A guide to kickstart your career as a professional freelance photographer

A guide to kickstart your career as a professional freelance photographer

Begin your Journey

Aspiring photographers, are you currently enrolled at university or employed in a job you don’t enjoy? You might be able to make a good living by becoming freelance if you’re considering making photography your job. Many successful freelance photographers make a career by working as full-time contractors. Various individuals and companies are utilizing photography in various ways in the current digital era. 

Given the abundance of prospects in several photography genres, including commercial, fashion, product, travel, wedding, etc., there is a growing demand for professional photographers. Identifying your photography niche is the core point. As a photographer, how do you differentiate and highlight your best work from the rest of the photographers? Take action once you’ve identified your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Staying up to date with the newest trends in post-processing methods, social media skills, networking, and effective business models is essential for success in the ever-evolving field of freelance photography. It is also one of the best possible ways to find new clients.

In this article, you will learn about photography as a freelance career. How to ace photography skills during your free time and make money out of it.

Freelance photography: what is it?

Being your own boss includes freelance photography. As a self-employed photographer, your main source of income would come from taking on client assignments, managing several projects concurrently, and meeting clients’ photographic needs. If you have your own freelance photography business, then you serve as the manager, the spokesperson, the photographer, and even the office boy.

 There are many interesting obstacles and challenges associated with freelance photography. It gives you the ability to be independent and creative. Building your brand and potential clients requires you to invest all of your time, effort, and resources. Draw the attention of people to your work, make people remember your photos, and remember you when they see them which is the first step.

Professional photographers can work in a wide range of fields, including fine art, commercial, travel, landscape, and portraits.

Why do you wish to pursue a profession in freelance photography?

You want to devote your entire life to photography since you have such a strong passion for it. Here are some justifications for why you might like to:

  • It contributes to independence and freedom.
  • I enjoy taking photos constantly.
  • The adaptability of work schedule and place

Freelancing has its advantages, such as the freedom to work for yourself and do what you love. However, it does not guarantee a steady source of income, and it requires a lot of work to get started. When you’re starting as a freelance photographer or initiate your own photography business, it’s important to consider the risks involved, just as you would when starting a new company. While freelancing can be a great opportunity, it’s important to be cautious and make sure your efforts count.

If you’re considering a career in freelance photography and want to be successful, it’s important to understand that this path can be challenging. Working alone for long hours with little stability or guaranteed income can be difficult, and some people ultimately choose to give up.

However, despite the difficulties, freelancing can be an incredibly rewarding profession if you manage to make it work. As you gain experience, you’ll continue to learn and grow, and you’ll have the opportunity to earn more money. To improve your skills, consider getting to know more about photography tips.

If you are planning on freelancing while working another job, you should expect a busy schedule. Freelancing requires discipline, focus, and meeting deadlines, even though you’ll have flexibility in terms of hours and project operations.

One of the advantages and best way of freelancing is that you have the power to choose the clients you work with. If you are not comfortable working with a specific individual or company, you can decline the project. This could lead to higher productivity and better outcomes for both you and your clients.

What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want from a freelance photography job, make a plan for how you will present your ideas and business model to potential clients. How do you plan to market yourself? Put your USPs, or unique selling propositions, in writing.

Consider your unique qualities if, for example, you choose to pursue a freelance photography career in commercial photography and are also interested in street photography. Perhaps you might angle your shots so that they include metropolitan streetscapes. You can even opt for product photography.

Describe your photographic approach, your assets and liabilities, the gear you prefer to use, how much work you can complete in a given length of time, etc. Develop your ability to converse with others and hold meaningful discussions.

Professional freelance photographer Improve your photography skills

It’s a great thing to develop your photographic talents in a variety of ways, such as through an institution or online courses or with a professional photographer, if you want to become a successful freelance photographer. While you can enroll in online photography courses, graphic design programs also cover photo-editing techniques, and general art courses cover composition and color theory. You can showcase your skills on social media platforms and get to know more skills.

Additionally, enrolling in classes could be a great place to expand your internet profile, and network, as well as to learn from other photographers and artists. It can also help you produce more work samples for your portfolio, which will strengthen it.

Build a connection with your networks

You must put yourself through several picture shootings to expertise your photographic abilities and client-facing skills. Invite individuals from your personal or business network to take part in a photo shoot. This might be friends, family, or even people you know that want to be actresses and models. Expose your work through your online presence. 

