Becoming a Freelance Photographer in 6 Steps

If you think you’re a dab hand with a camera and have a keen eye for the finer details, moonlighting as a freelance photographer may be the solution to help you out of your career rut.

If it’s a path you’re considering, abide by these top tips before you start to have the best shot at a successful freelance photographer career.

1. Upgrade your camera

This one you may have guessed!

Unfortunately, if you’re planning on becoming a freelance photographer, your smartphone camera will simply not do as you’ll need some slightly more heavy-duty kit.

There are hundreds of choices out there, so do your research and speak to other professional photographers. Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn will have great advice – make sure you get all the advice available before you make a final decision.

2. Get the knowhow

Take classes if you don’t have experience, then join a group and even enter competitions. The more accolades you have to your name, the more easily you’ll be able to find clients.

Of course, you can’t wait until you know about everything until you start your freelance business – you’ll never begin! Instead, you should learn at least the very essentials you’ll need to begin, and continue to learn as you go. Learning on the job will mean you learn much more quickly too, and you’ll have the regular hands-on experience to help you remember what you’ve learnt.

3. Create a portfolio

A portfolio is your visual CV for clients, and it has to be top notch. If you struggle to create one yourself, you could ask a techy friend for help or even get help from a freelance web designer to create a stunning portfolio site that will be sure to catch your clients’ eye.

There’s no such thing as too soon when it comes to creating your portfolio, so get snapping away and find some great subjects you can add to your collection.

4. Consider extra equipment

Printers, lenses, lighting and tripods. There are hundreds of accessories and extras you can get depending on what type of photography you’re doing. These aren’t all necessities, so keep an open mind and don’t splash the cash too soon.

No matter what your resources are, learn to do the best you can with what you have. This mentality over the ‘it could look better if I had…’ will make an impression on your work and mean you put just as much effort into each piece, no matter whether you’re using an old Polaroid or a DSLR.

5. Gain a social presence

A large social following isn’t a necessity from the offset, but it will help you when you’re trying to get work seen by clients. A good Instagram account alongside your portfolio will serve you better and give clients an in-depth look into your work.

Start experimenting with photo platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, and follow photographers with a similar style to help you get ideas on what direction you want to take your social media in.

6. Find your speciality

You may take your photographic influence from a handful of people, but don’t forget that you need to put your own stamp on work if you want it to be original and you want to make money!

Find a technique that’s your signature, and play on it. It’s these differences that make clients love an individual’s work. If you make something memorable, you’ll have them recommending you to their friends too.

Thinking of taking your photography skills freelance? Leave your experiences in the comment section below!