Starting out as a freelance photographer can be pretty daunting, especially in a city as competitive as London. There might be plenty of work in the commercial capital of the UK – but there are also plenty of rival photographers. So what will you need to do to not only survive, but thrive, as a freelancer in such an environment?
Freelancer survival tips
One of the huge advantages freelancers starting out today have over those who launched their careers years ago is the Internet. This is the most extraordinarily powerful tool for self-promotion there has ever been. Creating your own website is obvious but once it’s up, you’ll need to draw people to it using social networking. Start to engage with potential clients on LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter – show them who you are and what you can do for them.
Attach a blog to your site and use it to share content regularly – put up some of your best pictures and talk about how you achieved the shot. Write a little about the industry or other photographers who have inspired you. Position yourself as a thought leader or influencer with interesting opinions.
One of the hardest things when you’re starting out is knowing how much to charge. You don’t want to under-price yourself simply to get a job. You need to make enough to live on. But on the other hand, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market and let cheaper photographers walk away with all the work. Two things can help you in this respect:
- Find out every last detail you can about the job. Don’t get caught by surprise demands at the shoot and when you quote a price, specify exactly what’s included in the price. That way, if the client wants something additional, you can renegotiate your fee.
- Before you mention any figures, ask the client what budget they have for the project. This can give you a good indication of what you’ll be able to charge.
The no brainers!
There are some things you should be doing without anyone having to point them out to you. These include:
- Selling pictures via stock photography agencies – it won’t make you a fortune but it can help.
- If you want to be a professional, act like a professional. Even if you have no work on, spend the full day on marketing or promotional activities, or go out and take some shots for your portfolio. Don’t be tempted to stay in bed watching box sets while you wait for the phone to ring.
- Follow up on every single message, email and enquiry. Even the most unlikely seeming queries can sometimes turn into decent work.
- Be proactive in finding work – get in touch with local companies to offer your services, search out blogs that might feature your images, think about the sort of work you want to do and identify potential clients. In other words, chase down what you want – don’t wait for it to come to you.
And most of all, work hard and persevere. It might seem slow at the beginning but if you keep at and do the best you’re capable of, you’ll gradually build up a list of clients and those oh-so-valuable word-of-mouth recommendations.
About the Author:
Headshot London Photography studio in London, UK – consists of a group of professional London photographers. With many years’ of photography experience Headshot London often shares their photographic tips on how to achieve the best results during your photographic session. For more information, portrait, events or corporate photography tips please visit their blog.