Hiring Out As A Freelance Photography
If you decide to join the ranks of self-employed freelance photographers who have a specialty business, where the general public hires you. You will soon discover there is no magic in being able to earn thousands of dollars every year. The key is not to take an assignment you know you can't handle. Don’t expect people to pay you while you practice on them, wasting their time and money. Being honest with yourself and your customers will be to your benefit in the long run.
The first rule to remember is that if you are offered a job, and you don't even know the basics, you better say "no thank you," and tell your client why you're passing it up. Tell him what you do specialize in and when the next job comes around, you will have an established reputation of being honest and that same person will be back because they respect your honesty and because if you say you can do a job, you can.
The best approach to starting your freelance photography business is to start off slowly and build on a base of knowledge and experience. In other words, take the knowledge that you presently have about your camera and build a home-based business around it. Start out by offering a particular service, where you can be competitive from the first day.
The beauty of being a freelance photographer is that you can create your own markets and establish your own rates. If you go into freelancing with the intent to earn extra money working on weekends, you should have no problem meeting your goal. If you decide to go into business on a full-time basis, then you could earn up to $50,000 and more depending on your specialty. It really boils down to one important thing, you must have the ability to use the equipment you have to produce a good photograph. People are willing to pay top dollar if you produce quality results.
Knowing What to Charge for a Freelance Job
The first thing to remember is that you aren't going into business for free. Being fair to both yourself and your customers is the principle you should follow when setting fees.
The way to do that is to determine what amount will adequately compensate you for your time, talent, and investment in equipment on a job-by-job basis.
Don't fall into the trap of charging less for your work just because you aren't working out of a studio or don't have brand-new, expensive equipment. You still have overhead!
At times your expenses will seem endless as you pay for photo equipment and supplies, office supplies, advertising, travel, computers and scanner/printers, taxes, business license, business stationery, portfolio costs, business cards, and depreciation on your vehicle and photo equipment. Never let anyone convince you that you should work for less because you don't have overhead.
What you ultimately decide to charge for your work is something you will have to decide yourself. The area you live in, the economy in that area, the competition, and how much you need are all influencing factors.
There are basically two ways to set your fees:
- You can charge per individual photograph or job. On a job you would have to know exactly how many different shots they would require and allow for differences in your price quote.
- You can charge an hourly rate that compensates you for your time and talent. Your hourly rate does not include film, proofs, processing, or prints ordered by the client. Your hourly rate is for your time only, starting from the time you leave your home until you finish the job and return home.
Always sign a contract with your customers so there are no misunderstandings. Specify exactly which photos will be taken, and of whom. Always include a "Release Paragraph" which states that you are not responsible for the loss of photographs resulting from camera malfunction or accidents in development. You may also want to include a "Model Release" which will give you the right to use any photos as samples for advertising purposes.
Whether it's a good or bad economy, one thing is for certain there will always be work for freelance photographers.
To your success,