If you want to know how to start a freelance photography business and succeed? Then keep reading this article.
Over 30% of Americans of different ages are practicing photography as a hobby or an active profession. It’s one of the most popular activities in the world. It’s attracting even more people now when almost everyone has a good camera in their pocket. And if you want to take the next step and go from a hobby to your own freelance photography business, this guide will help you.
Becoming A Freelance Photographer Step-by-Step
1. Choose Your Niche
If you want to turn photography into a career, it’s essential to choose your specialization. Picking a single niche is necessary to build and effectively promote a business. You need this to understand what type of prospective customers you should target.
Depending on your decision, you might need to go after employment in magazines instead of marketing to a wider audience. For example, if you want to focus on wildlife or documentary photography, you aren’t likely to get gigs in your local neighborhood. However, you can definitely have your works published by National Geographics. In the meantime, you can also sell your shots to everyone interested in collecting or decorating their homes with great photos.
However, if you prefer to work with people, you can specialize in portrait, wedding, or general event photography. In this case, you’ll need to promote your services locally and through social media groups where people gather to organize these events. You can still send your shots to some niche-specific magazines. However, this won’t be your main stream of income.
2. Choose Your Equipment
The choice of your equipment will mostly depend on the type of photography you want to specialize in.
The most basic set for beginner photographers includes:
- Polarizing and ND filters
- Cleaning supplies
- Carrying bags
- Rechargeable batteries
- Memory sticks and external hard drive
- Computer and software for editing
- Lighting fixtures
Buy the best quality of everything you can afford.
3. Create A Website
A website is essential for freelancers because it’s your virtual office. This will be where you show off your work, so you need to make sure the website is top-quality. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to create it as you can simply use WordPress. This platform powers over 30% of the Internet and it’s one of the easiest to customize.
What’s more important for a photographer is that you can make very beautiful websites using a huge collection of WordPress themes. The platform is so easy to use that you don’t even need any special skills to do it. Even if this is your first ever website, you will be able to set everything up yourself using helpful plugins and guides.
However, remember that you need to choose WordPress hosting very carefully when creating a photography website. Your pages will feature a lot of large graphic files. Therefore, the loading speed might be slow if your hosting is limited. Choose dedicated hosting with the maximum broadband you can afford. Fast loading and high uptime are essential requirements for any website that wants to succeed with SEO today. So, this should be a big part of your investment in freelance business development.
4. Create A Gallery
How you set up your website is also very important because a photographer must create an irresistible visual appeal. To do this, you will need to set up your own WordPress photo gallery. You can use specialized plugins to do this easily and show off your personal style while at it.
WordPress gallery plugins are extremely versatile and have many customization options. Therefore, you will be able to set it up to show off your best shots perfectly. The gallery you should create must be responsive and include social media sharing features. Having a Filterable Galleries feature will also be very helpful for creating an online portfolio your prospective clients can navigate easily.
5. Promote Your Website And Services
As a freelance photographer, you must market yourself online with utmost efficiency. This means you need to not only boost your website’s SEO but also create accounts on all popular social media. For a photographer, the main channels are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube.
Your accounts must be active with new content posted daily if possible. You should also invest in targeted ads on these social media networks to attract new followers and prospects. Use social media to not only show off your photos but also to establish friendly relationships with customers.
Moreover, you need to add a blog to your website. It will help improve SEO and give you a great channel for building your reputation. Accept guest posts to earn backlinks and beef up blog content.
6. Don’t Forget About Stock Photo Websites And Other Alternative Income Sources
Freelance photographers can earn money not only from gigs. In fact, you need to start cultivating your passive income sources even before you start actively searching for clients. This will help you get some capital and can also help your reputation.
The main source of extra income for photographers is stock photo websites. Marketing experts today understand the value of original high-quality images in their campaigns. Therefore, they use stock websites frequently. You must use this opportunity to earn royalties on your photos.
Another way to make some extra money as a freelance photographer is through education. You can create online courses as well as host workshops and webinars. You can also create some whitepapers and guides. Use them as a free giveaway for your photography blog subscribers.
Freelance Photography Is a Challenge, But It’s Worth the Work!
The median salary for a freelance photographer is around $42,000 a year. This is certainly not bad for a job that brings you a lot of joy. You also shouldn’t forget about all the opportunities for extra passive income that can come from your photography skill.
It won’t be easy to become a successful freelance photographer because you’ll need to build your reputation from scratch. However, if you are dedicated to this task, you can achieve great results. You will also get into the higher salary bracket, which is well over $50,000. To do this, you need to focus on developing and implementing an efficient marketing strategy. Also, remember to maintain contact with your clients as referrals are the main source of gigs for freelance photographers.
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