In a previous article, we spoke just a bit about some of the challenges faced as a freelance photographer or videographer. In this article, I aim to continue and expound on the topic of being a freelance photographer or videographer and sharing some of the pros and cons associated with this career choice. Being a freelance anything might just be one of the best or worst decisions you’ll ever make but it really all depends on you. People who become freelance are seeking to have their own business or would enjoy working on a flexible schedule. All of this has its ups and down which we will dive into.
– Being Exploited
When it comes to being a photographer or videographer of any sort, being exploited usually follows. This happens when you’re talented and can produce quality work but others seek to reap the benefit of that due to a friendship or any form of relationship. I found this happening a little too often when I was a beginner in photography and started to share my work with friends and some family. I was then often asked to carry my camera when going to meet up with them and then eventually asked to take “some shots” at some point. This became very annoying as I was not always in the mood or frame of mind to shoot but at the time I did not want to seem to mean or disrespect my friends or family. Eventually, I got frustrated enough to let it be known that I will not be capturing any picture or content unless I willingly would love to do it or I am being compensated. If you value your work and yourself, you should demand that same respect from others as well.
This exploitation often doesn’t only come from friends but also companies and clients. Most photographers and videographer like myself creating their prices and package deal around the duration it will take to complete the job. I’ve experienced where a client would make a one-hour booking claiming to only shoot “a few things” and then I end up doing a 3-4 hour session that was not planned. These clients that either expect to pay the same price or even ask for a discounted price when they gave you more work than you signed up for. This is probably one of the most annoying things when it comes to freelance photography.
– Payment Issues
With freelance photography, there are often issues with payment. You will meet or interact with client or companies who don’t respect you enough as a business owner or a creative to pay the fee for your services. Most of them will even hesitate to pay a booking fee much less full prices. This doesn’t only indicate a sense of disrespect but also creates a room for tension and awkwardness when you should be paid what you’re owed or what your work is valued. You will find yourself often having to explain the breakdown of your prices to some client which will become annoying over a certain period of time. To put a few things to perspective as to why it can be seen as disrespectful, here’s an example. You will rarely see an individual question an established business as to why they are paying a certain price for a service, however, as a freelancer you are entitled to this questioning. This only proves that not only is there an established trust issue but also an issue if your value is questioned.
– Rushed Editing
I believe this is very common among all photographers but in the freelance world, it’s very stressful. As a freelance photographer, you encounter many clients who just don’t understand the process of editing and how it works. Clients can sometimes be annoying once you’ve completed a session and been paid in full. You end up getting email, messages or phone calls just a day or two after you completed a session, asking if the images are ready. This then puts pressure on you to edit as fast as possible just to meet the unrealistic demands of your clients. I encourage photographers like myself to create a disclaimer with a reasonable turnover time of images before accepting or beginning any session or job.
– Flexible Hours
No boss and no supervisor give you the freedom to work when you want. This is one of the biggest perks in Freelance photographer and videographer. Being able to set your hours and work in your spare time can afford you many things. The freedom to travel or even work on the move is an option without any consequences to you. You also have the freedom of working wherever you’re comfortable. So as a freelance photographer if you’ve completed a photography session a day ago, you’re not obligated to stay at home in your workspace and edit if you don’t want to. Personally, I often find myself editing in coffee shops, not only because I love the smell of coffee but it is relaxing. Tell this to someone who works a normal 9-5 and they will probably look at you in disgust and jealousy if they hate their job which they more than likely do.
In the world of freelance photography, you have the potential to make at least 45% more income than the regular working Individual. I have personally experienced this whereas I asked a few close friends and family members what their monthly income was like and to my surprise, I couldn’t believe it. I was able to make at least twice the monthly salary of a regular 9-5 worker in the space of doing just a few photography sessions. This helped to put a lot into perspective for me to understand the concept that time is definitely money.
– Endless Possibilities
Anything can happen when you’re a freelancer so the opportunities are actually endless. As a freelance photographer, I believe you get back as much as you put into your career. For example, if you don’t try to network and expand your reach to companies and new clients then you can only make so much income and no more. You control your destiny and as cliche, as it might sound, it is a fact.