To improve your abilities and get ready for important events, you may also offer to snap pictures at neighborhood events like birthday celebrations or talent shows. To attract more participants and expand your clientele, you can also find it useful to provide free photo shoots. This will be a good idea and you shall create your own personal website, so that you can highlight what you are good at, like whether you want to do wedding photography, event photography and so on. 

Getting Around in Diverse Environments and Dealing with Customers

Working in a range of settings, from packed events to isolated landscapes, is possible for a freelance photographer. To make sure that clients’ demands are satisfied, it’s critical to be organized, flexible in a variety of circumstances, and able to communicate clearly with them.

You may encounter many different settings and circumstances when working as a freelance photographer, some of which can be difficult. For instance, managing a busy space with shifting lighting during a wedding may be necessary, or working in a hectic, high-pressure setting may be part of a corporate event. Conversely, a nature photographer might have to operate in isolated areas with little access to supplies.

Buy the right equipment

You must first invest in the necessary photography gear before you can begin. A robust pair of lenses (for both short and long distances) and a tripod are essential, in addition to a good camera that best meets your needs and the kind of freelance photography you wish to do. To operate programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom (for editing), a laptop with the proper configuration is also necessary; 4 gigabytes of RAM is the minimum. To top it all off, you may need a convenient bag and tripod to transport your camera and charger with you everywhere.

A few recommended cameras for your freelance photography include the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark IV, Nikon Z6, and Canon EOS 200D/Rebel SL2. The Acer Predator Helios 500, 15″ MacBook Pro, and Dell XPS 15 are some of the laptops that are most suited for editing photos and videos. Also, you must be aware of the shutter speed of your camera. Ensure that your gear can meet the needs of a professional freelance photographer and is not out of date. For this type of work, your equipment plays a vital role in making your portfolio a strong portfolio.

To succeed as a freelance photographer, being adaptable and prepared for different situations is important. You may need to bring additional equipment or adjust your approach based on the unique challenges presented by each project. Communication is also key; effectively communicating with clients and understanding their needs can help ensure that you are delivering the high-quality work they expect.

By staying flexible and adaptable, you can take advantage of a wide range of opportunities and build a reputation as a versatile and reliable photographer.

Look out for possible channels

One of the most important things is that your target audience and the type of clients you want to work with. It should be determined based on the type of freelance photography you want to pursue. Jot down the different avenues through which you might spark customer interest. Construct customer groupings according to several criteria, such as their geography, industry, and spending capacity.

Several online platforms provide freelance photography services. Below are some of the best ones:

  •  Fiverr: This platform is recognized for its affordability, fast delivery, flexible pricing, and a wide range of photography categories.
  •  Upwork: For long-term projects, Upwork has a vast selection of experienced professional photographers.
  •  Splento: This platform offers an easy way to hire a photoshoot service online with photographer matchmaking.

If you’re looking for photography tips and inspiration, you can also check out the following YouTube channels:

  •  Mango Street: This channel offers tutorials on photography techniques, gear reviews, and creative inspiration.
  •  Peter McKinnon: This channel offers tutorials on photography techniques, gear reviews, and creative inspiration.
  •  Sean Tucker: This channel offers tutorials on photography techniques, philosophy, and creative inspiration.

Keep Practicing

There is a saying “Practice makes perfection.”

Put your art into practice. Wander the streets and take sporadic pictures. Improve the way you compose your colors and your frames. Arrange and create a database for your photos. Watch tutorials and put what you learn into practice to improve. Photography can be your passion, but you should be aware of its rules and regulations! understandably, you enjoy doing things yourself, so listening to another expert could sometimes get monotonous. However, each person has a distinct knowledge base. Take advice from others and learn from your own mistakes. 

Create a Website for Your Portfolio

Nothing speaks louder for an artist than their portfolio, no matter how hard you try to explain what you do to others. Freelance photographers must present a well-organized and suitably constructed portfolio to wow potential clients. 

Make sure your website for your photographic portfolio includes all of these crucial details:

• Functions well with mobile devices

• Presents your photos in a lovely arrangement for a fast overview while also allowing visitors to magnify photographs for a deeper look. 

• Has a simple, elegant, and contemporary style.

• Provide folks with easy-to-find contact information. if you have business cards then mention that as well.

• To share photo stories, establish a blog and link it to your social network accounts.

