How to Begin a Career as a Freelance Photographer

There are many people that love to take photos as their hobby. The photography hobby can be relatively inexpensive or it can be hobby where you can invest a lot of money on. It all depends on what kind of level you want to achieve. If you like to achieve the semi-professional level you need to invest in all kinds of expensive equipment. There are many “amateur” photographers who are already working on a semi-professional level and for them it is a small step to become a freelance photographer.

So if you love photography that much as a hobby, why don’t you try to make a career out of it?

What is Freelance Photography?
This is simple. A freelance photographer is someone who gets paid for the photos that he or she takes. First of all a freelancer is independent and doesn’t have a boss (of course a client can determine some terms, but the freelancer determines if he/she want to take on the project.) A freelancer can do projects for client or take photos and then ask clients if they want to buy them.

Learning to Take Good Photo
The success of your freelance photography career all depends on quality of the photos you take. So, maybe it is wise to take some courses in photography. You could for instance:

  • Go to school to get a degree in the art of photography.
  • Follow some classes in your local community centre or college.
  • Follow an online course.
  • Etc

The course you should take will all depend on the level of experience you already have.

Tip: you should follow one of the many groups online dedicated to photography and freelance photography.

Building a Portfolio
A portfolio will show samples of your work and every freelance photographer needs one.

Even if you never have published anything, you still need a set of your best photos in a portfolio.

A portfolio is a dynamic thing; photos are taken out and put in. So, don’t forget to update several times a year, especially if you also have an online portfolio. (The online portfolio and off line portfolio should be the same.) And remember only your best work should be in your portfolio, not only the published once.

How to find work
Because you are a freelancer you have to find your own clients. There are several (parallel) roads you can follow to find some photography work:

  • Bid on projects on one of the many freelance job websites.
  • Submit photos to your local paper.
  • Submit photos to magazines.
  • Sell your photos online on your own website.
  • Sell your photos online on one of the many photo selling services. Take look at this article Sell your Photos Online for more info.
  • Etc.

Note: with parallel we mean that you can do several of the described options above at the same time.

Don’t expect to make it big time right away. Only a few people will make it to the absolute top, but you can still make a nice living from freelance photography.

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