Successful freelance photographers, like Amy Koughan, quickly learned what was required to become a professional photographer, and adapted their skill set to achieve that goal. Although the idea of being a freelance artist, beholden to no one, is an attractive concept, the reality is that it requires dedication, hard work, confidence, and little luck to make it a profitable career.
The number of individuals who have become freelance artists was estimated in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Labor as around 10.3 million. That amount increased over the last decade, with more than four million freelancers in 2013, according to a group from Economic Modeling Specialists. Many freelancers have risen above these numbers by employing smart approaches to their business. Finding a specialty rather than trying to be or do too much in photography is more likely to bring in business, and thereby create success. It’s also important for photographers to be aware of the competition in their market and also the demand that market clamors for.
Amy Koughan and other profitable and prominent freelance photographers know that talent is only one aspect of success; many talented photographers never see commercial success because they do not develop the necessary business acumen to promote and sell their work. Marketing one’s work is vital, as is stating costs clearly and upfront, and getting all contracts in writing and signed. This means that photographers need to learn how to bid and price jobs so that they don’t price themselves out of the market, but do make a profit for their talents and skills.