How to set up a freelance photography business

Written by donna thacker
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Freelance generally means that you work for yourself or take on contract jobs for several different companies on a per diem basis. Most of the time freelancers work from their home, and most freelance photographs do their shooting on location. If you are a good photographer, you can easily make a living doing what you love.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Set Up Shop as a Photographer

  1. 1

    Order nice business cards. it's a good idea to have miniature samples of your photography on the card. Since the card is small, opt for only a couple of photographs. Include your name, phone number, e-mail address, and your title as a freelance photographer.

  2. 2

    Decide on a price list for your photographs and services. Decide if you will charge a sitting fee for portrait shots. Some photographers do and some don't. Weddings are quoted at either a flat fee, or you can charge by the hour for your services.

  3. 3

    Check to see what other photographers in your area are charging, and price yourself accordingly. You don't want to overprice at the risk of losing fantastic jobs, but you will be considered low quality if you charge too tiny of a fee.

  4. 4

    Pass out your business cards to family, friends and co-workers. Leave them in beauty salons, and offer to do glamour photos on site if the owner is willing to work with you. Promote your services everywhere you go.

  5. 5

    Keep a record of expenses for anything related to your freelance work. Some things are tax deductible and some are not. Ask a tax professional to help you with this. Always log the mileage on your vehicle if you are going on location to work.

  6. 6

    Ask for referrals whenever you are hired to do any photography work. If you come up with a referral fee, you can grow your business by an even more aggressive word of mouth.

  7. 7

    Keep your options open. Always have your photographic equipment with you. You may stumble across a newsworthy shot you can sell to the local paper.

    Web Marketing for Your Business

  1. 1

    Contact stock photography agencies that purchase photographs for resale or downloads. You can upload many landscapes and other photographs to these web sites just by joining. You won't get rich, but it will be a source of income.

  2. 2

    Build a web site of your own. You can have an online portfolio of your work displayed, and you can market yourself to potential web clients that may be looking for specific photos for their own web site.

  3. 3

    Do continual web searches for companies that buy stock photography. Many buy all rights to photographs to reproduce them into larger posters, calendars or art displays.

Tips and warnings

  • The key to a freelance photography business is to continually search for work and promote yourself.
  • Find the niche you enjoy and promote harder in that direction.
  • Don't take on jobs just to earn money. If you aren't interested in that type photography, it will show in your photographs.

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