Photography is an art in our era, the photographer an artist, and the memory-card a canvas. Cameras have
evolved from pin-hole equipped tin cans to high-end DSLRs that can capture beauty from hundreds of
meters away. Photography has been a passion shared by many, but with the advancement in social media and
online freelance postings, these amateurs are turning to freelance photographer and monetizing their skills.
Before we understand how to freelance in the photography domain, let’s know where the demand is coming
from. Businesses are moving online at a record pace. Digital content like images and video have witnessed
explosive growth rate. This is an era of content marketing. And nothing can be more appealing than a photo
with a beautiful sight, or an excellent product, or a loving family.
Following are some steps to help you become a freelance photographer and monetize your photographs:
Photographers know the difference equipment can make. This is a fact, and almost every one of us wants a
good camera on our cellphones. A group of friends taking a selfie will ask the person with the best phone
camera to be the photographer.
Choice of equipment is especially important for amateur photographers since professionals already have
good quality cameras and lenses.
The freelance photographer needs to understand the starting point:
• If wildlife and mountain ranges are the starting point, a DSLR would need to be paired with a long-range
• For an individual wants to capture night-shots – shutter speed, aperture, and the post-processing engine
would be the decision drivers.
• Fashion photographers would need good quality flashes and diffusers, and of course, beautiful models.
Starters should have an online presence. Start small – create a blog and showcase your collections in
different categories. Social Media presence can be a catalyst and help immensely boost the freelancer’s
There are dedicated image sharing websites. Post your images there and let the world know who clicked
those beautiful pictures.
Every freelance photographer needs to do some work for free until he builds a reputation in his field. Community events,
trade shows, school events, and parties are a great way to make your presence felt.
Use your online blog or social media to announce that you may be willing to cover a weekend event for free.
This is a supreme form of marketing. Not only will you be seen by a lot of individuals in the digital and
physical world but also will get a lot of free marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing works well. If you
covered that weekend event for free, people are likely to refer you to their friends who may need your
World’s best businesses use a superior marketing strategy. Use the power of marketing to get yourself a
Purchase a domain dedicated to your photography. Invest money and take time to get a good logo made for
Once you actively start marketing, your transition starts from being an amateur photographer to a
Register on freelancing websites dedicated to creating content. Pay for the subscription to use better services
on the platform and create a portfolio. Get your business cards printed and some of your best photographs
printed and framed.
Attend photography events and publish the coverage on freelancing websites. When people read a name
repeatedly, recall becomes easier. So the next time they think of hiring a photographer, your name may be on
the top of the list.
Every industry and area of work has its own network of influences. These are considered industry veterans
and authorities in their area of expertise.
Identify such influencers and connect with them digitally, and personally, if possible.
Something as small as a comment from an influencer will make that photograph much more attractive for
the people viewing it.
Nothing works without money. Plan for everything in advance. Freelancing can consume a lot of resources
before you start to get returns. You may need to cut on that international travel to buy a better camera lens.
If your work has started giving you returns, be extremely prudent in spending the money. There is no need to
buy a new camera or an expensive lens. Freelancers do not have a steady stream of income and definitely
need to plan for the rainy days, both figuratively and literally.
Digital and Physical Freelancing
Photographers can freelance both digitally and physically. If you don’t have an outdoor assignment for the
day, sign in to a freelancing website and look for jobs that match with your skills and provide them the
content. This gets you money, marketing, and experience.
Connectivity and Punctuality
If people have hired you for digital services, they may want to have regular updates about the status of their
project. Ensure that even if you’re outside your office, you’re connected and can reply to them.
Communication gaps can be very damaging to a freelancer’s reputation.
Ensure that you fulfill the commitments. Do not bite more than you can chew. If you’ve promised a client a
video of that business conference, delivering it late by 24-hours may hurt you. You lost a valued customer.
Additions and Upgrades
Once you are an established and recognized photographer, having a healthy stream of income, you may want
to add to your business.
Hire a website and content manager if the time you spend yields better returns in shooting than maintaining a
Here’s an easy method – calculate your entire savings, let’s say for 6-8 months. Divide those to understand
how much you’re earning weekly.
Ask yourself if you can afford a contractual employee who can post-process your photographs and you can
dedicate that time to get more returns. If the answer is yes, go forward and hire the person.
Similarly, if your income and demand both support the decision of upgrading your 3-year old DSLR, do not
hesitate to buy it at this point. Technology related obsolescence can cost a photographer dearly.
After this, the sky is the limit. Well established photography freelancers can earn thousands of dollars in a
single project. These freelancers are not only free to click photos and shoot videos but also travel around the
world, sometimes for free.