Freelance Photography Job Search Tips

Freelance photography may seem like a dream job to photographers, but we need to start with a few words of caution. This is a tough job, and there are some major considerations in freelance photography job search which must be fully understood.

  • Freelance photography is very much a cashflow oriented business. Equipment is expensive, time is expensive, travel is expensive, and returns can be mediocre, if you’re not careful about who you’re dealing with and what rates you’re charging.
  • Always investigate rates of payment, when looking for a freelance photography job. No exceptions. 
  • Freelance photography naturally involves the demands for visual content of a very wide range of people. Creative freelancers can be driven up the wall by demands for very banal images which also don’t pay very well.
  • Freelance photography content often involves niche markets. “Art” photography, for example, is a totally different market in terms of demand for content, and pays very differently, to the mainstream commercial photography market.
  • Time is a major commercial consideration in freelance photography. It is perfectly possible to use up a lot of time on a no sale proposition. That’s definitely not where you want to be, because you can wind up seriously out of pocket. Put the commercial realities first, until you can afford to do this sort of work.
  • Studio work can be very expensive. Make sure you’ve got all your costs organized, before even considering this type of work. You will need to cover a lot of overheads, particularly if you’re working in shopping strip or mall premises.

Freelance Photography Job Search Online

The basic job search online is simple, but the number of results can be a problem, and you can also get a lot of staff photographer jobs, some of which pay less than professional freelance work.

You can stick to the basic “photography” search, but add qualifiers, like “art+ photography” or “studio+ photography." Try different search techniques and terms until you get a reliable search methodology.

Categories can be useful for freelance photography job search. Locations can prevent the arduous travel jobs which really don’t suit everybody. (Any travel option needs to be considered as a potential cost issue. You may be able to negotiate payment of your travel fees as an established freelance photographer, but until then, you’re paying for it).

Freelance Web Sites for Freelance Photography Job Search

Some freelance sites are much better organized for freelancers than the big job boards. The big US freelance site iFreelance is particularly good for an easy search through freelance photography contract jobs. This is a bidding site, where professionals give competitive quotes for contracts.

It’s also a site where you can post your profile if you sign up, and give a good presentation for your services. Remember to provide a good series of links to your work, so potential clients can see your full range of services. Another big advantage is that you can check out the market for jobs in the field, and if you’re also able to do other media content, find other jobs as well.