Book More Freelance Jobs, A Photographer Roadmap
Being a freelance photographer is in our opinion one of the best jobs a person could have. You are your own boss, you aren’t working a 9-5 (even though the hours can be demanding), you can travel the world, meet interesting people and be creative. But making a living as a photographer, or breaking into the profession isn’t always easy. As with any awesome profession, there are a lot of people making amazing work and thus a lot of competition. To strive in this saturated market you need to stand out from the pack and understand how to book freelance photography jobs. To help you we have created a list of five ways to book more freelance photography jobs.
1. Provide Exceptional Service: We mean EXCEPTIONAL. Take amazing photos, but also be a customer service superstar. Wow each and every client by giving them 100%, providing excellent service, excellent communication, delivering on time with the promised deliverables. Under-promise and over-deliver. There is no better way to grow your business than through word of mouth referrals. Having a friend tell another friend about their amazing experience with you almost guarantees you will be their photographer hire if they need services. Sound simple? The concept is simple, but the challenge is in your execution. Provide a service that goes above and beyond expectations in both deliverables as well as rapport every single time. Be exceptional and you will be recognized for it.
2. Generate Press and PR: Being a freelance photographer is one of the best jobs we can think of. You get to pick your own hours, jobs and be creative. With any amazing job, there is stiff competition. There are also a ton of amazing photographers who are your competitors. To stand out and get noticed, you need to generate buzz around your work through press and PR. We don’t suggest paying a PR person at first (unless you have the budget to do so). There are ways to do it for free. Here is one of the best. Bookmark art and photo blogs big and small. Send the founder or editor your best series of photos and send them a story to go along with. Editors receive a ton of emails containing someone’s ‘cool’ photos, but if you go a step further and write a story or intro to your photo series and include a bio, you will be much more likely to get published. Be unique and also think in the editor/bloggers shoes. Give them a story or post they can use right away with minimal effort. Make sure it matches the theme, voice and tone of the content they publish on a regular basis. Email three editors/bloggers a day until someone publishes your work.
3. Create a Physical Book For Clients: Create a physical book showcasing the best of your work and the variety of styles and subjects you are able to shoot. Having something physical and tangible that potential clients can look through will help you book the job. Forget the old ‘portfolio’ and create your own fresh coffee table book like the best photographers out there have. Take it with you to your meet and greet meeting with the client. Give them a copy as a gift. This amazing tool gives the impression that you are a published photographer (even if the book was self-published). In a digital world creating a published book of your work goes a long way. There are a variety of companies that can help you self-publish a beautiful book of your best work. Here are a few popular self-publish options for you to check out: Blurb, Lulu, Artifact Uprising, Mixbook, MyPublisher and Shutterfly. Lots more can be found with a quick Google search.
4. Perfect Your Craft: You can spend countless hours (and dollars) creating hype around your work, generating PR and interviews, and marketing your services, but unless your photos are awesome all that effort is counterproductive. Become a master at your craft, develop your own style, specialize in a unique niche and edit like a boss. Get out there and practice, practice, practice; shoot, improve, make mistakes, learn and get better.
5. Hustle: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your photography career won’t be either. You have to walk before you can run. Offer to shoot a small project for a discounted rate for desired clients if you are just starting out or wanting to get a foot in the door with a high potential client. It will build up testimonials and word of mouth referrals for you and if they love your work, chances are, that small discounted project will turn into multiple bigger paid gigs. Start with local clients, perfect your customer service, skills, techniques, and style. Reach out to three potential clients every day. Don’t send them a stiff chain email. Research the potential client, send a personalized email, a handwritten note, take them for coffee. Get some slick business cards printed up and always have them on you. Some of the best connections will be made when you least expect it. Stand out by being unique and memorable and remember; always be hustling.