What Is Freelance Photography?

Is taking photos an art you enjoy? Do you find yourself carrying around your camera, ready to take photos? Are family and friends asking you to take photographs for them? If so, you may be considering a career in this genre.

Freelance photography is the act of providing photos on a contract basis for different clients or as a self-employed photographer. This means you photograph subjects per contract or project as opposed to being an employee for a company.

Simply put, you are your own boss.

These photographers usually work photographing weddings, high school graduations, and other specific events, promoting themselves through their portfolios and social media to find new clients.

Does this sound intriguing? For many professionals in this field, this genre is just as amazing as it sounds. Let’s dive in and see if a career in this could be for you!

How Does It Work?

This type of photography is different from being employed by a company because a freelancer photographer must take on the duties and responsibilities an employer typically would have completed. Some of these tasks are legal matters, taxes, marketing, scheduling, etc.

These photographers are often photography business owners who create a marketing plan complete with a website and social media accounts where potential clients can inquire about services.

When just starting out, you’ll need to seek out prospective clients utilizing relationships with family and friends. They may join networking groups that could potentially create leads.

Having a solid freelance photography business plan, and delivering consistent results can help to create and grow word of mouth. Freelancers rely on good word of mouth to expand clientele.

Many freelance photographers focus on a specific type and style. These could include:

  • Wedding
  • Family Events
  • Sports
  • Corporate

Once a client and freelancer make the first connection, they must decide if the potential freelance photography jobs and freelancers style are a match. Let’s say your style and client vision are a match. It’s time to create a contract.

studio newborn landscape

Each job is unique to the type and style, and thus requires a unique contract. If your client is a bride you would send her a wedding contract. If you are hired to photograph a building for a real estate agent, the contract would be much different.

Even so, the contract will focus on many of the same concepts and should specify the details of the job. These are just some of the details a contract should cover:

  • What type of photoshoot is taking place?
  • When and where will it be?
  • What will the finished product be, prints or digital images?
  • How may the client utilize the finished product, and for how long?
  • When will the job be completed?
  • What is the photographers pay rate and how is it calculated?

Learn more about how to get started!

How Much Money Does a Freelance Photographer Make?

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This topic often brings about two other questions. How much money can I make as a professional photographer? And how much should I charge as a freelance photographer?

Both questions receive the same answer from me…  That’s up to you! According to Payscale.com, the average freelancer makes $25.08 per hour. However, there are many factors to consider when estimating your potential earning rate.

While your photographic skills and knowledge help to dictate the amount a client is willing to pay, it is not the only thing to consider. One of the greatest benefits is the power to choose how much or little you work. You make your own to do list, create your own schedule and set the limit on how much money you can make.

Since we are talking about setting the limit, just how do you decide what to charge for your services? Start by calculating how much your services cost you. Include all costs associated with your business in this calculation.

Do not forget to value your time. Another thing to consider is your competing market. What are other similar styled photographers in your area charging? Use this information to determine your own pricing model.

Many freelance photographers just starting out may find it difficult to build a clientele with their first pricing model. Don’t be discouraged. You may need to offer a special or discount to bring in your initial potential clients before charging your full price.

Read about 21 Profitable Types of Photography here!

Why You Should Consider Going Freelance

There are many reasons you should consider this type of photography if you love the art. First, you get to create your own schedule. This is a huge benefit to moms who want to be home with their children and earn some extra income. Or maybe you are a student needing some extra cash. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll have the flexibility to create your own schedule.

Second, you get to decide what type and style you want to focus on. In fact, you get to determine what your ideal client looks like, too! Do you want to photograph families? Maybe you want to snuggle newborns? Or maybe you would like to see your landscape or wildlife photographs in a travel magazine! These are all freedoms you can enjoy.

Another benefit is the ability to work where you are. Your office can become the local coffee shop while editing photos. Taking a family trip? You could place an ad to locate any potentials clients in the area you will be. You are your only limit!

As a photographer, you are entitled to all of the profits received from your work. Just remember to pay all of the bills associated with each job first, like those taxes!

The main thing to consider when thinking of pursuing a career in this type of photography is your love for this specific art. It requires hard work, dedication and drive to be profitable.

If you have these characteristics and a love for the art then this may be the career choice for you. But don’t give up right away when the clients do not flood in. Have confidence in yourself. Have confidence in your work. Hone your craft, and work hard.