Question by Spencer H: Advice for an aspiring freelancer
This is a question solely for working professional photographers, or to those who do freelance work in a creative oriented field.
I have been taking photos since i was 12, but once out of high school i chose to pursue a degree in film production.
After a year i knew it just wasn’t for me, so i found a nice little school that had photography as an AAS degree. Through 2.5 years, you learn mainly technical skills that culminate in a semester long portfolio development class that gets you started into the photography business.
Thats all well and good, and even though i was decent when i started, only a year in and i see an exponential growth in skills, so I’m not doubting the effectiveness of the program, as many have graduated and started very successful careers, some at a national level.
My question though is this enough? I have little to no business/entrepreneurial experience, so my thoughts were to transfer to a larger school to receive a degree in something like business to help out my money management/marketing skills/
To any working professionals out there, what would you say is a good path to take. There are always the Joey Lawrence stories or the Chase Jarvis’, photographers with little or no training that made it big, but for the rest of us, and those who could care less if were shooting celebrities, whats a good background to be able to work as a freelancer? The specific field would be Commercial Photography, as in ad work or similar.
I know this question warrants an answer that is highly subjective, however any guidance, or perhaps the story of how you did it, is highly appreciated.
For reference, this is my site http://spencerherford.jimdo.com/
Answer by Joni H
I earn my living as a freelance writer, so I guess you would consider that a creative field.
I think getting some training in business is an excellent idea. Many people forget that a freelance business is a business. I see more people stumble or fail because they don’t have the experience of running a business, than for technical skills. I was fortunate because my background was in business management.
You are right not to compare yourself to the superstars in the field. First of all, luck played a big factor in their success. Second, what worked 10 or 20 years ago, doesn’t work today. But it is still very possible to make a nice living as a freelancer — if you run it as a business, and not a hobby.
The only other advice I can offer is to be willing to start small. On the first few projects, I barely made more than the minimum wage. But 4 years later, I’m making a nice living and only working about 20 hours per week.
What do you think? Answer below!