To make a living as a freelance photographer requires more than excellent digital photography skills, as this three-part PhotographyTalk.com article has emphasized. Your success is just as dependent on developing an entrepreneurial frame of mind and managing and marketing your business as taking pretty pictures. To understand your complete role as a freelancer, make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2.
Identify your markets and target audiences.
As with any business, you can’t be all things to all people. Know your strengths! Narrow your focus to the types of commercial photography you do best: portraits, weddings, magazines, fashion, outdoors/wildlife, landscapes, etc. List each of those types, and then identify and note the markets/target audiences that are most likely to purchase your work. Although people of all ages are married, if your specialty is wedding photographer, then your best target audience is young adults, not middle-aged adults. Once you’ve created your list, you can determine the best ways to promote yourself to those audiences. You’ll maximize the use of your time and the likelihood of finding new jobs by approaching only those audiences. That is the marketing process in a nutshell!
One of those promotional methods is to convince bloggers to use your digital photos on their Web sites. Offer to write a post about each photo that could include some tips your shooting style. You may not be paid for your photos’ use on blogs, but it will provide you with more exposure of your work and you can refer other prospects and clients to those Web sites.
Honor your promises.
This advice relates to tip #5, Use scheduling and to-do list applications, in Part 2. If you maintain up-to-date schedules and to-do lists, then you should never find yourself promising a client that his or her final DVD will be delivered on Friday, and then you discover you can’t. First, if you can’t honor a deadline, then contact your client immediately. The sooner you communicate the delay, the more time is available for you to suggest solutions...and still be the hero. Second, it’s almost always a good idea to add a day or two to any client-delivery date, if possible. Part of a well-maintained work schedule is leaving room for contingencies. Lastly, your clients will think you are very professional if you’re able to finish their projects before the promised deadline.
Finish jobs faster with the right editing tool.
Shooting the digital photos of any job is not the end of that job. In many cases, you’ll spend significant time editing those photos before you can deliver them. One of the ways you can maintain your schedule is to learn photo-editing software so well that you’ll finish jobs very quickly; and that starts by selecting the right software. Many photographers swear by Photoshop, while others find a program, such as Lightroom, a very intuitive alternative.
You are always a student.
Regardless of how proficient of a digital photographer you become or how much you succeed as a freelancer, you must schedule time for continuing education: photographic, editing and business. There are countless books, programs, seminars and online tutorials available. Do some research. Search some blogs. Ask your photography friends for referrals.
Being a freelance photographer and an entrepreneur is a daring life choice. There’s a bit of dice roll involved. Confidence is your most important strength. It will lead you through those slow days and when you make mistakes. Confidence is a character quality you can learn and develop. There is considerable material to read on the subject and, as strange as it might sound, taking martial arts lessons or participating in other physical fitness programs can help to improve your confidence; plus you’ll welcome the activity after sitting at your computer editing for hours.
There is considerable material to read on the subject and, as strange as it might sound, taking martial arts lessons or participating in other physical fitness programs can help to improve your confidence; plus you’ll welcome the activity after sitting at your computer editing for hours.