New year, new you! Problem is, there never seems to be any photography jobs out there with COVID still a posing issues with frequency of work. As creatives, we need to be creative thinkers with more than just our art.
Being a photographer is always our goal, even if it was voted the worst job in the US in 2019. But it doesn’t happen overnight. We need to work on things slowly, and that includes our career. The best professionals in any industry have spent years and years
Starting out as a photographer instantly has us thinking that we need to be a photographer booking our own photography jobs and doing nothing else. Makes sense, but there’s a whole industry out there relating to photography. Times like these have creatives needing to think creatively within the industry rather than being too narrow-focused.
Working in the photography industry is much better for a photographer than working in another industry that doesn’t relate at all.
Work for another photography company
Chances are, as a photographer you’ll want to do as much photography as possible. You’ll want to also make as much money as possible.
That means working for another photographer or photography company might sound a little backwards. It’s the best place to start and worth considering when you are starting out freelance.
If you want to be a wedding photographer, contact some of the wedding photography agencies in your area. They will pair photographers with soon-to-be newlyweds based on the best fit.
Service photography equipment
Fancy yourself a little bit of a handyman? Or know a thing or two about mechanics of how a camera works? I don’t. I have no idea how my camera works.
Knowing how to fix cameras or understanding how they work can put you ahead of others and keep you in the same industry that you care so much about. There are few people out there that can fix something as complicated as a camera, so there’s far less competition for work.
A lot of big brands will charge a hefty amount to fix a camera because they know that the customer has very few options. This makes it easy to make decent money while being considered inexpensive compared to these big repair brands.
Freelance to another freelancer
Unless you have a phone book of contacts someone gifted you when they retired, or a really large social media following, you’re going to start out with very few leads to get photography jobs. That’s ok, because everyone starts somewhere.
Photographers that have been around for years will have a phone book or contact list bigger than they have the time to service. But that photographer loves money as much as we do, so they would be crazy to pass up an opportunity to get a little kickback.
The concept of a ‘finder’s fee’ can be ugly, but if it’s a reasonable amount and the person did actually discover the lead, I think it’s fair to pay a small amount. Sometimes photographers give photography jobs to friends or other photographers they believe in and charge no finder’s fee. If you’re a good human you will send them a thank you gift as a token of your appreciation. Isn’t that the same thing as a finder’s fee?
Don’t be afraid to ask another creative if they have any work they don’t have time to service. Sometimes creatives can be overly committed to any work that is given to them because we can often go so long between paid opportunities we worry if we say no to work we might struggle to make it through to the next paid opportunity.
Start a passion project and work for your passion
Ok, so starting a passion project doesn’t generate money. At least it doesn’t generate money in the short term. But what if this project is your defining piece of work?
One thing most people complain about is that they don’t have enough time to do things they want to do. It’s important to recognise the time you have to do what you have always wanted to do.
Matt Simplified wouldn’t exist without COVID giving me a forced-opportunity to reevaluate what I create for the world. There were no music photography opportunities, no food photography, no speaking opportunities… So I used that time to create this website, redesign my podcast into Creative Detour, build Lightroom Presets and lots of other little things that were always ‘tomorrow’s problem’.
Creating something now isn’t a waste of time if you can’t sell it immediately. It’s an investment, and if you believe it in enough, you will make money later on if you stay committed to it. Use your time wisely!