When I moved to Melbourne I was searching for something different. I was already dedicated to photography when my sister picked out a photography college and I enrolled. I didn’t think it would stick and I gave it a year at most. Three years later I graduated with a high distinction, ready to put a foot into the industry with more confidence then I’d ever had.
While I learnt so many things at college, I wasn’t quite prepared for the transition from student to freelancer. All of a sudden everything goes up in price. It’s tempting to retreat from the world, work more hours at your part time job to fill the void of having no more classes and tell yourself you’re saving or figuring it all out. Life is expensive, we all know it. However, if you’ve decided that this is really for you and you want to bring on the long nights of editing for clients instead of tutors then here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling.
Get a website together. Pay a monthly fee and get a template so you’re able to really play with your website and get it looking the way you like, the way you want to market yourself. Knowing what you want to shoot and more importantly, who you want to shoot for is essential. Make a list of your three dream clients, keep this visual on your wall, fridge or desktop.
You’re a freelance photographer now, so it’s important that you run your photography like a business. Figure out how to do your own invoices and set up an email signature, look polished and professional. If you want your business to flourish you need to water it. Set yourself business hours from Monday to Friday and stick to them. There is always something you can be doing to drum up some business. Brainstorm, budget and bring your own personal projects to light when it’s quiet.
Now, none of this is important if you’re not starting to shoot for different clients here and there. If you want to become an art photographer and most of your work is self-commissioned - consider earning some dollars by shooting weddings or working at a studio. This will help you meet more people who might be looking for a photographer.
Networking is absolutely essential in this industry BUT it’s best if you approach it in a way that suits your personality. If you’re extroverted and love getting out there and talking to people you will thrive in this area. If you’re a more shy, introverted photographer then it’s best to take smaller steps and don’t stress out too much. From fashion parties to wedding expos, find your market and your clients and then put yourself in front of them.
Also, I’m not going to lie, personal merch is the best! Get your name on a few t-shirts, tote bags and usb sticks, your business is legitimate and it’s important that you personally believe this and treat it as such.
Work, work and work harder. Explore avenues you might have ignored previously and take steps towards something that scares you. Graduating is a real turning point in life - you’re out on your own with no safety net. Put into practice all the things you’ve learnt and enjoy the ride! x