
Join Social Media Groups
For a variety of different reasons, the social media landscape is the most important one for new businesses. One of those benefits is that it will make it easier for you to establish yourself and make the appropriate connections.
These groups, for instance on Facebook or LinkedIn, should be connected to the respective industries. These groups might simply share photos with one another or offer pointers on improving one's photography. The second option is preferable for finding new customers, as a great number of people will have questions that you can provide solutions for.
Even better, not only will you be able to get all of your questions answered, but you will also be able to make crucial connections with well-known photographers.
If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
Volunteer at Fundraisers
Photographers have a wonderful opportunity to capture candid moments at fundraising events. You are able to offer your time as a volunteer because the organisation relies on people offering free services and products.
Because every fundraiser is an event, it is appropriate (and what the organisers want) to document those occasions through photographs. They would be overjoyed to have access to your services, and as a result, you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with local benefactors. You will most certainly acquire either new customers or excellent referrals.
Teach a Class
You could volunteer your time to instruct a class at the local school or library on a one-day or one-week basis every once in a while. You can even host a free event on a specific subject in your studio or some other location of your choosing (for example, in a park for nature photography).
Enter Photography Competitions
One other way is to enter photography competitions. These will help you in two ways:
- you could get some money or exposure by being featured in a recognized publication or web site
- you could use the winning event as a way to advertise yourself.
Even better, you should notify your local newspaper, media outlet, and even school that you (a resident, former student, etc.) have won a photography competition by sending out notifications to them. This is an excellent method for acquiring new clients.Starting to think about hiring a wedding photographer? Check out our range of Mornington Peninsula wedding photography here.