9 Effective Tips to Become a Freelance Photographer

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A Guide to Freelancing - 9 Effective Tips to become a Freelance Photographer - Morgan Nesbitt Creative Perth WA

I’m just going to begin with, this isn’t for the faint of hearted, being a freelance photographer in Perth, well anywhere really is mentally and physically draining. I should know, it’s what I do, let’s move on.

Do you have the dream of becoming a freelance photographer in Perth? Good, I assume you do since you’re reading this blog.

Turning your passion for photography into a successful freelance photography business can give you a lot of freedom, flexibility and fulfilment.

I’m experiencing it.

The hard thing when beginning is not knowing where to start.

Many successful freelance photographers in Perth start off by doing part-time freelance work, and then with consistency and hard work they gradually turn it into a full-time job.

Freelance photography can be different from most other freelance jobs, it comes with some very special challenges both internally and externally.

For example, photography is more than a job, it’s an art form. Photography requires a burning passion and skill to create and successfully capture the story of a subject or scene.

A second example is equipment, all the equipment you need as a freelance photographer are pretty expensive compared to other freelance businesses. To get started in a social media marketing business, for instance, pretty much all you need is a laptop and wifi.

To succeed at having your own freelance photography business requires a lot that’s for sure.

With that being said, I have 9 effective tips for getting some motivation behind your freelance photography business, so you can get it off the ground and really stand out as a freelance photographer.

In The Middle

Have an Online Presence

As a freelance photographer in Perth, the most powerful and important asset you can have is a professional website.

You’ll need a professional website to tell visitors what’s unique about you, your style and what you can do for them to help them achieve their goals or solve their problems as well as showing off your work and help you spread your message about your freelance photography business.

But your website can be more useful besides being a digital portfolio to showcase to the world.

You can also use your website to communicate with clients, schedule in photoshoots and manage orders if you sell prints.

The possibilities are endless.

Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment

You need the right tools for the job.

That means you need to invest in purchasing good photography equipment, so besides your personal skills, you can be confident in your ability to perform your jobs for clients.

I would personally make sure you have an up-to-date camera but spend a little more time selecting your lenses because having the right lens is so important for any freelance photographer.

Your lens choice is determined primarily on what niche photography market(s) you want to specialise in.

For example, if you’re doing more corporate photography, I would suggest purchasing a good 50mm or 85mm lens. If you’re doing more real estate photography I would say a good 16mm to 35mm lens would do the trick.

 Besides a good camera body and the right lenses for your style of photography, a flash, tripod, spare batteries, memory cards and an external hard drive would make up the main pieces of photography equipment that you’ll need to start your freelance photography business.

You may also need reflectors, diffusers, and lights in your photography kit to assist you in the different lighting conditions you’ll come face-to-face with.

Grow and Grow Your Portfolio

The one key thing every single freelance photographer needs to grow is a strong photography portfolio, so they can attract clients.

What I did when I decided to take the leap and what most freelance photographers do is work for free to grow my portfolio.

I found local models who needed portraits for their modelling portfolio and that way we both reaped the benefits.

It can be a hard grind, it may feel like you’re giving your time for no return, you just have to look at it differently.

When you’ve done some free work for clients, you’ll need to display that work in your portfolio on your website.

Add to that portfolio and keep adding to it as much as you can.

Get Out There and Get ‘Em

You’ve now set up your website, bought the right equipment, done some free work to build your portfolio, now it’s time to go get some clients.

How do you do that though? There are heaps of ways.

One of the most effective tools is social media, especially Instagram.

Start by engaging with your ideal clients, like and comment on posts, get to know them and give them the opportunity to get to know you.

Once you’ve gotten to know them, send them a direct message explaining more about who you are, what you offer and how you can help their business.

Remember though, timing is everything, you have to DM them at the right time.

Look After Your Money

This took me a long time to understand and control, to this day as a freelance photographer I still sometimes struggle with looking after my money.

The reason is for 11 years as a mechanic my wage was guaranteed, each week I would receive my pay by 5 pm each Friday.

 So, when I decided to resign to become a freelance photographer the security of a weekly wage was gone, just like that, it was all up to me to be able to earn enough money to pay my mortgage, bills, food, fuel and well life.

It’s a shock, it was scary, it still is.

But you quickly learn what’s important and what isn’t, you prioritise your life a lot better, in fact, I would say that the constant state of discomfort teaches you to do a good job managing the income and expenses for your freelance photography business and that eliminates a lot of that fear.

What I do is I keep my personal and household expenses separate from my business expenses and pay myself a salary.

That way, I will know exactly how much money I have leftover to invest back into my business.

Stay Organised

If you can train yourself to become extremely organised and disciplined you will become less stressed, more focused and more efficient and the quality of your work boom.

Once you start building your client base and then getting a steady flow of clients that need your photography skills and services, your list of tasks to complete each day will begin to mount.

It can become very overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just important to have a detailed schedule of tasks you need to complete each day.

I’m most functional and productive early in the mornings or late at night, my brain is mush come the afternoon so that’s why I task my work for each day to be done in the mornings or evenings.

I recommend you use ASANA. I use this platform to schedule my work and can honestly say I would constantly be behind if I didn’t.

I also use a good old fashioned whiteboard. It’s next to my desk and I can scribble everything down for each day and wipe it off as I go (there’s no better feeling than just wiping a completed task off the board, it’s so satisfying).

Deliver Your Best Work

Never settle with your work.

Never, ever, ever settle.

I think the best way to become a successful freelance photographer in Perth is to produce such jaw-dropping work for your clients that they would be a fool to not continue to use your services and that they can’t stop raving about you to literally everyone they know.

To do that, firstly, you should always edit and enhance your photos before delivering them to your clients but continue to evolve and develop your style.

I’ll say it again, never settle, always experiment, try new ideas, change compositions, make background adjustments, colour mixing, enhancing skin tone, use props for added effects.

NEVER SETTLE!

Continue to Learn

This is the golden rule, it applies to every skill you hope to learn in this life.

Always remain the student of your skill. If you think you’re the master and you know everything you will become stagnant, you’ll never grow and you’ll never get better.

Plus, no one likes a know it all.

Continued learning is important for freelance photographers because it forces you to raise the expectations of yourself and continually feed your passion for photography and your work.

I suggest studying an online course from Skillshare or Udemy, its affordable and valuable. I also think you should attend local workshops and meetups so you can have that face-to-face interaction.

You will learn new skills from other freelance photographers in Perth with different styles, but you’ll also have the opportunity to feel part of a community, grow your network, make new friends and get some love from your fellow freelance photographers.

Enjoy the Process

The lucky last tip and the most important.

Enjoy the process.

The journey you’re embarking on is going to have its ups and downs, you’re going have your highs and you’re certainly going to have your lows.

It’s all part of the process, enjoy it and remember that everything is going to be ok despite all the fear and doubt.

If you don’t enjoy the process and you’re constantly feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, angry and impatient you’re doomed, you’re just doomed.

Be patient, roll with the punches, keep your head up, stay heavily focused, keep moving forward and never, ever stop.

To become a successful freelance photographer in Perth is not a short game, this is a long haul so enjoy every moment of it because before you know it you’ll be exactly where you want to be.

In The End

Well, that’s it, that’s all I have for you at the moment, I know this one was a long one so I hope this blog helped you to understand my 9 effective tips to become a successful freelance photographer in Perth that I have and continue to use in my own journey.

If you would like to learn more about photography then feel free to check out my Pursuit of Photography blog.

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