Tag: Photography

Professional or Freelance Photographer?Professional or Freelance Photographer?



I’ve been freelancing for over 30 years doing stills, portraits, copy work, nature, and journalism. Why? Because it’s a hard market and I find if you don’t have the finances, patience, or persistence to develop your craft, then you shouldn’t quit your day job. Am I a professional? Only when I’m getting paid! Sure, I’ve done weddings. Everyone with a camera has done weddings. Did I get paid? No..it was a gift. Was it professionally done? I hope to think so. I certainly wouldn’t do it on a full time basis, because I’m NOT a professional wedding photographer. And what I’ve learned from this experience, I wouldn’t want to be. Most people not in the business have no clue what’s involved in providing a sucessfull wedding shoot.

I tend to use the term professional photographer loosely. I prefer “Freelance Photographer” because that’s what I really am. Yes, I do a professional job and provide what the client expects. But I don’t do it day-in and day-out. And I didn’t quit my day job (lol). My clients, if and when I decide to accept them, are very demanding and if they want cheap, I decline. As the saying goes, “good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t good”. In fact, my best advice to any aspiring photographer is to avoid job offers in the local paper or online classifieds. Start out as an assistant with an established professional. The people posting online are looking for cheap. That would be like hiring a novice pilot to fly me somewhere. I’ll be darned if I’m going to put my life in the hands of someone that doesn’t fly regularly and who isn’t listed in the Journal Of Professional Pilots (or whatever trade publication they use). It really does surprise me though, how many people are willing to hire just about anyone with a camera to capture their wedding or important event. Why would you trust that to Uncle Bob?

Although most freelancers are true professionals, they don’t necessarily have the experience you may need for your next project. Be sure to find out what their specialty is and ask to see a recent portfolio of their work. Just because they have impressed you with some of their best shots doesn’t mean they are impressive. Ask to see more examples of the type of shots you expect. If it’s a wedding, ask to see samples of numerous weddings to be sure the photographer is consistent or just got lucky. Remember, alot of freelance photographers don’t do this full-time and may lack the experience your looking for.…

Freelance Bidding Online: Creating a Killer ProfileFreelance Bidding Online: Creating a Killer Profile



So you’ve decided to give the freelance bidding sites a try. The first step, regardless of what site you have chosen, is to set up your professional profile. Your profile is important in two different ways.

 

The first is that employers can do searches on the sites for freelances that have the qualifications they’re looking for. If your profile is incomplete, or very general in nature, it is unlikely that your name will come up in a search for a specific topic or type of writing.

Avoid generalizations. “I can write about any topic” may sound great to you, but it doesn’t distinguish your talents from all the other writers out there. At the same time, you don’t want to be so narrow in expertise that it limits the types of jobs you are considered for. So, what’s the happy medium between the two? If there is an area of writing that you specialize in, such as grant writing or marketing materials, go ahead and state that in your profile description. If not, then decide what it is about your writing that sets it apart. Are you a great researcher? Are you clear and precise, or do you have a relaxed casual style? Use those writing skills to catch the attention of the type of client you are looking for.

The short profile description mentioned above is important, because it generally will show up in conjunction with your bids on projects. It needs to grab their attention in the first sentence. The next part of your profile to focus on is your experience. One of the key points here is not to limit this area to writing experience. List the different fields you have worked in: medical, educational, construction, retailing, real estate, etc. Also list other areas of experience or interest such as, homeschooling, crafts, fashion, automotive, etc. Employers are often looking for writers who have background knowledge in specific fields. Listing your fields of knowledge and experience can bring your name up in a limited search on one of those topics.

The third part of your profile is your writing samples. Make sure that what you post here has been carefully proofread for errors and well formatted. Provide a variety of article types as examples. A blog post and an informational article might be two different types. You might include a humorous piece and a news worthy piece, examples of the wide range of writing that you are capable of producing.

Finish off your profile with a photo. Seeing an actual face provides a comfort level when hiring a stranger over the internet. The photo doesn’t need to be professionally done, but it should be a clear simple head shot. You’ve completed the first step. Next week we’ll move on to the bidding process.…

How to Market Yourself as a Freelance PhotographerHow 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 …

Is Freelancing Right for Me?Is Freelancing Right for Me?



When I started as a freelancer a couple of years ago, I had no idea that this will become my full-time occupation and my major source of income. I started out of sheer curiosity but now I feel I have found the right job for me.

 


Being a freelancer can vary from great (as is in my case), to so-so (as is for many people), to devastating (as is for those who do not qualify to be their own boss). I don’t mean to insult anybody but being a freelancer is not for everybody. The fact that freelancing is fashionable or that you have heard of somebody, who has made a lot of money from freelancing, is hardly a serious motive for you to jump into the deep waters.

I have noticed that I am a role model for many people. While this is sometimes kind of flattering, I am usually annoyed when somebody copies my ideas and actions and later comes on sobbing that I have misled him or her. Yes, I know many people who have tried to make a living out of freelancing and who have failed because their judgment about their skills was somehow inadequate. In my opinion, some of the reasons why people fail as freelancers are as follows:

1.Lack of skills. When you have a full-time, 9-5 job you develop the skills required for this position and more or less you forget everything else, because you simply don’t need it. But when you work as a freelancer, you can rarely afford such a narrow specialization, even if there are a lot of projects, which require exactly the skills you currently have. No, I don’t mean that you should know 10 programming languages, 5 databases and operating systems, PhotoShop, Flash, and every other major technology on Earth in order to be a successful freelance programmer but you do need to know a lot and to maintain yourself it top shape. So, if you are not willing to constantly update your “knowledge base”, then a 9-5 job might be the better choice.

