Q&A – How To Get Paid Photography Jobs

It’s time for another Q&A post where I’ll answer the most asked questions of photography students! It’s already 4 years ago since I graduated at the Art Academy and I remember that moment when you realize that you are all by yourself and you have to find clients to get started as a freelance photographer. There is a lot of competition of other photographers who all want the same so it is really hard to stand out nowadays. But I can guarantee you, there is only place out there for the photographers who go for it a 100%. Today I will share what worked for me, but I’m sure every photographer and every kind of photography have their own ways to get noticed by clients.

KLAUDIA: I’M ALMOST DONE WITH MY PHOTOGRAPHY STUDY, WHERE DO I START? WHERE CAN I FIND MY CLIENTS? HOW DID YOU DO THIS?

Do what you love, love what you do
Klaudia was my intern, so I know you are a hard worker and you really love photography. That is a very good start! If you do what you love, people will notice and it does not feel as ‘work’ because you enjoy it so much. I promise hard work pays off.

Your network is #1
The most important thing in photography is your network. I even think your network is more important than your photography skills. Of course you need to be a good photographer, but an amazing portfolio without knowing anybody in the industry makes it very hard to be a working professional. I notice my network is still growing and besides networking in real life Instagram, Facebook and Youtube are a great way to get noticed by the right people (read: future clients). Also be kind to other photographers and ask them about their experience, I’m sure all photographers have the same doubts. And maybe when they are not able to do a job, they will give your name and the job is for you. I receive a lot of emails from clients who start like this: ‘Lisa told us your name and (…)’ and then I’ve never met Lisa, but she is a follower on Instagram or I met her once or something else. So your network is bigger than you first think!

How they’ve found you
Always ask people/clients how they’ve found you! Write it down and you will discover what is the best way to market your business. Maybe they’ve found you on social media, Google, via word-of-mouth advertising or … Invest even more time in the source that works the best for you.

Rhode: How to get paid photography jobs?

Your ideal client
Write down what your ideal client would look like. Maybe you like to shoot for fashion designers, web shops or you want to open a portrait studio where you make beautiful portraits of all kinds of people or your prefer weddings. The next step is to find out where they are located and how to reach them, write a good and personal email or give them a call and follow them on social media. Tell or write them who you are but especially what you can do for them. People are more interested to hear what is in it for them, so don’t make your talk about yourself too long. If they don’t have a job for you the first time, they will remember your name next time they are searching for a photographer. Make sure your website is up to date and update your social media daily or a few times a week with new work or a personal update.

Get out there
When I started my photography website and my Flickr.com account when I was 15 years old it was all very anonymous. I thought it was all about the photos but a few years later I discovered that the person behind the ‘brand’ makes it even more personal. When I started to see my photography as a business and a brand, it started to grow. Don’t be afraid to show yourself or tell a little bit more about your love for photography in the about page on your website or on your social media channels. Maybe you don’t understand why this can be important to find paid jobs, but the client is hiring you for a big job and a long day and they want to know who you are,  or what you look like (are you friendly and nice to work with all day?) and what your style is.

After the first jobs
Other clients will notice your new work and they will consider to work with you. When they see you are busy with jobs and projects, it makes it even more attractive for them. It shows that you are a hardworking photographer and other clients love to work with you, so they will also consider to work with you.

Let’s talk money
For your very first jobs ask at least the costs that you make plus a little bit more. Try not to work for free because you spend a lot of time in the job and your photography gear is really expensive. The next time they will not understand why you ask money because you first worked for free, so why would they pay you this time? It’s also not fair to other clients or other photographers who need to make a living of photography.

When you are more experienced there are a few different ways to price your photography, I’ll name a few:
1. You can ask a day rate (8 hours) with the edited photos included
2. You ask a day rate + a price per hour for the editing
3. You can ask a special amount for each edited photo

Also don’t forget to ask where and how long they will use your photos, especially for the bigger brands. This is called: buy out. They will pay a price for the buy out + the day rate + editing process + other costs like travel expenses etc.

There is no secret tip to get paid photography jobs. Just start somewhere and see what works best for you is the best tip I can give you at this moment! Enjoy and go for it!

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.

Thanks to my intern Lois Jutte for the photos.