What Is Freelance Photography?

Is photography an art you enjoy? Do you find yourself carrying around your camera, ready to take amazing photos? Are family and friends asking you to take photographs for them? If so, you may be considering a career in freelance photography. But exactly what is freelance photography? This means you photograph subjects on a contract basis as opposed to being an employee for a company. Simply put, you are your own boss. Does this sound intriguing? For many professionals in this field, freelance photography is just as amazing as it sounds. Let’s dive in and see if a career in freelance photography could be for you!

How Does Freelance Photography Work?

Freelance photography is the act of providing photography on a contract basis for clients. This is different from being employed by a company as a photographer because a freelancer must take on the duties and responsibilities an employer typically would have completed. Some of these tasks are legal matters, taxes, marketing, scheduling, etc. Freelance 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, they will likely 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 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 of photography, such as wedding, family, or corporate photography. Once a potential client and photographer make the first connection, they must decide if the potential job and freelancers style of photography are a match. Let’s say your style and client vision are a match. It’s time to create a contract.

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Each job is unique to the type and style of photography, and thus requires a unique contract. If your client is a bride you would send her a wedding photography 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. 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 in freelance photography!

How Much Money Does a Freelance Photographer Make?

The topic of freelance photography often brings about two other questions. How much money can I make as a freelance photographer? And how much should I charge as a photographer. Both questions receive the same answer from me…  That’s up to you! According to Payscale.com, the average freelance photographer 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 of freelance work is the power to choose how much or little you work. You make your own to do list, create your own schedule andset 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 photography 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 clients before charging your full price.

Read about 21 Profitable Types of Freelance Photography here!

Why You Should Consider Freelance Photography

There are many reasons you should consider freelance photography if you love the art of photography. 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, freelance photography offers the flexibility to create your own schedule.

Second, you get to decide what type and style of photography 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 that freelance photography can provide.

Another benefit of freelance photography 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 freelance 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 freelance photography is your love for this specific art. Freelance photography requires hard work, dedication and drive to be profitable. If you have these characteristics and a love for photography 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.