How to become a professional photographer
'The 'free' in freelance does not mean you give your work away.'
But how do you do it?
I've been asked this question many times.
Your problem is this:
Please let me offer you a few wise words,
Being freelance is no picnic it's;
But, it has tremendous rewards if you get it right, you are;
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But, here's the deal, unless you only want promotion, do not, I repeat do not give your work away, in the hope that it will yield further paid work.
Maybe you're a blogger who wants to take the next step. You take great photos, everyone loves them.
So you offer your work for free, because getting published is the next step. Hey, if you just want promotion and get more people to read your blog this is just fine. Don't knock it.
But if you want to get paid for your work do this...
Ask how much they pay to publish a set of your images
Yes, that simple, just ask.
Because if you don't value your work, no-one else will. and crucially,
If they have the budgets to pay you and your work is great and delivers what they want.
They will pay you even of you are a newbie.
If they don't have the budgets they will never pay you.
Can you afford to work like this? No? Neither can I.
So to reiterate, if a company has the budget they are more than willing to pay for excellent work.
They are skilled in recognising great work. They need and value highly creative, skilled operators.
Here's your check list to your first steps in becoming a successful freelance photographer:
You may not hear back straight away. They work with very small teams and to deadlines. They have annoying publishers who squeeze their time, patience and budgets. I know, I was one. But there is no excuse for an editor not responding to material you send in. It is plain rude. So do persevere;
Most importantly, don't give up if you get rejected, keep going because,
If you can try to get feedback. A good editor will do this sensitively and positively. And it if they
suggest your work isn't good enough, take it on the chin, work on making it better. Because even the pro's need to practice!
© Lynn Keddie
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