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Freelance photography is an exhilarating career choice that will allow you to work for yourself by taking photographs for clients and businesses on a contract or a self employed basis. There are always risks associated with working for yourself but the benefits of the lifestyle far outweigh the costs and so with a good dose of determination, talent and the ability to continue learning new things, you can be sure that your career will be a success.
A freelance photographer can work in a wide variety of ways. A freelancing photographer can choose to work from their own studio as a portrait photographer or in partnership with businesses as a marketing and advertising photographer. The possibilities are almost limitless and the path you decide to take will depend on your skills, specialties and training.
10 Types of Freelance Photography that You Can Start Today.
There are many fields or niches that you can focus on working in as a freelance photographer. Every niche is unique, and although all of them require a camera and some good skills, you will have to use different methods to find projects and paying work in the various fields of freelance photography.
- Portrait and Family Portrait Photography. This is one of the most common types of freelance photography and with a high and continuous demand for portraits you can expect to make a good income. You will probably need your own studio to make the most of the opportunities in this field of freelance photography. To find new clients you can make use of the massive reach of social media but you will also need to network locally and build up a good word of mouth reputation to sustain sales over time.
- Weddings, Concerts and Party Photography. Event photography is an extremely diverse field to work in and you’ll never be doing the same thing twice! You can work for large companies or private weddings and parties. Good networking and communication skills are essential in this line of work but with some good marketing you can be very successful.
- Social Media Photography is a booming sector of freelance photography. Anyone who has been on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest will know that the businesses which stand out from the crowd always have great posts, advertisements and announcements that are packed with engaging pictures and images. This is where you come in, because great photographs really help to sell anything from holidays to high tech gadgets. You can get some great regular work taking marketing and advertising photos for small to medium sized businesses, and as you become more well known, you can move up and work on a contract basis with large corporations.
- Fashion photography is an exciting and fast moving industry that is extremely competitive but if you start out by offering your services to local boutiques and fashion stores you can easily get your foot in the door. If you come across small businesses that don’t have a large advertising budget but want your photography you can also negotiate and trade an hour of your work for an in store discount on their products. To boost your own business make sure you are advertising on social media, including LinkedIn which can be a great route to finding further work for freelancers everywhere.
- Landscape and Nature photography is a great niche to get involved with and although it can be difficult to make money at first if you have a passion for the great outdoors and enjoy working alone then this could be a great choice for you. To start to make money try to get down to local art fairs and approach vendors as well as galleries to see who can sell your work on your behalf. It’s vital for you to have a solid portfolio and some prints that you can take around with you in case you are presented with an unexpected opportunity.
- Photojournalism is a tough market to break into but if you have an interest in politics and keep up to date with the latest news stories you can really make a splash. Some paparazzi photographers can earn thousands of dollars for a single photo of a famous celebrity but you can also make a good living covering major political events and important world events. Networking skills are vital to make it in the competitive world of photojournalism.
- Real Estate and Property photography is the bread and butter for many freelancing photographers and you can get into this industry with relatively basic equipment. You can earn anywhere from $150 to $1000 and above for taking real estate photos of a single property for an established realtor. Start out by approaching local realtors and offer them your services. Once you have built a reputation for high quality and timely results you can expect regular work. At the very beginning you can practise on the properties of your friends and family to build up a portfolio to show to potential clients.
- Food photography is a growing trend online and more restaurants are beginning to take advantage of this. To get started you can visit a restaurant and take some high quality photos of the building, the bar and the interior, the food and other unique features. Later you can post your photos to their social media pages and say they can use it in their advertising. If they like your work you can later offer to provide images for their advertising, menus and social media presence. You can offer a price per photo or else design packages that you can market to potential clients.
- Stock Image photography can provide you with a consistent income although you may not earn the big dollars. Depending on the niche you enter, you can upload to sites that provide royalty free images and earn anything from a few cents to several dollars per image. You can also get donations from people who have downloaded your images. You probably can’t make a full time living in this way but you can certainly do this as a side hustle while getting the opportunity to find out which of your work is the most popular with the public.
- Travel photography is the dream job for anyone who loves to explore the world and visit new countries. Travel blogs and websites are always looking for photography for their articles, advertising and social media and so if you are taking fantastic photos of far away places you can always find a good market for your work.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Freelance Photographer.
The competition can be really tough in the world of freelance photography but with some good networking skills, an entrepreneurial spirit and a good work ethic you can make a fantastic income while living your dream life!
The Disadvantages of Freelance Photography.
- The competition is really steep and it can be hard to find your feet when you first start out.
- You will need to provide your own equipment which can be expensive and depending on what sector of freelance photography you are going into, you may have to rent a studio as well.
- You’re going to need good discipline and be prepared for rejections, fluctuations in demand for your work and the difficulties of running your own business.
- You are not going to have a steady income like you would if you are employed full time.
The Advantages of Freelance Photography.
- With no boss you are responsible for your own timetable which means you can work flexible hours to fit around other commitments you may have. You can work full time or if you have another job you can work part time or just on the weekends.
- The potential earnings of a freelance photographer are excellent. Many freelance photographers earn far more than the average salary in America but reaching this level will require hard work and dedication.
- You will be paid to do something that you love! Following your passion and being able to make a living from it is the dream life of many and you’ll feel lucky everyday when you get out of bed!
- There are amazing opportunities that become available to you when you work as a freelance photographer that might take you to special events, allow you to travel overseas and meet other people who are passionate about photography and the arts.
How to become a successful freelance photographer.
Becoming a successful photographer will require dedication and hard work, a passion for what you do and a creative, entrepreneurial spirit to help you make good business decisions.
It’s important to choose the correct niche for your freelance career. Think about the skills that you have, the markets and available types of work near to you and how you can add something unique to the field and you will be well on your way to making the right choice. Don’t forget that you can specialize in more than one area, although when you’re starting out it may be best to focus your attention on one at a time to give yourself the best chances of success.
It is also very important to think about how you are going to generate leads. There are many freelance photographers in and around Philadelphia who advertise their services using a website. This might work for established freelance photographers. But if you are starting out, you should also think about including a blog in your website where you post articles periodically. Otherwise your website will not generate traffic. You should also think about generating leads using social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook.
Always be willing to learn new skills from other professionals or learning resources that you can find online, in books or at public workshops. Be prepared to be adaptable and responsive to changing market conditions and no matter what, never lose faith in your own abilities even if you face rejections and disappointments on your journey.