Freelance Photographers: Setting Career Goals

Freelance Photographers: Setting Career Goals
by: Melanie Feltham, B.A., B.Sc.
Photography is an industry that is quickly becoming saturated with freelancers due to the availability of quality cameras that allow almost anyone to take a stunning photograph. It is therefore making it more difficult for freelance photographers to break into the business successfully. Fortunately, there are still several things that can be done to help in becoming successful, one of which is setting reachable career goals. The most important thing to remember is not to set short-term goals that will be too difficult to attain. Setting unreachable short-term goals can cause discouragement when they are not met.
Career Goal #1: Develop Your Freelance Photography Website
It is important to create an attractive website that you can refer potential employers to. Buy a domain name that will be easy to remember and that has direct relevance to your work. If you do not have the ability to design an attractive website yourself, there are numerous small website development companies that can do one for you on a budget. If you do your own, however, it will reflect your artistic personality and you will have the ability to change it as often as you wish. Adding photographs frequently is recommended to keep your site fresh and up to date. Apple has a great program called iweb that is very user friendly and makes website development fast and easy.
Career Goal #2: Grow Your Freelance Photography Network
Make sure to take advantage of all the great social networking sites available to you. These sites will allow you to spread your name and samples of your work to potentially millions of viewers for free. Create a fan page on Facebook, a LinkedIn profile with your resume, a Twitter account, and a Flickr account. Flickr is one of the best social networking sites available for photographers. Set aside at least two hours every week to keep them up to date.
Career Goal #3: Do Not Give Up
Use every avenue that you have available. Keep business cards on you at all times. Distribute cards to key places that potential clients may visit regularly. Bed and breakfasts, art galleries, and museums quite often host weddings and conferences that are full of potential clients. Art and craft fairs and wedding shows are also a great place to look for work. You can partner with someone in a different industry such as a gown shop that will distribute your information at an event, or you can purchase your own booth.  
Career Goal #4: Shoot Some Great Photographs
Local newspapers often pay freelance photographers for pictures of news stories if they are unable to have someone on their own on site. Take your camera everywhere and when you have something fantastic offer it to an appropriate magazine or website developer.  
Having set these goals, expect the work to come slowly. Remember it takes time to build a client base and to get your name recognized. Grandiose long-term goals will help keep you reaching ahead, but attainable short-term goals will keep you on track. 

Freelance photographers are becoming more valuable and prevalent due to the availability of quality cameras that allow almost anyone to take a stunning photograph. It is therefore making it more difficult for freelance photographers to break into the business successfully. Fortunately, there are still several things that can be done to help in becoming successful, one of which is setting reachable career goals. The most important thing to remember is not to set short-term goals that will be too difficult to attain. Setting unreachable short-term goals can cause discouragement when they are not met.

Goal 1: Develop Your Freelance Photography Website

It is important to create an attractive website that you can refer potential employers to. Buy a domain name that will be easy to remember and that has direct relevance to your work. If you do not have the ability to design an attractive website yourself, there are numerous small website development companies that can do one for you on a budget. If you do your own, however, it will reflect your artistic personality and you will have the ability to change it as often as you wish. Adding photographs frequently is recommended to keep your site fresh and up to date. Apple has a great program called iweb that is very user friendly and makes website development fast and easy.

Goal 2: Grow Your Freelance Photography Network

Make sure to take advantage of all the great social networking sites available to you. These sites will allow you to spread your name and samples of your work to potentially millions of viewers for free. Create a fan page on Facebook, a LinkedIn profile with your resume, a Twitter account, and a Flickr account. Flickr is one of the best social networking sites available for photographers. Set aside at least 2 hours every week to keep them up to date.

Goal 3: Do Not Give Up

Use every avenue that you have available. Keep business cards on you at all times. Distribute cards to key places that potential clients may visit regularly. Bed and breakfasts, art galleries, and museums quite often host weddings and conferences that are full of potential clients. Art and craft fairs and wedding shows are also a great place to look for work. You can partner with someone in a different industry such as a gown shop that will distribute your information at an event, or you can purchase your own booth.  

Goal 4: Shoot Some Great Photographs

Local newspapers often pay freelance photographers for pictures of news stories if they are unable to have someone on their own on site. Take your camera everywhere and when you have something fantastic offer it to an appropriate magazine or website developer.  

Having set these goals, expect the work to come slowly. Remember it takes time to build a client base and to get your name recognized. Grandiose long-term goals will help keep you reaching ahead, but attainable short-term goals will keep you on track.