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Over the past four years or so, many people took up freelancing as a way to earn a living. A large number of these decisions were based on the shape of economy and the financial crisis that struck the world. Many newcomers were left jobless; their security and prospects suddenly went away and they were forced to sink or swim. So the one thing left to do for many of the people severely affected by the crisis was to resort to self–employment and freelancing. Of course, it was a new thing for most of them, and many panicked right from the beginning and made a series of mistake that ultimately ended their freelancing careers in photography prematuely. It’s natural to make mistakes when dealing with a new way of life and work, but I think you’ll agree that the fewer mistakes made, the better. Unfortunately, the life of a freelance photographer involves many more decisions than aperture settings, exposure and number of flashes. Many of the decisions you make in your freelancing career have to be made quickly, without much time to process things in your mind. This is when having a set of personal rules and principles helps a lot.
Know what you’re going for
Regardless wethe your journey into the land of freelancing begins because you want it to or because it has to, it is very important to manage your expectations in such a way that you should always have a realistic, clear view of your goals, both short and long term. Your head will be filled with questions that will seem to pile up each day, but answer them with patience. Most importantly, know what kind of photography you want to do for a living and how to gather the resources necessary to do so.
It is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your photography career has a good chance of lasting a long time. Flexibility means being able to make sacrifices like photographing things that bring you less joy and fulfillment, but pay the bills and put food on the table. There are quite a few examples of photojournalists or even war correspondents that turn to wedding photography in order to secure a comfortable day to day living and gather the necessary funds for personal projects. This is what flexibility is all about.
Never give up without a fight
Like most of the other industries, photography took a powerful blow during the economic crisis and a lot of photographers who stayed in business had to make serious price cuts. Things are starting to look better, but it is still going to be some time before the photography business will be as healthy as it used to be. With that said, many potential clients have been cutting photography budgets and negotiations are becoming more difficult. You should never negotiate with a client on the phone and when you meet in person, even if they say no to your offer, don’t let your eyes go down to the ground. Keep negotiating and reminding your potential buyer of what is to be gained from working with you. As mentioned earlier, it takes a lot more than being a good photographer to be a successful freelancer. Part of it is having this ability to recognize a sale that can be salvaged despite being confronted with a rejection.
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