Some people dream of being their own boss: flexible timetable, freedom of choice, no pressure from a boss or colleagues, etc. But many simply don’t realize that working for yourself is hard work since it requires a lot of will power and dedication.
So here are some expert tips that might be of an interest to you if you are a self-employed photographer or considering becoming one.
1. Create a good with a daily blog
Your website is your major business card. An online portfolio is highly important since potential customers will consider hiring you mostly based on the quality of your work. The issue with a lack of photographic content can easily be resolved by finding budding models who are also wanting to build up their portfolios, or even your friends to pose for you. Your daily blog will not only enhance your portfolio, but it will keep your followers up to date and engaged in what you’re doing.
2. The scarier, the better
If a client offers you a job that is outside of your comfort zone – go for it! It will challenge you personally and give you invaluable experience. Do not be afraid of accepting intriguing job offers only because you have never done it before. A food photographer being asked to shoot a wedding? Why not, if it has the potential to bring you new skills, connections and add diversification to your portfolio?
3. “What is your budget?”
This is a brilliant question to start negotiating the price as you avoid over, or underestimating your work. When you are starting out, you’ll have an idea of how much you think your work is worth. However, it’s a good idea to let your client propose a price that they are willing to pay after your first few jobs. Think of this as market research. Once you have this insight, you should then work out all your expenses, e.g. travel and equipment maintenance so you can gauge your rates. Also, bear in mind that sometimes clients ask for additional work to be done and this is the case, it is reasonable to ask for extra pay.
4. Respond ASAP
Whether it is an email or a telephone call, be sure to respond straight away or as quickly as possible. It is important to remember that any enquiry you receive could be a potential job, so always be available to respond to them. Be clear, concise with responses and, obviously, be friendly to make a good first impression, which can be proved by your professionalism on the job.
5. Keep lists!
Lists will help you to stay organized and being organised should be the highest priority in any profession. Paper diaries and notebooks are out-of-date for number of reasons: they may be heavy to carry, or can easily get wet or, even worse, lost! In order to avoid slip-ups or missed opportunities, make your lists online using any of the numerous apps available today. You will be able to access them from any of your portable electronic devices and get instant notifications if needed.
6. Separate work time from your free time
When you work for yourself the work/life balance can be hard to grasp. Set a time each day for when you think your work should end and your downtime should start. Also, be careful with your time on the Internet! We often find ourselves lost in eye-catching “How-to” articles and funny cat videos. These are very time-consuming activities, which may distract you from your photography related work. Stick to your working hours rule and then you can allow yourself time for guilt-free internet surfing during your downtime.
7. Keep a consistent schedule
Schedule every day and stick to the plan. As there is no one to look after you, make sure you are a good reliable and responsible worker. A schedule will ensure that you meet your deadlines and don’t end up letting any of your clients down. Be stable and consistent in your work, and build trust with your clients – this will help you to grow as a professional.
8. Figure out where the jobs are supposed to come from (and go out and get them!)
Finding jobs is a two-way process: do not be a princess in a castle waiting for a miracle to happen. You must make the move and reach out to people. Simply try approaching people and projects that you might contribute to and offer your services. You could try asking bloggers for shoutout collaborations, which will introduce you to their circle of followers. Also, don’t hesitate to use your immediate network and constantly remind people of what you do, because you never know who might need a photographer.
9. Don’t compromise on professionalism.
Always try to do your best and meet your deadlines. Not keeping up with your work will have have a significantly negative impact on your reputation, which relies on reliability and responsibility. Plan ahead, turn up to jobs on time, with the right kit and looking presentable, be personable and approachable and interact with clients in a friendly, yet professional way.
10. Choose the proper software
Editing software is not exclusive as everyone has access to these programs, so download them yourself and make full use of them because it will save you a lot of time. Programs like Lightroom are very handy and pretty simple to use. Also, continue to enhance your skills by using the many free online learning resources that are available.
11. Join a team
It may take some time to figure it out that it is extremely difficult to work as a freelance professional photographer and earn a steady income. That’s why some people start to consider applying for jobs in a photography agency rather than continue as a freelancer. Nowadays companies tend to have quite flexible conditions that may well suit you. However, if you are not ready to work in an office based environment and want to leave some freedom for yourself, Splento would be the best option for you.
Splento is a new startup that launched in London last year, but has already become the leading platform for hiring photographers. Its model is focused on quick, professional, affordable photography. Splento follows a similar model to Uber and other on-demand services, using contractors, rather than employees, to carry out its photography services. These contractors are free to pick their own hours and do it alongside their other photography jobs, whilst still getting the same benefits that regular employment offers. if you are interested in joining us, please email us at [email protected] or fill out our online form.
Hopefully this blog post included all the information you were looking for. Did we miss any tips? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.