Freelance photography: the skills worth capturing in 2019

Photography is probably one of the longest-lived freelance professions. From the days of the daguerreotypes, photographers have been ‘going it alone.’ And they have found a ready market. Today, the only thing to have changed is the type of work that freelance photgraphers are being commissioned for, writes Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour.  

Freelance photography: what skills are worth capturing in 2019

Portraiture not sitting pretty

Until quite recently, the portrait has been some of the photographer’s basic ‘bread and butter.’ Providing headshots for CVs, portfolios, profiles and workplace paraphernalia has been in very great demand. And photographers still charge up to £100 per hour to produce professional headshots. And that’s possibly partly why demand is in decline. With better quality consumer equipment with inbuilt ‘smart technology’ available, £100 seems like a lot to spend for something you could get your mates or fellow freelancers to do for nothing! But that doesn’t mean that the photographer has lost their place in the freelance ecosystem.

Can you bring life to Still Life?

While digital cameras and smartphones have been developed to help anyone to take a passingly decent portrait, it still takes real skill to bring products and food to life. And this is reflected in the increased demand – and pay packets – of Product and Food Photographers.

With the likes of eBay, Amazon and Shopify, opening up an e-commerce store has become an absolute doddle. But try as you like with design and description, creative photography is still key to making sales. That’s why Freelance Product Photographers are currently able to command £250-£400 for a day’s work. As a freelance photographer , you market yourself through professional portfolios, websites, and social media to find potential clients.

Creative (candid) shooting

And Food Photographers can expect to earn a similar figure. Ten to fifteen years ago, photography played very little part in the food and beverage business outside of TV and print media. Today, every eatery with any pretentions of quality and style will post pictures of their food on social media. It’s a key way to pull customers in. And as anyone who has ever owned a Facebook or Instagram account will know, everyone likes a good bit of food porn!

Food photos may be the ‘hot’trend right now, but wedding photos are as important as ever. In particular, the popularity of the big day going ‘unplugged’ is creating a demand for photographers who can capture the magic of the day with candid creative shots; fewer posed images and the couple and guests ‘au naturel.’

Insta far from over

And while we’re on the subject of social media, Image Editing, especially for Instagram is another niche area very much on the rise. With Freelance Photo Editors commanding £20-30 per image for the Instagram market, and more than 1billion Instagram accounts being accessed each month, there is an enormous market to be tapped. And a concomitant potential for earning.

Social media trends change with the weather, but for the moment the sun is fully shining on Instagram Editors and they are making plenty of hay.

More on freelance photography


11th July 2019

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