How to Become a Freelance Photographer

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Step 1
If you don’t already have graphic design skills, hire someone to create a website portfolio that showcases your best pictures. One of the first places potential customers will go is online to see your work! Work out a barter/trade with an up and graphic designer, make-up artist who needs to build his/her portfolio as well. The more professional your website and images, the more you’ll get hired.

Step 2
If you don’t have a diverse grouping of photos, ask your friends to sit for you (if you aspire to do portraits). Bring your camera to a friends’ wedding and snap some shots there (if you aspire to do wedding photos). Take a road trip, bring your camera and snap some awesome shots (if you aspire to do nature/landscape work). Regardless of the type of photography you want to do, it’s essential to be constantly building a diverse portfolio that showcases your talent to potential customers.

Step 3facebook_Thumb.jpg Once your website is top-notch, start marketing it! Send out announcements to your entire rolodex that you have opened up a freelance photography business. Put up samples on your facebook/myspace page. Create a “group” on one of these pages that people can join to automatically get notices when you’ve posted new work (which you must actively update).

Step4
Create business cards with your preferred professional contact information and the website. With every client that you work with, make sure you give them your business card! You can even give a couple of extras and ask them to spread the word to their friends, associates.

Step5MarkKochanowiczHeadshot5150dpi_Thumb.jpg If you live in a city where headshots are a business (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco)- congratulations! Work out a package deal especially for actors. Depending on their price range, offer color adjustment, size adjustment, blemish removal, etc. for an extra cost. Have them pay by the hour or the number of frames. The better you get, the more you need to raise your prices! And actors (successful ones) are by default well-connected networkers… ask them to pass on your name if they like the final product! Offer a reduced cost if they’d like a second shoot in a couple months (if for instance they get a haircut, etc.)

Step6
Join networking groups! Make friends in the industry! If one photographer can’t make it to a gig, they will often refer their talented friends in their stead!

Step7RegionalNetworkingGroups_Thumb.jpg Connect with artists in complimentary fields and create team packages! If you know a make-up artist, ask him/her to advertise that you are available to photograph the look for memories, etc. Other complimentary fields: – Wedding Planners – Hair Stylists – Modeling Agencies – Event Planners – Clothing Designers/Fashion.

Step8
When any one of your clients posts their pictures online, ask them to give you credit for your work and ideally provide a link to your website.

Step9
In this business, it’s all word of mouth! Assemble a list of people you know who might be interested in using your “services.” Who do you know that could benefit from your talent? Do you have a friend getting married soon? Do your little sisters’ friends need prom pictures?

Step10
Reach out to as many INDIVIDUALS as possible. Mass emails and mass text messages only go so far when it comes to actually booking a gig. Pick up the phone! Write a personal message!

Step11
ANOTHER MARKET AREA: Corporate Headshots! Executives need professional photographs for their company websites, etc. Contact a company and offer to do a one day photoshoot where you set up in one area, and simply schedule through all of the executives in one day! Pay per executive or per shot. You should request extra if they’d like retouching, etc.

Step12benchsmall1_Thumb.jpg ANOTHER MARKET AREA: Real Estate Brokers! Have you ever seen those benches on the side of the road advertising a real estate agent? Notice how their business cards almost always include photos? They need to self-market as much as you do! Call a company and let them know your services are available!

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