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What Does It Take to Become a Freelance Photographer?

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Freelance photography sounds like one of the world’s dream jobs. You tour the world, meet great people, take brilliant photographs and sell them for cash. At least, that’s what most people think of the job.

Becoming a freelancer, let alone a photographer, comes with a lot of personal challenges that aren’t for everyone. When you mix it together with being a photographer, then you’re presented with a job that can easily make you absolutely nothing despite investing plenty of money into it. Your photographs might be terrible, they might not be picked up by any website, or they might just be looked over because you’re taking pictures of the same thing that thousands of others are. So what does it really take to grow a freelance photography career? Read on to find out.

The right contacts

Be it a location library and a couple of models to take pictures of or an agency that will help you sell your pictures, you need to make sure you’re well-connected with the industry in order to make the most of it. You can’t expect to simply take pictures, upload them and get paid for each one. You need to make sure your photos are actually in demand and that they cover a specific niche or industry. Contact the local press for freelance work, speak to stock photo websites and consider getting on social media to look for leads.

Ample experience

You can’t get good at photography without a lot of practice. Make sure you motivate yourself by taking plenty of pictures even as an amateur. You don’t want to let your skills dull and you always want to improve yourself by taking pictures and criticising how you could’ve done something better. Never consider yourself an expert after a few successful jobs and never stop giving yourself critique to build up experience.

Proper equipment

Don’t expect to become a professional photographer if you don’t have the right equipment. Some professional cameras can easily exceed £4000 and then you’ll need to pay for extra lenses, a printer, website hosting, memory cards and even an accountant to help you manage your finances. Don’t let those costs scare you off, however, because it’s possible to make a six-digit annual salary if you put in the effort. Photography is a freelancing career that starts slow but steadily progresses as you gain more recognition, making the equipment investment worthwhile.

Functional website

Without a functional website to expose yourself and give contact information, it’ll be hard to recruit you for your services. You also need a website to maintain a stunning portfolio in case people want to know what you’re capable of. It’s a no-risk way to grow your business and it will help you establish an online presence. It does cost a bit of money to host a good website, but it’s a worthwhile investment that will pay off in a very short time.

Hopefully, this brief guide has given you some idea on how you can become a freelance photographer. It’s a career path with a lot of choices, and it’s a job that presents you with a lot of freedom in what you want to do.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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SimonStapleton.com located at Watledge , Stroud, UK . Reviewed by 10,923 readers rated: 9.5 / 10
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