Years ago, while I was little, one of my favorite pastimes was to watch my father develop pictures. He was a freelance photographer (he used to have a ‘regular’ job, so this was something he’d do in his spare time). For a 20 something guy this was a pretty fun and lucrative hobby.
As time passed, he got into another hobby/small business venture, but I kept on thinking about the time he used to take pictures at various events and earn a decent buck while doing it.
So, today I’d like to present you with a new idea of a small business: turning into a freelance photographer
Who can be a freelance photographer?
ANYONE who has a decent camera and an eye for beauty.
This is a small business idea that can work great if you are passionate about taking photos, can learn some tricks and have the determination to become better each day. Sure, the competition is fierce, anyone with a camera can ‘play’ photographer, but still many people do take this seriously for some of the most important events and hire a ‘proper’ photographer. This can be you.
Your job will be to take ‘serious’ pictures (IDs, passports, insurance photos etc.) and also be hired for various events (weddings, baptisms, football games etc.), edit them in a specific software and then give the clients the photos printed on a DVD or whatever format they need.
What do you need to start?
- passion for photography – I mean, if you don’t like to take photos, don’t bother. You’ll take a gazillion of them each time, only to choose the best ones.
- a decent camera (or cameras) – you won’t sport the most expensive gear (unless you inherited millions), but you do need a good DSLR camera and some proper lenses. Tripods, filters etc.
- photo editing software – whatever works for you. Might do well with a free program (at least for a while) or a professional option, you choose what’s best.
- spare time – you will need to accommodate your clients, so it’s good to have that time.
- a studio area (if you don’t just do work at the clients’ location)
How to make money as a freelance photographer?
Your job will be to work with your clients for their events or to take photos for their IDs or any other legal work. You can work hourly based or charge a flat-rate. Some clients will want to pay for every hour, plus the materials used (photographic paper), others might fare better with a flat fee. When you think about this, calculate the approximate time you spend, your hourly rate and what you invest, so that you don’t come short and work ‘for free’.
How to promote as a freelance photographer?
It’s not that difficult to promote, there are various venues (some free, some paid) to showcase your work and entice potential clients to contact you:
- get in touch with local event planners.
- create a web site and showcase your best work
- join social media outlets (facebook, pinterest, linkedin)
- print flyers
- promote in the local papers or event-magazines
- place a decal on your car (what you do, website URL and phone number)
- let everybody know about your business
- be active in photography forums / blogs / networks
Being a photographer is easy: everyone can do it – give them a camera and it’s done. Doing this professionally is a different thing though and this will make you stand out from ‘regular joe’. Read books, join forums and take many pictures. Try to hone your skills and learn new things every day. As your business develops more, you can afford more gear and better software. Keep costs low and make sure you are making a profit.