5 skills freelance photographers need now to increase income in 2016
Freelance photographers earn money by producing engaging, well-composed photographs for clients. If you hope to become successful in this pursuit, however, you must hone skills that have nothing to do with clicking the shutter. Whether you shoot lifestyle images, portraits, landscapes, or something else entirely, learn these skills to increase your chances of success in the upcoming year.
1. Communication Skills
When working with clients, you must be able to interpret their requests through your photographs. This means knowing which questions to ask and how to apply their instructions to your craft. If a dispute erupts, good communication skills help you keep the peace with your customers.
If you’re not comfortable with one-on-one communication, practice with a friend or relative. Make lists of questions you want to ask before you meet with a potential client, and always keep a friendly smile at the ready.
2. Accounting Skills
Whether you shoot for a stock photography website or individual clients, you must keep track of your own income and expenses as a freelance photographer. The sooner you learn basic accounting skills, the easier it becomes to generate revenue without exceeding your ideal overhead.
It’s also important to know what you should charge. Check out our freelance income survey to compare your rates to those of other freelance photographers and continually update your rates to reflect your growing talent. If you do not charge enough for your services or images, you will not be able to support yourself.
3. Post-Processing Skills
Armed with 300 photographs on your DSLR’s memory card, you know your work is not done. After you capture images for a client or a stock photography service, you must process them so they are as clear, balanced, and engaging as possible. You’ll need to learn how to use your preferred software program, such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and how to export your images so you can show them to the end user.
4. Marketing Skills
The best freelance photographers devote a significant portion of each day to marketing. Without marketing skills, you can’t attract new clients or spread the word about your services.
Start with social media. Set up a blog and an account at a couple social media sites so you can connect with potential customers. Share your images on your blog and in those accounts so other people can see your work.
5. Confidence Skills
Many freelance photographers struggle with selling themselves short. They agree to shoot weddings for free even though they need the income or they adjust their prices down when a client tries to haggle.
Shoot every day and select your favorite images from each session. Learn something from every job you take, then apply those skills to the next one. Devote yourself to nurturing your own confidence so you have the wherewithal to decline to work for free or to lower your prices when you know you deserve a certain amount of compensation.
A freelance photography career offers an opportunity to pursue your passion behind the viewfinder. Take the time to develop the above five skills, as well, so you’re prepared for the business side of this career.