So you are passionate about photography, and maybe you are hoping to turn it into more than just a part-time hobby.
While your day job may seem to be in the way of your photography goals, it’s important to consider a few things first before making the leap to full-time freelancer.
Becoming a full-time photographer is more than just professional photography. It involves starting your own business, and taking on many tasks -some that have nothing to do with photography.
Freelance photography can be a rewarding career -but it is not for the faint of heart.
Without any further ado, here are seven questions that you should ask yourself, before making the jump from employed to freelancer.
Are you good enough?
It may seem like a harsh question, but it’s important to ask before you take the plunge. There are many full-time professional photographers out there already who are great at what they do –what sets you apart? Consider the competition, and ask yourself what you can offer clients. Is your work unique? Is it In-demand? What is your specialty, your niche? You have to make sure your work is good –something that clients will be interested in.
Do You Love the Business Side of Photography?
A full-time photography business is more than just taking photos, running a photography business involves paperwork, client sourcing, advertising, online marketing, networking, accounting, paperwork, taxes, client interaction, estimates, invoicing, and more! Make sure you are ready for the workload that is involved with freelance photography.
Will Photography Generate Enough Income?
Whether or not your photography will be able to generate a sufficient income is an important consideration. With a full-time job at a company, you have retirement, medical, and some benefits -like paid vacation. With freelance photography, you’re on your own. You have to set up your own insurance, retirement plan, and save up for vacation.
Do You Know Your Expenses?
Add up your estimated expenses. Calculate estimated expenses like advertising costs, computer and laptop upgrades, office space, supplies, and gear. New photography gear is even more expensive once you’ve gone pro. Be sure to calculate saving a portion of your income for taxes –forgetting to save for taxes is a common mistake made by new business owners.
Will You Have Clients?
Do you have a strong customer base, or are you starting from scratch? Is your customer base growing or are all your clients close friends and family members? If you are hoping to quit your job and become a full time photographer, you will need to make sure your customer base is strong. Whether you are a wedding photographer, family photographer, or commercial print photographer, having a strong customer base is an important step towards freelancer freedom.
Do You Have a Network?
Having a network of other creative or photographer friends can help you when you’re first starting out. Having a few friends that you can depend on for help during the early days is invaluable. Need to borrow an extra lens, or have an extra shooter at a wedding? A few photographer friends make life easier –and better.
Will it Work Out?
The big question: will it work taking your photography pro? Test it out by making a gradual transition from employed –to freelancer. Take the time to develop a strategy –to make sure your photography is a sustainable way to make an income. A savings plan is a good way to prepare. Saving up for about 6 months’ living expenses will give you some added financial resources to fall back on.
As a part time photographer, you have the freedom to work on your photography whenever you want to –without having to depend on your photography to help you make financial ends meet. The last thing you want is for photography to turn into an obligation, and to become something you dread doing. Photography requires passion, commitment, and drive. Make sure that taking your photography to the next level, won’t destroy your enthusiasm for it.
Full-time freelance photography can be tough to break into, but most freelancers who make it will tell you that they wouldn’t trade it for the world. Doing what you love, and finding a way to make it financially makes freelance photography a rewarding, and exciting career.
Have you started the transition into full-time photography? Tell us about it!