There are too many things that a new photographer has to learn. Learning the ropes is long and hard. It is more than just the Rule of the Thirds and proper lightning.
If you are considering going freelance, things become even more complicated. Solo entrepreneurs has to be able to tackle what seems to be too many balls. At least you must know what it takes before taking the plunge. Here are my 2 cents. Take them if you want, disregard them if you have to, but at least make sure you know about them. You can always buy me a beer later.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
Things I wish I knew before I started freelancing:
- You can’t be everything for all people. Be selective. Find your passion, your niche, find out what you absolutely love photographing. Then become THE best in that. Mediocrity won’t cut it. There are simply too many other professionals that have more experience, better knowledge and better connections. Find what your aces are and use them.
- Know your target customer well, and your competition better. I rephrased an old saying here, and that is exactly what I want you to do. Make your research and then act accordingly.
- You should be more a savvy business person, rather than great photographer. I know well too many incredible photographers that earn pennies due to bad marketing. On the other part of the spectrum are quite a lot bad photographers making fortune simply because they are great at marketing. Make sales through other channels as well. Having a contract with gallery helps a lot.
- Have at least a 6-months money buffer in the bank. I can’t stress enough on that point. Having enough money to cover your food and shelter for a while is a must. Otherwise you would be forced to make decisions just out of necessity, not because you want to!
- Focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Use the maximum of your resources.
- Having a support network helps a lot. Even a single dedicated fan makes a lot of difference. It might be your best friend, your spouse, or even your own mother.
- Know your price and stand up to it. Don’t sell yourself short. You will have to explain your customers a million times the difference between hiring a professional and handing the camera to a friend’s kid.
- Always looking for new clients and new jobs requires a lot of strength and endurance. Make sure you keep a loyal hoard of clients as it is much easier to receive work from them.
- Your costs will be higher than you initially estimate. Always count in contingencies. Plan for the worst case scenario.
- Learn how to systematize and always look for ways to improve your workflow efficiency. You will have more done in less time.
Here are my 10 tips for you. Do you want to add something? What did you wish you knew before starting freelancing?