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Generating Income as a Freelance Photographer

Updated on May 7, 2013

Freelance Photography Uses

Freelance Photography is where the freshest ideas come from. Thousands of pictures are taken every hour around the world, and a lot become lost in the shuffle. Freelancers, have the ability to work in a special way in order to step out of the common rules and practices of photography to produce a more interesting style on their shots. Sure, common styles are classic. I am in no way applying you need to throw out all those rules, but in order to get more work you might be looking into new waters in order to meet your goals. Photography is an art that will never go away due to the fact we need to have pictures for so many different applications. Everything from ads, websites, stores, and computer graphics all depend on great photos of products, structures, locations, people, and animals. Due to the versatility of the Freelancing you could do it in a few different ways. The ways I will go over are Hobby, In Conjunction with other Freelance Work, and Full Time Freelance Photography. Before moving into that I will talk about some Equipment that might be required.


There are many options and choices to choose from, so this list will be somewhat broad. Also, the list depends on what you plan on doing with your camera, this is not a complete list – just a introduction on what your might need / should have.

Camera Bodies – Most likely your camera will be an SLR (The main difference is there is a camera body and camera lenses that can be changed). Starting off one should be fine, if becoming serious two or more are suggested!

Camera Lenses – This is really personal choice and each can apply to a different task. Most are VERY expensive. Examples are fast shutter speed for low light or telephoto lenses for events. The minimum you can have is one “average” lenses that will work in a multitude of different conditions.

Flash Cards – Have a few different ones in case they get full. For large scale shootings like weddings and events that happen once, it is good to save on multiple flash cards, there is a chance your card can become damaged or become corrupted, although it is unlikely. These come in a few different kinds and sizes.

Laptop – A laptop computer is great to check the shots you take live. It is always an advantage to have a working laptop that will read your cameras cards. A good tip is to also have an outside source to save the work like an external hard drive in case your computer breaks.

Accessories – Tripod for formal portraiture, monopod for speed, different filters, radio slaves, backdrops, props, shooting tables, printers, and anything else your path requires.

Cases – Your Camera must be stored and cases that are high quality will help protect your expensive equipment from being damaged or broken.

Website – You must have your own website or somewhere your clients can check your services online.

Freelance Photography Camera

Nikon SLR D90 is a great camera for many different things!
Nikon SLR D90 is a great camera for many different things!

Freelance Photography as a Hobby

Photography is a very fun art. A lot of people like taking pictures and collecting their travels. Normally, people who take photos for a hobby will have a point and shoot camera, but some might want the professional level. Anyone who does it for a hobby isn’t expecting to be paid very much, maybe if they’re lucky they will pay off the equipment with what they make. Making money being a hobbyist include stock photography online like Flicker, iStockphoto, and may sell products with their pictures on them on Zazzle. A hobbyist might also search around Craigslist or other listings for people who just need some photos taken on a commission basis. If you love photography and wish to make some money from it but not try to become mainstream then this is for you!

In Conjunction with Other Freelance Work

If you’re a Freelance Writer and you would like to offer packages and maybe even create an opportunity for more pay then why not learn how to do Freelance Photography Work? This way you can offer articles with custom taken pictures, each picture can add an amount to the work you do! This might also open up doors for you if your writing website copy for an online store that needs someone to create a photo index of their whole inventory to put online. These indexing jobs that require 20+ professional photos to sell products are normally well paid. This is due to the fact that whole websites ability to sell products is to show the customers what they are buying, and that is when photography comes in handy.

Full Time Freelance Photography

So you want to do Freelance Photography for your whole living? There is a tremendous amount of competition out there and equally as hard to make a fulltime living on freelance photography. This is where skills and intuition will come in handy. You will need to set yearly goals, do all the administrative tasks, and everything else required by your path. The Freelance Photography path will mean photographers who are pros at what they do. The kind of people who can identify exactly how to capture any kind of shot, have a large array of tools available, and also offer a lot of smart pricing packages and tasks. The fulltime photographer will need to know how to make an effective website and keep it running with an excellent portfolio. They will take part in various tasks such as:

  • Wedding Photography
  • Animal Photography
  • Company Event Photography
  • Popular Event Photography like Concerts, Plays, Etc…
  • Product Stock Photography
  • Stock Photography
  • Photo Merchandise

The Freelance Photography path will involve other aspects such as business, marketing, web design, writing, and print. Some photographers will pick areas there good at and specialize in that field, like weddings while others will be jacks of all trade. The combo of two or more things for a photographer might be what makes or breaks the success of the career. A good example of generating income would be:

Wedding Photographer who when isn’t on assignment sells stock photos on Flicker to create income that could be coming at any time of day or any day of the week. Stock selling isn’t a reliable position unless the photographer has a pre-sale set up with an employer. The focus should be on doing as many weddings as possible.

Regardless of your level of work toward the field, its always good to remember your doing something that you like to do. Anyone with a semi-decent camera can make money with stock so anyone can make something who is trying to go into the field.

Hope you found this helpful!

Having a Freelance Photography career can be very rewarding, and it gives you lots of moments to look back on. After you get the equipment, set up your plan, and get enough chocolate bars to last your first few assignments you have nothing left to do but go take pictures! If you found this useful at all or you really enjoyed it then share it with everyone you know! Its easy to do, you basically just need to click on the word Twitter to promote it on your twitter account or click the Digg word to be taken to a page were this article can be dugg! If it is a source you wish to check back on, you can always bookmark it on Delicious. Like my articles? Subscribe to my Rss feed using your choice of feed reader! You can also come see more of my Hubs on my Profile.

Best of Luck to YOU!!!

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    • profile image

      paulgc 7 years ago

      Interesting Hub, freelance is a mine field but with effort the rewards can be great, however the economic crisis has forced many of my local pro competitors to lower there prices, this in turn has had a detremental effect on freelancers like myself.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      Thank you very much for sharing this. I had thought about photography years ago and I may actually incorporate it now. It was excellently prepared and well written. Glad to be a fan.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Good hub, informative... By chance do you use a Nikon? lol I have an old Nikon tucked away in the hall closet, I put it there when digital made the breakthrough. Man I loved that camera. Saving for a new digital SLR... yes Nikon. You've answered some of my own questions here. Thanks!

    • vawonko profile image

      vawonko 7 years ago from Texas

      Enjoyed the hub! I use a Nikon D70S & D5000. Saving up for higher end camera down the road. I enjoy making the photos look better using Photoshop Cs4.

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 7 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      I do use a Nikon now. Before I didn't have an SLR and my god I love it!


    • PhotoTljn7 profile image

      PhotoTljn7 7 years ago from United States

      Thank you I enjoyed your article... I am a Freelance photographer who has been trying to find her way! I am also thinking about purchasing another camera, thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      Freelance Photographer 6 years ago

      Do not overlook magazines as they are a pretty good way to sell most of your photos, there are thousands of them in US alone.

    • Kenziemom profile image

      Kenziemom 6 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed the article very much. I mostly do scenic and wedding photos and found this very informative.

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