Do more than take pictures well for freelance longevity

Julian Claxton (Continued from Part 1)

Once I had re-evaluated my direction and future intentions I was like a new photographer, working with buzz, a smile and more importantly a head full of fresh exciting ideas. My images had changed, I was no longer in a desperate hunt for any old work, I was being picky and it felt good.

I redefined myself as a social documentary photographer, and it’s a style which has helped me to carve out a niche for my photography and one which I am slowly getting recognised for.

Having sorted a style that is your own and you are happy with, the next ‘must-do' is to compose and adjust the business plan.

This is the part where a lot of photographers fall down. It’s tough putting together a business plan, especially when most photographers aren’t particularly good business people. But essential it most certainly is.

Not only does it help in the financial predictions and calculations of your growth, but it becomes a motivational aid and point of reference for future expansion.

The plan will set out the goals and aspirations, and will further help focus on intentions. Once that goal is set out, it becomes easier to see it.

The business structure of the photography is crucial. Get this right and as long as your photography continues to impress, you will be on the right path.

Clients like photographers who are definite about what they aim for and have a style they can recognise, and once you’ve got that client, hang on to them.

It is always worth remembering that 75 per cent of the work comes from about 25 per cent of the clients. Building long term successful relationships is key to surviving in this tough, ever-changing industry.

The key, I believe, to longevity in the photographic market is passion, belief, happiness and having a plan. I’ve seen too many photographers miserable and just going through the motions.

It will never be easy, and certainly with the slow demise of print publishing, dropping incomes and the vastness of such companies such as Getty, life as a photographer is bound to be a tough one, but where would the fun be if it was all easy!

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a comment by Julian Claxton, a freelance photographer, and member of the Bureau of Freelance Photographers, which profiled his career in the October issue of its Market Newsletter.



26th November 2010

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