How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Photographer



How to market yourself as a freelance photographer?

In today’s day and digital age, everyone can be a photographer and with falling prices of digital cameras, anyone can afford to turn this formerly known expensive hobby into a career. So how do you distinguish yourself as a talented and creative photographer from “just a guy with the camera?” 
You must showcase your talent – either via self-promotions or portfolio presentations, depending on which clients you are trying to attract. If you’re planning to sell your photographs to publications or stock agencies, you will need a self-promotion package. However, if you’d like to exhibit your work in an art gallery, then you’d most likely need to present a portfolio.

Self-promotion campaign: The goal here is get your name out and become prominent amongst your competitors. You want to show just how amazing and creative you are, and you want the photo buyer to hang on to your sample for as long as possible. Instead of sending a simple postcard, maybe you could send a z-fold booklet, a calendar with your photographs that a photo buyer can use all year round or a puzzle with your image. But, before you start thinking of creative ways to package your work, be sure to create an effective design. It is important that you chose the best image(s) from your portfolio in order to prevent the photo buyer from tossing way your self-promo. A photographer’s postcard shouldn’t have too much text because if your images are strong, they should be able to talk for themselves. Having your full name and contact information is simply enough – there is no need to indicate what genre of photography you specialize in as your photographs should be able to reveal that. The cliché, “less is more” is most true when it comes to designing self-promotional materials. 
Portfolio presentations: Once you’ve actually made contact with your potential buyers, they might want to see a larger selection of your work – your portfolio. The presentation of your work is synonymous with impact and professionalism. There are many ways to showcase your work: digital portfolios such as a Website, CD or DVD presentations and the print portfolios. To have a successful portfolio, each image must be chosen carefully, from the printing on best quality paper to ensuring each print has consistent sizing.

Print portfolio cases can be expensive, but it’s worth investing in if you want to distinguish yourself from competitors and to project pride and confidence. They are necessary for face-to-face meetings. Although print portfolios are great for creating a strong impact, they are time-consuming to put together and have a lack of portability. Size does matter when choosing the right portfolio – bigger images have a greater impact. Typical sizes are 11X14 inches or 16×20 inches. You can display your photographs mounted or unmounted. Most galleries/museums prefer mounted work. If you also have tearsheets, you may include these in the back of your portfolio. Tearsheets are often laminated and maybe scanned and resized as needed. 
Print Portfolio Checklist:?

– All prints should be consistent in size

– All borders should be consistent in color and size

– Remove all dust and imperfections

– Use only acid-free materials for mounting

– Trim tearsheets, mounting tissues and matte carefully

Online portfolios are a great way to market yourself because your potential clients can access your images anytime and anywhere in the world. The quality of your images is far more important than the Web design itself, so don’t spend all your time creating a complicated website or investing in a Web design service to do it. One of the must-have website features is an automated slide-show of your work that makes it easier for potential clients to view your images. Check out: www.urbanedesigns.net. The other advantage to having an online portfolio is the reasonable cost. You can register your domain name and get a host for $2.00/month at www.hostmysite.com. The disadvantages of having an on-line showcase are the low-resolution images and inconsistent monitor calibration. 
Disk portfolios are another way to showcase your portfolio and are least expensive to produce, easy to duplicate and allows you to be as creative as you want to be with a capability of incorporating multimedia. However, the downside to disk portfolios is the computer systems and software incompatibility, resolution and inconsistent monitor calibration. The majority of photo buyers use a Mac-based platform and so, creating disks that are compatible with Macs is a safe bet. 
As you gather ideas for your self-promotional campaign and portfolio presentations, be sure that all of your marketing materials match in tone and design. Your print promos should reflect your Web site. For advertising your work, visit Web sites such as www.workbook.com or www.blackbook.com.

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