How To Become a Freelance Photographer

Posted on October 28, 2022 | Updated on October 31, 2023

Have you considered becoming a freelance photographer? It could be the perfect opportunity for you since many successful photographers have turned their side hustle into a full-time dream job.

Yet, if you’re only looking for something fun to do in your spare time, this is still doable as freelance photography allows you to set your own hours.

Sometimes people aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to jumpstarting a new career. Rest assured that you can become a freelance photographer by following these tips below.

  1. Start With the Right Equipment

You can’t become a freelance photographer without having the right photography equipment in your possession. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in a good camera, accessories and editing software upfront.

For example, you’ll need certain equipment such as:

  • Long and short-distance lenses
  • Tripod
  • Flashguns
  • Remote triggers, etc.

You’ll also need software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, a bag to carry your camera and extra batteries. Many creatives also use Apple MacBook Pro as their top choice for running photo editing software and other programs. 

However, various other laptops make a sound choice for your freelance work. It all depends on your needs and preferences.

2. Determine Your Pricing

Your pricing is one aspect that can define the success or failure of your photography business. Most photographers start work with a break-even model, starting small by charging less and earning nothing. 

This method tends to work because what matters most is that you’re building a client base first. However, you eventually want to make a profit since no one wants to work for free. That’s why new freelance photographers start by building networks to scale gradually. 

As soon as you find your niche and style, you can start charging higher prices and earn more than you deserve.

3. Build a Portfolio

One of the most important components of freelance photography success is building a portfolio to help you stand out.

No matter your style of photography, you need a portfolio to showcase your talents. Otherwise, how will potential clients take you seriously?

Consider building a website that represents your aesthetic. It’ll also help establish your website’s primary goals and create a call to action. For instance, you can build a landing page that offers a freebie in exchange for visitors’ email information. 

4. Keep Practicing

Once you build a website, your work doesn’t stop there. Even though you might not have clients yet, it’s pertinent to practice your art so you can keep getting better. 

Consider going to your favorite places and working on different projects. Practice your framing and work on your color compositions. You can also watch tutorials if you want to use a certain style. 

Practicing might sound boring, but it’s the key to learning from your mistakes. 

5. Network

Many become freelance photographers because they’re passionate about their work and feel they should share it with the world.

While taking photographs is fun and easy, a necessary part of your job is to put yourself out there. Otherwise, how will people know about you and your work?

Networking is crucial for any business, and it can determine whether you’ll profit from it or not.

Consider interacting with other creatives and brands you’d like to work with in the future. Fostering relationships and maintaining those online connections can help you retain work in the long run. 

Then, you can see if they have a project you can help with, allowing you to add more work to your portfolio. 

Giving It Your All

Freelance photography is more than a side hustle. It takes a lot of work to grow and learn how to become a full-fledged freelance photographer.

Freelancing comes with much exploration and time to learn from your mistakes. However, it helps to prepare yourself by knowing the right steps and taking it upon yourself to give it your all. 

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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