How to become a freelance photographer
It doesn't matter if photography is just a hobby you take seriously or your full-time job, anyone with the right skills can become a freelance photographer. If you've been wondering how to get started with this profitable side hustle, then you've come to the right place. Taking the first few steps towards a new business is always the hardest, but once you've established the right direction to move in, everything will fall into place with a little bit of hard work.
Invest in the right tech
Photography requires a surprising amount of technology to get right. While you definitely need a good quality camera and lenses, you'll also need the right editing software and a way to share your images with your clients. It's a good idea to get to grips with this kind of software before offering any freelance services so you're not floundering on your very first job. Do a little bit of research to learn all about the benefits of an image library and find out how freelance photography equipment could vary from the kit you currently have.
Put together a portfolio
Showcasing your work to potential clients is how you're going to land jobs, so make sure you have an impressive portfolio in the field you want to work in. If you're planning on being a wedding photographer but haven't done that kind of work before, do a few voluntary gigs or ask your friends to model as a bride and groom. It's a big ask for a client to trust you without seeing your work, so show them what you're made of even if you won't get paid for it.
Creative professions typically require a lot of networking, so don't shy away from online and in-person events. Lots of magazines or small businesses may be looking for a photographer for a new product launch or feature, so introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Once your name is out there you may even get clients through referrals. Just make sure you have a professional website set up so that potential leads can find you easily.
Choose a niche
As mentioned before, your portfolio should be geared towards the kind of work you want to do – but make sure you do make that decision. While it might be tempting to offer photographs for anyone and everyone, it's much better to specialise. Areas like nature photography and food photography require a very specific skill set, so think carefully about how you want to market yourself.
You can offer a very general photography service, but be aware that the clients you get might not have the budget to pay you very much. Once you can show you're an expert in a certain field, you'll be able to attract higher-paying clients.
Don't leave your job
You might be eager to jump into your freelance career head first, but it's important that you have a stream of income to sustain you. Try to take small steps on a part-time basis before leaving your full-time job.