2.Inability to communicate. I work mainly with technical people and it is true that most of them do not know how to communicate effectively. Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule but generally speaking, the majority of people who have the technical skills for freelancing, have no sales and marketing skills, which are equally important. Sales, marketing and communication skills as a whole might be a small portion of the skills you need but without them all your technical expertise is void.

3.Time management and other organizational issues. Being your own boss means that you have to manage effectively your schedule. I admit that even for well-organized people “Deadline” is a dreaded word and often a deadline = a missed deadline but when you simply don’t know how to work, when you are most effective, how much workload you can handle, etc., failure is round the corner.

4.Poor English. English is the …

Some Fun Freelance Jobs to Bring in Some Extra MoneySome Fun Freelance Jobs to Bring in Some Extra Money



Job downsizing, lay offs, cut hours – there isn’t anyone I know who has not been affected by the economy lately but what others see as a bad thing I see as a GREAT chance to try to develop another job (potential career) on the side. for me as a nanny (only working 15 hours a week) it’s photography that is my fun side job and I’m quickly building a reputation around town as the best budget photographer- which is so much fun. Anyhow here are some other fun freelance jobs that you could try on the side (or full time if you’ve gotten laid off)

 

PHOTOGRAPHER– as I mentioned above this is the secondary (or freelance) job that I do in addition to my normal day job and I hope to do it full time in the future. all you need is a good quality camera and a computer (with a cd burner, color printer and an editing program). to start with you’ll need to set up a portfolio and possible a website – for more in depth tips on how to start a photography biz see my article on the topic. 

MAKE-UP ARTIST
– there are so so many people out there (including myself) that can do basic makeup but have no clue how to do the more fancy stuff like the smooky eye or the flawless foundation- you can make a good little side job out off lending your services to brides, photographers (or their clients), highschool students getting ready for a dance and a number of other events. You’ll need a biz card and a bunch of really high quality make up (working with numorous clients you might encounter people with face allergies to the cheaper kinds of makeup so be sure to invest in the good stuff) – see if you can shadow and help out with a current makeup artist to learn some of their tricks and tips.

MASSAGE THERAPIST– you need to get a degree for this- but there are several schools where you can achieve this in just a few short months. I’ve got a friend who does massage and she takes her table to the clients house AND has space for clients to come to her home, you can specialize in a certain type of massage or market to a target audience (like pregnant ladies) or just try to get whatever jobs you can. Free massage coupons are great to start out and get some references and maybe throw in some fun promotions like a free massage when someone refers three paying customers

EVENT PLANNER- this one is one of those jobs that you’ve gotta really love, the stress levels can be high- read as much literature as you can, talk with fellow event planners, maybe even volunteer to help them out for a bit to get the hang of it. Weddings are the biggest events that are in demand for planners, you may have to offer your services …

Guide to Wildlife & Nature Magazine Markets for Freelance WritersGuide to Wildlife & Nature Magazine Markets for Freelance Writers



If you know a thing or two about wildlife and nature, your niche in the freelance marketplace might be well served in these types of magazines. Many of the top wildlife and nature magazines are written primarily by freelancers, which is fortunate. They often accept unsolicited manuscripts and queries and are likely to take a chance on a newbie.

 

There are hundreds of wildlife and nature magazine markets if you take the time to browse the shelves. Of course, each focuses on a particular area of this broad subject, but that doesn’t limit the opportunities. You could write a kid’s nature article for Ranger Rick, then switch gears and write about kangaroos on Rottnest Island for National Wildlife Magazine. The possibilities are nearly infinite, specially if you like researching nature and wildlife.

Focusing on a Particular Region

Since you will need a unique topic to pitch to wildlife and nature magazine markets, you might consider specializing on the natural wildlife of a particular region of the world. For example, Amy Hentley is a UK-based freelance writer who has penned dozens of articles for major wildlife and nature magazines on habitats in Scotland. You could choose to write about your own neck of the woods or branch out to learn about somewhere else.

Focusing on a Particular Animal or Plant

Many freelance writers who target wildlife and nature magazine markets focus on a specific animal or plant. This can make your options less broad, but it can also earn you a popular name in the genre. For example, if you grew up raising horses on your grandfather’s farm, you could easily write about wild horses for Equus or Horse Illustrated. The same thing goes for a botanist who has studied rare vines and wants to publish a series of articles in Organic Gardening.

Focusing on Natural Resources

A very hot topic in the world of wildlife and nature magazine markets is natural resources, as well as the ecology surrounding the hunt for new fuel options and habitat destruction. If you consider yourself a wildlife activist — or even if you don’t — you could form a lucrative career writing for magazines about natural resources. Just make sure you stay on top of the news and include new developments in your articles.

Focusing on Photography

Perhaps you don’t enjoy writing so much as taking beautiful pictures of nature and wildlife, which could be a great way to target these magazine markets. Creating photo essays of a particular region or animal or plant is a great way to support yourself and gain national recognition. You’ll need to be able to write colorful captions and you’ll need professional photography equipment, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond your reach.…