Freelance Round-up: This month in photography

Well, the nights are getting brighter even if the weather isn’t, so how is the freelance photography business fairing as we move ever closer to Spring? Truth be told, I know of several freelance photographers that have sold their equipment and found themselves a ‘proper job’ and some that have gone part- time and found more secure employment to see them through this rather arid time in photography sales.

Something Different

The key, it would appear, is to offer something unique, something that people are willing to part with their hard earned cash for. Diversifying may be the answer and one market that seems to be bucking the downward trend is maternity and newborn photography. I have dabbled in this myself, it’s incredibly rewarding and getting it right can mean you have ongoing work with christenings, birthdays and if you’re really lucky, the engagement and wedding too (the baby’s not the parent’s, although anything is possible). With this in mind, and wanting to brush up a little on my own skills, I trawled the internet for inspiration and information and came across this little gem. Bright Hub. Excellent information not just for maternity shots, but also nudes, even how to take sexy shots of yourself, and yes, I suppose this is slightly skewed towards female photographers so to redress the balance a little, I found Marketing for Photographers and Photography. This is a US site, but a lot of photography advice is universal and this is no exception. Although much of the site consists of ‘tasters’ to get you to buy, there are more than enough freebies on the site to enable you to up-skill.

DIY

Some portrait photographers choose to do their own printing. There are several printers on the market which won’t break the bank and produce good quality, saleable prints. If this is something you are considering you may want to check out the Which Guide to Photo Printers. Bookmark the site and check back frequently, because Which are an independent body so when they review cameras, computing equipment, scanners etc you know you are getting impartial advice and information.

Going mobile may also be an option some of you have considered. There are varying degrees of mobile studio, from lighting and backdrops, to a vehicle fully equipped as a studio. This link to Grab The Basics guides you through the minefield that is a mobile studio. Check out the links on the left hand side for even more photographic advice.

Try Before You Buy

I have never owned a fisheye lens, but always wanted to play with one. I certainly couldn’t justify buying one because I have never had a commission that would warrant it. But I did hire one last year, went down to the coast and had a whale of a time. I hired it from Camerarent. The cost didn’t break the bank, I got some great shots, but I also got it out of my system without it costing me an arm and a leg. They will deliver or you can collect, which is ideal if you are in the unfortunate position to have your camera or lens fail you when you have an assignment coming up.

Business is Business

No matter how much you love photography, if this is how you make your living then it’s business. Even if you don’t intend to go to the bank for a start-up loan, a business plan is a great way to give your business a bit of a health check. Bplans have several online business plans. Again, this site wants you to buy the software, but the advice appears good and it’s free. There are different business plans on the site, and for those of you who take pet portraits there is a special business plan for you here.

Stock Photography

The stock photography market has had a roller coaster ride of late, and even Alamy, the internet’s largest stock photography site has felt the pinch. Photographers Direct are different because they have several ways in which they will sell your photos for you. They have strict quality control, but once you have been accepted you can upload your photos to your own portfolio, keyword your image and the image buyers will find you. You can also sign up to receive email notifications of the latest requirements by buyers across the globe.

And Finally

Just a quick reminder that the Focus On Imaging exhibition is on at the NEC Birmingham from 6th March to 9th March. I will be going on the 6th so if anyone else from Freelance UK is going, drop me an email and maybe we can meet up for a coffee.

Happy Freelancing!

Jan Wright

 

23rd February 2011

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