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Bust Into Freelance Photography

Updated on May 4, 2011

So You Want to Be a Freelance Photographer?

It's one of the most rewarding careers you can have. It's also one of the easiest industries to bust into, if you have the patience and motivation to go the distance and land yourself some high profile clients.

If you feel you can hack it, or you'd at least like to give it a shot, then stay tuned to this hub for some steps you can take to bust into the world of freelance photography. From there, it's all you!


Having a camera is the only way you're going to get started in freelance photography. The type of camera you get, really doesn't make any difference in the beginning. You can start out with a disposable camera or even your cell phone camera, when you get started. Then once you start to feel comfortable with your vision of yourself as a freelance photographer, you can start to do your research about what kind of camera you'd like to upgrade to.


Most photographers have a niche or a specialty. I have a neighbor who's specialty is 50's greaser style photography. He takes pictures of vintage cars and motorcycles and loves to attend all manner of 50's themed events.

I have other friends who have found their home in wedding photography, cake photography and abstract photography. There are a million niches in this world and every one of them needs a niche photographer.

Spend some time thinking about what niches you might like to dive into. Even if you don't have your heart set on one in particular, it will help get you started. It will also help you decide what you like, what you don't like and what you're really good at.

How Many Pictures Can You Take in a Day?

This is a favorite game between myself and a few friends. I think you'll enjoy it as well.

The rules are really straight forward and you can play the game by yourself or invite some friends to join you. Then you go to town with your camera! If you have a cell phone camera or a cheap digital camera, this will work out in your favor.

The trick is to take pictures of everything you look at. Don't stop and try to decide if that's something you should take a pictures of and don't worry about saving your film. Just take pictures of everything. That strange dandelion growing out of the driveway... the cat hanging out... your shoes... those weird weeds growing around the yard...

I've made it up to 152 pictures in one day and most of them were silly, but there were some really interesting and wonderful pictures that came out. Most of them were actually accidental, or were pics that I assumed would be irrelevant.

How many pictures can you take in a day?

Business Portfolio

After you've taken as many pictures as you can in a day, you want to go through these photos and get them ready for your first two portfolio's. Separate your photos into two categories:

Business and Other.

The pictures that clearly show specific aspects, such as flowers, people, cars or events, can go into your business portfolio. You can also choose to put some pictures in there that just turned out really well as far as pixels or development went.

Once you've separated your photos into their categories, you can place your best and favorite photos in your business portfolio.

Personal Portfolio

All the photos that don't go into your business portfolio, need to go into your personal portfolio. You don't ever want to throw them away or delete them. Even photos that you feel are obviously messed up, might come in handy some day. On top of that, you can use these photos as a timeline from where you started to where you are in a few months, a few years or a decade later.

Self Publishing

With the internet so ready and available, most clients or businesses who need a freelance photographer will want to see your photos published somewhere. This means that you can increase your chances of being found by those that need you, by being published online. You will also look more professional to those that you speak with before they have seen your work.

In order to get published, the best step for you to take, is to self publish. You can start out with something as simple as flickr or your facebook photo albums. If you want to get extra brownie points in the professionalism arena, then you can buy a domain name and create a website dedicated to your new found love for photography.

Umm... Excuse me.... Do you need a photographer??

Once you have set yourself up for success through getting a camera, taking lots of pictures, creating a few portfolios and self publishing your work, then you can move on to the next step.

Getting Clients!

What's the difference between a hobby photographer and a freelance photographer?

Usually the difference is that freelance photographers work to get paid for what they enjoy to do, while hobby photographers just enjoy what they do and don't bother or don't know how to take the steps to go further.

So in order for you to fully initiate yourself into freelance photography, you'll need to hunt down some prospective clients who might be interested in purchasing some of your photographs or having you be their photographer for certain projects. You can do this by emailing, calling, writing to or visiting various businesses. You can also do some freelance photographic-journalism online to help get yourself noticed.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Practice these steps again and again, until you find yourself in a lucrative situation with your freelance photography. If you insist on being successful, you will be successful!


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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Amanda, This is good information. I think the hardest part would be hunting down the clients, just like free lance writing. That said, I know there are many people who earn a living with their photography. You've given some great steps to follow in order to get started. Glad you shared the info.

    • platinumOwl4 profile image

      platinumOwl4 6 years ago

      Thank you for this informative hub. I enjoy photography among other pictorial activities.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 6 years ago from Ireland

      great hub.