Any form of freelancing can be challenging to say the least. However, freelancing gives you the flexibility to set your own hours and to work on projects that you choose yourself. There will always be a need for photographers whether it’s for editorial shoots to family portraits.
With that being said, what do you need to start your freelancing photography business? Here are five tips you need to get it right and to gain success in those initial first few months to a year.
1. Consider the type of photography you want to do
Zippia found that after surveying 11,451 freelance photographers and their resumes, they found the average freelancer stays within their job for over 11 years. A lot of that is likely down to pick the right type of photography in question.
There are many different types of photography niches that you could go into depending on what you enjoy shooting. Some prefer taking photos at weddings, whilst others might enjoy shooting for brands to help build their online content.
There are also plenty who dabbles in a variety because it helps keep the job interesting by doing something different every other day. So what type of photography do you want to do? You may already have experience in one area but you’re looking to expand in another.
Knowing what type of photography you want to do is going to make a real difference to how successful you are. It will also help you to fit comfortably within the specific niche of photography you’re interested in. Having some form of direction is important, particularly when setting up a business too.
2. Purchase the necessary equipment
As far as freelancing businesses go, some business types are going to need more investment into it than others. Three of the biggest expenses for photographers, according to Your Perfect Wedding Photographer, is equipment, online advertising and travel.
What makes your photography equipment the most important spend is that the quality of your work is critical. It’s a visual that is going to influence your business getting further work as a result. You can have the best marketing strategy in place but if your work isn’t great quality, then it’s unlikely to flourish in the way you hope it would.
Photography equipment is not cheap and as you build your business, there may be new cameras and accessories that you want to buy. Cameras don’t last forever either, so purchasing more modern equipment will be needed as time goes on.
Start making a list of what you need for your freelancing photography business. The equipment might be pretty basic, to begin with but as you build up a client base, this will be something you can further invest in as more profit comes in. Here are a few suggestions on what equipment you should get.
- Separate lenses
- External hard drive
- Memory cards and cardholder
- Batteries for cameras
- Filters and lighting
- Cleaning supplies
This list is only the bare bones of what you’ll need, so it’s worth having a bit of saving ready for that initial investment into your equipment.
3. Create a portfolio of evidence
As a photographer, visual evidence of your work is key. It’s going to influence where your work gets seen and who it’s seen by. The bigger a portfolio you have, the more opportunities you’ll have when it comes to marketing your business but more on marketing further down below.
When it comes to a portfolio, it’s good to have both digital and hard copies. A hard copy of your portfolio will be useful when you’re meeting potential clients for the first time and showing them through your work in a meeting-style environment. It might be better for some clients to be able to see the photography in a bigger format.
For a digital portfolio, there are lots of ways you can provide this but most commonly, many freelancing photographers and photographers alike will set up a website. Using a platform like WordPress is likely going to be one of the better options. You may also want to create some form of downloadable portfolio too that provides a brief overview of what you have to offer.
A portfolio is going to make a real difference when you’re just starting out and perhaps have very few clients or work to begin with. Always have your camera ready to take photos both in a professional environment and for those times where you’ve found something worth capturing for your portfolio.
4. Start marketing yourself as a service/business
Marketing is an important part of running a business because without it, how can you expect your potential customers to know that you exist?
How to start a home business from home, think about how much you are willing and can reasonably spend on marketing your business. From social media coverage to paid advertisements across the web, the more advertising you can do for your business, the better.
There are also plenty of opportunities to market your services organically too. It might be worth featuring as a guest across other websites or forms of media. Referring your services to friends, family members, and ex-work colleagues may also be handy to do.
Marketing your business is something you’ll want to do constantly, regardless of how much your business has grown. There’s always a need for advertising to bring in more income over time.
Like any business, you also need to think about certain templates you’ll need to create. From drafting up invoices to contracts, they’re all essential for protecting yourself. Whether it’s a wedding photography contract template or a client contract for social media content, it’s important to know all the necessary information needed for these documents.
5. Keep on improving your craft
As a photographer, improving on your craft is important. There are lots of courses and training that you can look at as a photographer to better your skills and talent. By investing into your training and experience, you’ll have more of an opportunity and reason to increase your prices when necessary.
Not only that, but it may open up more opportunities to those who are looking for the level of service you provide. If you’re dipping into various different photography niches, you may see a lot more opportunity in who you’re approached by and what projects you work on.
In order to grow your business, a willingness to invest in it is essential. It can help continue your freelancing success and may help avoid failure within your business in that first year or so. There are so many great courses out there both in-person and online. A great place to starting looking would be a School of Photography
Top tips for being successful as a freelancer
Organize your time
Being organized can certainly help with the success of the business. Having a structure to your day can ensure everything gets done that’s needed, whether that’s editing images for a client to pitching to new companies for collaboration.
If you’re notoriously bad at organizing, then there are plenty of online tools that can help you better your organizational skills. Platforms like Asana are good for freelancers that need to create lists and timelines.
Manage your money carefully
Managing your money is a challenge with any business. It’s critical to keep your cash flow healthy in order to pay your bills and to keep a roof over your head.
Not everyone manages their money effectively and that can impact the stability of a business. So with that in mind, be conscious of how you spend your money in order to keep your finances healthy.
Network, network, network
Networking is a beneficial part of any business and this can open up doors to new collaborations and clients. Always lookout for opportunities to network with those in the industry as well as those that might be interested in what you have to offer. Every conversation has the potential to boost your business.
Know your worth
There will be tougher months than others where you’re not earning as much. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse to drop your prices in the hopes to secure more work. Knowing your worth is important because there may be certain industries that are willing to pay more than they are letting on.
Your prices are also something that will change as you build your business and experience. Charge what you feel is a fair price for your services and the right people will be willing to pay for your talents.
If you’re considering a career or freelance photography then now is the time to make it happen. Use these tips to help start your business this year and to do something that you love and feel passionate about.