To make a great impression on your website or social media business page, it’s important to showcase your best work. This means selecting a small set of your finest images for each discipline of photography you specialize in. Your photos represent your company, and your efficiency, so keep in mind that visitors or clients will form their opinions based on what they see. Updating your collections with better pictures as you take them is a good practice. Remember, your website is the window through which the world views your photography, so make it count!

Expose via social media

Social media is crucial to marketing, particularly for creative careers. Social networking is a useful tool for freelance photographers to connect with potential customers and build their profiles. The quality of your work defines you as a great photographer. The type of photography that you choose whether fashion photography or even digital photography, you need a strong network for the exposure only then you will be able to make enough money. Not only that, but you can also make a well-settled career path for yourself.

These are a few brief tips on how to grow your photography business through social media strategy.

Each photographer starts by creating a Facebook business page and an Instagram account, after which they go on to other channels. Nevertheless, the key is to figure out which platforms work best for you and concentrate a bit more of your energy there. 

 On Facebook, a lot of excellent photographers don’t get enough views, and as a result, their pages get lost among the many other photography pages on the network. Professionals and amateurs alike have Facebook pages.

Now that you are a professional photographer, you need to differentiate your page from that of other amateur and hobbyist photographers. Give it a simple name; don’t call it after yourself exclusively. You can add your best pictures to your page to make updates, you can even create a professional website. Given that it’s a business, you should also include the location, contact information, and other relevant details for your enterprise.

Once you share the page with your close friends, tell them to invite their friends as well. If you have one hundred or more followers on Instagram, you can use the platform. 

YouTube – Good Idea!!​

Having a YouTube channel is only useful if you plan to post tutorials regularly. Tutorials tend to garner more views than vlogs. Hyper-lapse or time-lapse videos are excellent ways to increase your YouTube viewership and revenue. 

Make your Content Discoverable 

Now that you have multiple social media accounts and your portfolio website, make sure that all of them are interlinked so that people can find them easily. Make sure your website has links to your Facebook page, your Instagram account, your blog (in case you are blogging using a different platform), and your YouTube channel. 

Be in touch with influencers

Make contact with social media influencers in the photography sector. Whenever possible, make an effort to speak with them in person or via email, and get their advice on your work. Provide them with the URL to your professional photography website showcasing your work samples and portfolio.

Create demand through free marketing

-Never give up!

Even though you may experience some frustration in the initial days or months of your freelance photography career, never give up. Gaining traction and establishing a trustworthy presence requires promotion and patience. You can approach internet advertising in two different ways: for free and for money.

There are many ways to sell yourself using the internet through a wide world of online promotion. Introduce yourself through your photography talents and stories. Attend free activities and art openings where you can meet others who share your interests. You can attend political gatherings, open lectures, and charitable activities, all of which offer fantastic chances that will be great exposure. Inform the event planners about your photographs during a conversation. Always keep a few of your photos on hand and provide a link to your website for your online portfolio.

Upload your photos to websites like Shutterstock and Pexel, which offer a vast collection of public domain images that are free for use by anybody. We refer to these pictures as stock photos.

The sponsored programs require less skill and precision than the unpaid options when it comes to web promotion. One of the best methods to raise your rating on search engines like Google and Bing is through search engine optimization or SEO. Creating text- and image-based content for your website is your main goal. Compose material adhering to SEO guidelines. Your content has a better chance of appearing higher in search results if it contains more relevant keywords.

Social media optimization, or SMO, is the umbrella term for unpaid advertising on social media. Social media marketing requires that your pages be regularly updated with interesting content and narratives. Stay on topic and make use of pertinent hashtags. Produce content that is clear and concise, which is particularly crucial given that you are working with freelance photography and freelancing. To wow your fans, use videos and pictures.

 Every social media platform differs marginally from the others. Posts that you share on Instagram, for example, might not be appropriate for LinkedIn, and vice versa.  Have a conversation with a digital marketer you know about low-cost online self-promotion. You can accomplish a lot without spending any money if you have a well-planned roadmap.

Never end your passion

It takes perseverance and patience to succeed as a freelancer. It’s the same case for becoming a successful photographer.

You begin to notice results as long as you work diligently and patiently. After stages three or four, you might find one or two clients, but don’t stop there. 

Set instructions and follow the same. If you require additional help, then reach out for the resources and get well-trained in your field. Everything you need to launch a side gig and grow it into a full-time business is covered in this course. You also receive a mentor who is always available to you in times of need and a one-on-one personal coach.


Get ready, have enthusiasm, and try your hardest. Above all, never lose hope on you.

Scroll to Top