How to Become a Freelance PhotographerHome Business Ideas Saturday, January 29th, 2011
Photography is a hobby for many people and some of them actually want to know how to become a freelance photographer to turn their hobby in a part-time or full-time business. A freelance photographer can be defined as a person who is commissioned by a client to take photos of events such as conferences, celebrations such as wedding and birthdays. A freelance photographer can also extend the service to people who need photos for passports or other government IDs or for companies that want to showcase their products in catalogs.
Why a Freelance Photographer is Needed?
Different people need a freelance photographer for different reasons. Families and individuals need a freelance photographer to capture high quality pictures of their social events such as a wedding or a graduation party. Small and medium size companies require a freelance photographer to click photos of their products for printing in catalogs or brochures. Professionals such as architects and interior designers may also need a freelance photographer to take pictures for creating their portfolio. Since most of them cannot or may not want to hire a professional photographer who comes at a much higher cost than a freelance photographer there is always a requirement for freelancers who can take good quality pictures at a reasonable price.
Freelance Photography Business Requirements
To start freelance photography business, you will need to have:
- An entry-level Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR or Digital SLR) camera
- Lenses according to the type of photography work that you wish to pursue. Wedding photography, for example, will need a different lens than the one used to capture passport photos
- A photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop
- Basic photo editing skills using a photo editing program. This is not mandatory as you can have someone else do it for you
- A high quality printer if you wish to print photos yourself or you can use sites like snapfish.com for ordering prints
- A small room with good lighting for studio if you wish to take up passport photography
Depending upon the type of photography that you choose, you will be working at various places which will involve traveling to different places. During the initial stages of your freelance photography business try building your portfolio of smaller jobs such as birthday parties. This will give you a hands-on experience and will also equip you with required skills for working in different situations and with different people. It is not a good idea to take up bigger projects such as weddings in the initial stages of your freelance photography business because you may be faced with lots of difficulties in terms of settings, location and people.
It is also advisable to know the tricks and rules of the trade before venturing into freelance photography. Passport photos, for example, have some specific guidelines about the size, backgrounds etc. and you should be well aware of them before taking photos for passports.
Apart from the core picture clicking activity, digital photography also involves post production and you should understand and plan your post production process very well. Since you will be taking pictures in digital format, it is also advisable to learn some basic photo editing using tools such as Photoshop. Unlike earlier times when photographers used film cameras and carefully composed each and every picture before pressing and releasing the shutter button, today’s digital cameras allow taking more than a couple of shots without worrying about film wastage. The ability to easily edit pictures later also make photographers click more pictures with digital cameras as compared to what they would have clicked with film cameras. However, working with lot many photos makes post production a very time consuming activity. If you wish to control the post production time, follow the basic rules i.e. compose the photographs carefully so that you don’t have to make many edits during post production. Also, consider learning and purchasing a software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements that simplifies post production workflow.
An ideal way to market your freelance photography business is to contact other complementary service providers such as caterers and event planners. You can also supplement services of bigger professional photographers who may not have time to take up certain jobs and ask them to pass such jobs to you. You can pay them a part of the free in return for the jobs received through them.
Since photography is one activity that you do for fun, one good idea for marketing your services is to take pictures at parties in which you are invited. You can take pictures of the party, create a small album of 10-15 photos with your business watermark on them and gift it to the host. Ask them to share the photos with people they know and refer clients.
Upfront Cost to Start
To start your freelance photography business, you will need to spend on a DSLR camera with good resolution, lenses, memory cards, and some basic lighting equipments. Apart from that, you need to have a computer with photo editing software and Internet access preferably. You will also need to buy a good quality printer if you wish to print photos yourself.
You can price your freelance photography services in various ways. One way is to charge an hourly rate and top up that with the cost of prints, travel etc. Another way is to charge a fixed amount for your time and services and a separate charge for each print.
Regulatory and Insurance Requirements
Freelance photography business does not have any specific regulatory or insurance requirements.
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