Learning how to get into photography is not a challenge. Being a freelance photographer is an inspiring and often flexible way to use your skills to create amazing works for others. Unfortunately, open positions aren’t as heavily advertised as the jobs in other categories, such as freelance writing, design, or development - you might find it more difficult to find the right client to craft a proposal template for or send a quotation or invoice to. That doesn’t mean there isn’t work available, however. Knowing the right places to look for jobs is an important factor in building and sustaining a career in photography.
Here are some of the most popular – and promising – destinations for finding photography jobs from all over the world.
Stock photo companies
One of the easiest, low-pressure avenues to selling your photography work is through stock photography sites. These companies will purchase pictures from most any high-quality photographer within a number of in-demand categories, including business, tech, nature, and abstract. The guidelines for vetting new photographers, as well as what each photo submission requires, will vary by the company. Be sure to visit each company’s photographer guidelines to get the most up-to-date information on what they are buying, and what prices they pay. In general, however, most accept photos with a minimum size of 1600 x 1200 pixels in raw or RGP JPEG format.
1. Deposit photos
This website takes new submissions from photographers after a quick application and some sample photos. You may choose to upload photos or videos (either will get you qualified and you can then continue to sell both formats, as well.) You will also need to provide proper identification to prove who you are, either with a valid state ID or passport. Deposit Photos makes submission even easier if you happen to sell photos on another stock photography site; simply submit a link to your other site’s portfolio for quicker review. The site currently pays 34 -42% of the price of photos to its contributors. It also has a per-photo pricing plan that pays up to $.35 per photo downloaded under a qualified subscription plan.
After completing the required tutorial, you can start submitting photos right away. All accepted photos are then eligible to be purchased by customers, with the photographer getting a fee that average 30% of sales. The more photos you upload, the higher your chances of earning!
This popular stock photo site requires you to register for a free account before submitting photos, but their requirements for submissions are laid out clearly for all contributors. The site claims to use three criteria for accepting photos, reviewing each technically, aesthetically and commercially. They pay out higher for photos that are listed exclusively with their site, and they pay $.20 per accepted upload (up to a maximum of 100 uploads) in addition to their tiered royalty payments.
With one of the fastest approval times in the industry, it’s possible to get started making money from Canstock within a few days. Just submit three sample photos, and once approved, you can continue uploading up to 20 photos and releases at a time. Earnings range from $.50 - $1.00 per photo, and photographers who refer their friends make referral commissions, as well (up to $50 per referred photographer.)
Not into selling stock photography? There are more traditional ways to make money that come up all the time. These sites offer freelance photographer listings regularly. Check each periodically so that you don’t miss a job!
This job board lists opportunities in news, media, and digital content. While the photography positions aren’t as plentiful as the reporting positions, they are more likely to be on a freelance basis. Use the search field to type on “photographer” and then narrow by location. You can also choose “remote” or “all locations” to get a listing of opportunities that can be done anywhere.
This lesser-known site has a dedicated photography section that gets updated two or three times a week with new jobs. Older jobs stay active until they are filled, however, so don’t feel like you can’t apply if they are not very recent. Unlike traditional job boards, People Per Hour requires you to register on the site before sending a proposal. You can see an approximate amount that employers and clients are willing to pay, however, keeping you from wasting your time creating a proposal if the budget isn’t in line with your freelance goals.
A job board aggregator, this site doesn’t always list just photography jobs. In fact, it’s common to see non-photography jobs mixed in that contain the word “photography” somewhere in the job description. For the most part, however, it’s a reliable source for jobs by state, with opportunities ranging from full-time employee positions to temporary freelance gigs. Use it to get ideas of companies who regularly hire photographers, and use the list to prospect on your own throughout the year.
This job search engine only lists jobs that can be done remotely, so it’s ideal for freelancers looking for work in areas that don’t usually have on-site photographer jobs. It doesn’t have more than a handful of listings at a time, however, so bookmark the site to check back regularly.
Designed just for creative professionals to find work, this has a higher number of photography jobs than other sites. You must register for a free account on the site to get access to the job listing details, but once you do, there are dozens of jobs updated daily. Note that many of the positions are traditional employment arrangements – not freelance – so you’ll need to read through the description of each carefully to know if it’s for you.
This bid-for-work site functions much like Upwork. You’ll create a freelancer profile, bid on jobs, and accept work that matches your price and project requirements. It’s a rather competitive way to get work, but it also offers many new listings each day. The more jobs you do, the higher your ranking, so those who do well in the beginning can earn a professional reputation and bid for better jobs.
Any reputable freelance photographer should have a public portfolio available to showcase their best work. Be sure to link to it from your resume, cover letter, and profile on marketplace and gig sites. You should regularly update this portfolio with new work as you create it.
Many photographers also find that they get repeat work from their best past clients. You can increase your chances of this happening by making sure you over-deliver on your work for a long career in photography! Happy customers are also likely to share your name with colleagues. After each successful job, let your client know that you enjoyed working with them, and that you are appreciate of referrals. Before long, you’ll have customers coming to you (instead of having to apply on job boards.)
Finally, feel free to take on new jobs that are a bit outside of your expertise at a lower rate, if needed. The added experience of these jobs can improve your skills and give you much-needed clips for taking on higher paying work in this new niche.
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