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Working in photography can be very rewarding, both monetarily and as artists. Finding jobs can sometimes prove challenging, but we will have a decent primary or secondary income through consistent effort.
What types of freelance photography jobs we want will depend on several factors, such as what we’re proficient at doing, what type of market we’re in, and how much time we want to invest. Also, keeping in mind our digital imaging, sometimes the question of finding photography jobs near me is not the overriding concern since remote work is a large part of some genres of photography.
Working photography jobs also require a lot of skill sets beyond basic photography, such as bookkeeping, partnering with local businesses that may be related to our chosen fields, and finding providers for additional or primary products we can use to fulfill our client’s orders, such as enlargements or photo books.
Let’s dive into this exciting field!
Table of Contents:
- What are Freelance Photography Jobs?
- Equipment for Photography Jobs
- Types of Jobs
- Delivering Photographic Products
- Running a Business
- Recommended Photography Gear
What Are Freelance Photography Jobs?
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Freelance photography jobs aren’t committed to any particular employer long-term, though they can end up being long-term, depending on the style of photography and the type of client.
A freelance photographer is self-employed; in the USA, that means receiving a 1099 instead of a W2. Alternatively, these jobs can be billed by invoices and receipts. Working these jobs involves much more than photography, which we will detail at the end of this article.
Equipment for Photography Jobs
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What equipment does a photographer need for freelance photography jobs? The specific cameras, lenses, lighting, and so on obviously depend on the photography style.
Some general principles can be applied, though. Any camera and lens gear we use should be high enough quality for the images we’re providing and dependable enough for us to rely on them to work properly through the current gig and onto the next.
Entry-level cameras and kit lenses can provide all of the optical excellence required but may not have the ruggedness for extended professional use and usually are also lacking in certain features that make some jobs easier, such as exposure bracketing or wide apertures.
We can get that ruggedness and grab bags of features in full-fledged professional-level cameras, of course, but some of those may be out of reach of some budgets, especially if you are just starting out.
Prosumer-level cameras and lenses are perfect for anyone trying to break into freelance photography jobs or seeking to ease the workflow for their existing businesses. Prosumer cameras, lenses, and other gear are a few steps above entry-level or intermediate equipment.
In addition to being heavier duty, prosumer items usually incorporate other upgrades such as faster apertures, exposure bracketing, higher-speed motor drives, high-end video modes, and more. The prices for prosumer gear are quite favorable for smaller or beginning businesses.
Types of Jobs
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The types of photography jobs near me run the gamut of all types and styles of photography. Basically, whatever photography job you can get paid for may be used as freelancing work, but a few styles seem to lend themselves better to the world of freelance photography jobs.
Here’s a short list:
- Wedding Photography Jobs
- Portrait Photography Jobs
- Real Estate Photography Jobs
- Small Product Photography Jobs
- Videography Freelance Jobs
Wedding Photography Jobs
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One of the first ideas when searching for photography jobs near me for many photographers breaking into freelance is shooting weddings. In addition to weddings, we could widen this base to encompass engagement photos, proposals, bridal portraits, and videos.
There are many variables concerning wedding photography jobs, such as how fancy the event will be, how many participants, what venue is being used, and how many physical prints, enlargements, and photo books are being delivered as final products.
One thing to remember about weddings is that they are by nature demanding gigs since they are special events that are considered once in a lifetime for most people. You can also find similar freelance photography jobs like corporate ceremonies, holiday parties, and business meetings.
Portrait Photography Jobs
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Portrait work is also usually easy to find as photography jobs near me since most of us have a built-in base of ready-to-use subjects for creating a portfolio - our friends and family. Once you have a body of work to show potential clients, you start booking clients and delivering images.
This is another type of photography in which you will want to offer physical images such as photo books and enlargements as opposed to or in addition to forms of digital delivery.
Group portraits and environmental portraiture are freelance photography jobs that may be easy to book when talking to businesses around you. When looking for photography jobs near me, it pays to do some canvassing of local businesses to offer some of these different photography styles.
Real Estate Photography Jobs
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Another great local source for photography jobs near me that freelancers should consider is the real estate market. We can split this into two general types of real estate photography, residential and commercial. While they overlap a lot in methods and techniques, there are some differences between the two types of work.
Freelance photography jobs in residential and commercial real estate take advantage of the continuously changing landscapes of the market. In other words, work is often available in every season of the year.
Photographers looking for these jobs tend to stay either in commercial or residential, though overlap can be advantageous for the bottom-line profits of the freelance photographer.
However, it bears mentioning that residential real estate photography usually involves quick turnaround times, while commercial real estate photography jobs often have much higher volumes of images delivered. Drone photography can be added to either genre for extra opportunities.
Small Product Photography Jobs
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So many businesses are selling their goods online, and most need clear images of what they’re offering. Photography jobs near me could be found in the multiple small businesses providing their take on goods and services.
Dog groomers, local jewelry designers, microbreweries, food trucks, and framing studios are just a few of the scores of local businesses needing great pictures of what they do or make. With low-cost shipping and digital drop boxes, we aren’t even limited to sticking with just photography jobs near me.
Videography Freelance Jobs
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Much of what we discussed about freelance photography jobs will likewise be helpful when considering our offering professional videography services. In fact, weddings, lifestyle videos for products, and drone videos for commercial real estate are in very high demand for photographers with this skill set.
How Much Do Photographers Make?
Asking how much do photographers make in these types of photography jobs is a sensible question, and one that doesn't have a very specific answer.
How much you make as a photographer depends on a myriad of factors, including:
- Your level of experience
- Your ability to market your services effectively
- Word of mouth from clients
- The type of photography you do
- Where you live and work
These are just a few examples of factors that change the "how much do photographers make" question one that's hard to answer.
As a baseline, though, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the median hourly wage for photographers is $18.73. However, judging how much do photographers make is difficult because the pay range extends from about $10.00 per hour to more than $37.38 per hour.
Delivering Photographic Products
The one thing that all of these ideas for freelance photography jobs have in common is that you are making images for someone. So, how does the client receive their photos?
For some of these photography business ventures, digital delivery of the images may be the norm, such as for small product and real estate photography. A Dropbox account or something similar is common, as are FTP upload services or heading off a disk or flash drive of the images.
Physical prints are expected or welcome when offering your services as a photographer for weddings and portraits. Partnering with a high-quality printing company such as Photo Book Press is an ideal solution.
Photo Book Press makes amazingly high-end photo books that can be used as classic wedding albums, softcover books for presenting as lower-cost alternatives, and superb acrylic print enlargements in sizes from 6x6” square tiles up to 20x24” wall art prints.
Quick shipping and professional services add to the appeal of partnering with Photo Book Press for the physical delivery of images made from freelance photography jobs.
Running a Business
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Not to be left out when considering working freelance photography jobs is the very real aspect that you are running a business, not simply taking good photographs.
Take a look at this very informative video from the Joy Michelle YouTube channel:
Booking photography jobs means we, as photographers, also have to be good business operators. Skills to learn or to farm out to other freelancers are bookkeeping, billing, taxes, advertising, and the like. Keeping up with regulations, insurance, and standard business concerns means we can stay in our preferred photography job.
What types of freelance photography jobs you want to do and how successful you can be at them depends on how serious you are about running the business side of things. It also depends on you already being a fantastic photographer. I hope you enjoy your journey!
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