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All About Freelance Photography

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 12 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
All About Freelance Photography

Largely due to the Internet, almost anyone can sell photographs and consider freelance photography in this day and age. However, to do this kind of work professionally is very different from selling a few odd photographs every now and then. You’ll need to build a portfolio, cement a client base and decide if you want to specialise in any form of photography.

Building A Freelance Photography Portfolio

A freelance photography portfolio should show off your body of work to date. It should showcase your photography abilities, different skills and techniques, how you photograph different subjects and the work you have done for several different clients. This means that you will need to select your best photographs from all of these different areas, particularly if you want to create a freelance career in many different areas of photography.

If you already know that you want to specialise in a specific type or subject of photography then your portfolio may be slightly less diverse, but you’ll still want to make sure that you include photographs from many different clients so that no one will be left wondering if you had only one great photo shoot in your life.

Cementing A Freelance Photography Client Base

Freelance photographers generally sell their photographs to multiple outlets, meaning that they usually have a wide and varied client base to sustain them. This is important given that a market can close or a client stop buying photographs at any given time.

Some types of a clients are a given, for example newspapers and magazines always need photographs. Some specific markets, such as a National Geographic Magazine, are even famous for their photographs. Individuals can also be great clients when they require family portraits, wedding photos or professional photographs. To reach these clients, photographs will want to market themselves and provide samples of their work for others to see.

A formal portfolio is great to bring along to client meetings, but displaying some work on a website or ‘blog is also a great way to reach potential clients around the world or to include a link when communicating with markets and clients for the first time.

Specialising For Freelance Photography

Some freelance photographers find that specialising, or focusing on just one area of photography, is a way to make a name for themselves. For example, some photographers may specialise in portrait photography, some may specialise in photographing animals and some may specialise in photographing their home country or locations to which they travel.

It can happen that a specialist photographer becomes so well known for his or her photographs that clients begin to come to him or her and the need to advertise and search for new markets and clients diminishes. However, this will likely not be the case at the start of a freelance photographer’s career so marketing, submitting to markets and contests and answering job ads will remain important.

Freelance photography is a career that someone may choose or a career that develops later in life out of a love of the craft. Whether you study photography at a formal level or indulge in it first as a hobby, there is always the potential to make money from selling photographs.

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