Being a photographer is probably one of the most underestimated professions. Just like with writing, people believe that they can pose as photographers any time just because they know how to handle a smartphone camera and filters in photo apps. However, this profession demands actual talent and skills – yet still no one recognizes the potential of independent photographers. Luckily for photographers, many freelance websites offer a separate photography category, which makes it easier for companies to find the talent they need. These services have some extra features that come in handy to further establish your freelance photographer career.
Freelance Photography Work
Photographer gigs come in many shapes and forms: one such form is project photography, which is a highly popular and well-paying task. It is the companies that usually ask the help of a freelancer: when they need some good shots for the marketing campaign of a new brand of products or they simply need someone to record an event. Private individuals might also hire photographers to shoot some pretty landscapes for their collection or to immortalize them in a family portrait.
However, there is one thing in photography that makes it different from other type of freelance jobs: it’s heavily localized. Unlike writing, coding or designing, most photography projects cannot be done remotely, since freelancers need to be on the spot to push the button. That’s why most gigs featured on freelance sites are labeled as ‘local’ tasks, meaning that clients want someone within their vicinity to save on the photographer’s traveling costs.
Best Freelance Websites of 2020
The prices of photography gigs vary depending on the job. Although professionals often have their own pricing chart, most of the time it’s the client’s budget that determines the final amount. There are many different remuneration models that may be suitable: per hour, per picture, a fixed project fee… In addition, it’s important to ask yourself if you will also be handling the editing of the pictures you took, or do you aim to focus on the photography itself? It’s important to decide on this when kicking off your freelance photography business, in order to present your potential clients with a clear offering.
As for the communication between the two parties, clients should have a clear vision about the style or subject of the photos. This is why they can’t hire a photographer for a product advertisement job without proper instructions and just tell the freelancer to “make the stuff look awesome”.
Kicking off as a Freelance Photographer
An important first step in your independent photographer career is to choose a freelance site that caters to photography gigs specifically. Marketplace-type services, where clients can find your ads, or a project-based freelance site that notifies you whenever a new gig of your preferences is available are the best types of freelance platforms to get your first gigs.
Another important factor is to be flexible with your assignments. Sometimes PR agencies put out an assignment to cover an important event in your close vicinity, but they might ask you to do the picture editing after the event as well. In other cases they may want you to record video of the event as well, which may be feasible in case you don’t have to do the video editing afterwards unless you’re experienced enough for this. The point is that you should only agree to such extra requests if you feel comfortable and experienced enough to deliver the quality your clients expect.
To cater to special requests and to provide a unique service offering, master additional skills as well and don’t advertise yourself as a photographer only. A good freelancer also knows how to convince potential clients with the profile page: display a diverse portfolio of your previous work and make sure that your past clients leave a positive customer review.
Hiring a Photographer
Hiring a photographer is much easier than you think, since there are hundreds of eager freelancers out there. When creating an offer for a certain job, be sure to explain all details in the briefing; it’s even better if you put key info into the title to clarify things right at the beginning. Try avoiding people who are too far away from the destination, as they’ll probably ask you to cover the traveling expenses and you might end up with a high expense bill.
Before hiring someone for a serious job, always hold a brief screening and interview. Take a closer look at the candidates’ profile pages as well, since everyone displays their best work over there. You can also ask for additional samples during the interview in order to make the decision process easier for you. After a successful cooperation with the selected photographer, it’s highly recommended to rate the freelancer positively and leave some comments on his/her profile page. However, avoid negativity at any cost, since it can damage a freelancer’s reputation beyond repair: if you were satisfied, but still have some objective criticism, send it over via email.
Recommended Freelance Sites for Photographers
After going in detail about the dos and don’ts of the freelancing world for photographers, let us recommend three outstanding services worth considering.
Freelancer.com is like a giant work expo with millions of satisfied users and employers, and a wide array of categories, which includes photography as well. The basic premise of the site is that clients launch a project and freelancers submit their offer. Freelancer.com offers strong profile customization features for photographers, while companies can sort the available users by customizing the required skillsets.
PeoplePerHour (PPH for short) is a community-curated freelance talent website with a strong emphasis on creativity. Freelancer photographers will definitely feel at home here, since there are gigs with either hourly or fixed payouts and payments are put into an escrow, so clients can’t get away without paying. As for companies, they can use the downloadable app to conduct an interview and to monitor freelancers or exchange documents with them.
Upwork is a highly popular freelancer service for good reasons. First, it nurtures the relationship between clients and freelancers by providing professional tools for them. Second, there is a smartphone compatible app to access the service while on the go. And third, active freelancers can earn better ranks by completing tasks, and, eventually, be ranked above other photographers, meaning more assignments.