How to get started in videography or photography (how to get work as a freelancer)

There are a lot of ways to turn your creativity into art. As a videographer and owner of my own video production company I enjoy using my creativity to turn photos and videos that I have captured into compelling stories. A few years ago I started from scratch using one cheap camera that I purchased online and a number of different free editing softwares. I have been successful in going from doing sports videos part time as a hobby to creating and owning my own video production company by using a few simple methods that I learned along the way. In this article I will be giving you 5 tips for starting from scratch as a freelance Videographer and/ or photographer. Disclaimer, although similar, the specific skills used in videography and photography or quite different however the purpose of this article is to give you the foundation of how to get started and get jobs in your craft NOT to help you perfect it. At the end of this article you will have a clear understanding of how to become a freelancer and pick up jobs in both fields. A freelancer is essentially an independent contractor that is hired to complete a job for a company or organization on a job by job basis. In other words, you work for yourself and pick which jobs you want to take on which makes it the perfect side hustle. Whether you are just looking for a new hobby/side hustle or looking to build the foundations of a business this article will give you the tools that you need to get started. We will not be covering editing softwares in this article since photography and videography use and need different things in order to be done correctly. There will also be product recommendations linked off of this article in the form of affiliate links. If you purchase anything using the affiliate links in this article Streat Clips Productions LLC will receive a small commission. That is one way to help support our growing brand. So, how do you get work as a freelance photographer or videographer?

1) "Pick a niche"

Before you can get started doing camera work it is important for you to pick a niche. A niche is basically an area of emphasis for your projects. For example, my video production company Streat Clips Productions LLC takes on all kinds of jobs however because our niche is basketball most of the work that we do is related to the sport of basketball. You can check out our full website to see samples of our work. Having a niche is important because it allows you to be more intentional both when searching for jobs and while building your skill set. It also allows you the opportunity to focus on reaching a specific audience when both marketing your services and putting the finished product on display. Finally Having a niche simply makes you easier to find. For example if you specialize in wedding photography than when people are searching for a wedding photographer they are more likely to find your page than if you simply toss up random videos every so often. It does NOT mean that you turn down jobs that are non wedding related, it just means that your primary target audience is going to be people looking for a wedding photographer. In order to find the correct niche for you take some time to figure out what you are good at. If you are a former athlete you may do better with sporting events whereas you may do better at something like weddings if you have a keen eye for details. Whatever you choose as your niche be sure that it is something you are very interested in and will not get sick of easily. Now that you have your niche chosen it's time to get some equipment.

2) "Purchase a camera and equipment"

When you are first starting out it is easy to get intimidated by the prices of camera equipment. I can tell you from experience though that if you are serious about pursuing freelance Photography or Videography you will more than make your money back after just your first few paid gigs. It is well worth the investment if you plan on sticking with it. For anybody new to camera work I would recommend purchasing a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera to start off with. They are relatively easy to use and tend to be less expensive than SLR and movie cameras. Most of them are also able to capture both picture and video in a high quality so that you have the opportunity to practice with both. DSLR cameras have a pretty wide range of prices depending on what features you are looking for to start off with. I would recommend getting a bundle to start off with so that you will have everything you need for one price including memory cards, tripod, camera, lenses and more. One of the fastest and easiest ways to get a good quality startup camera is with the always fast and reliable amazon. This link is an amazing bundle featuring the canon t7 and everything else you need to get started all for under $500. If you prefer the Nikon brand this link contains a similar bundle featuring the Nikon D3500 and all of things you will need to get started for just under $600. Once you purchase your camera and equipment than it is time to get started looking for jobs.

3) "Get your name out there"

The reality of doing camera work is that no one cares about what degree have, what college you went to, or even how many years you have been in the field. The only thing that matters (for better or for worse) is your portfolio of work. If your videos and/or pictures are good then people will hire you and if they are not then they won't. Simple as that. The problem you will face when you are first beginning your journey is that you obviously will not have much if anything to show to potential employers. This means that when you are first starting out you will need to "takes deep breath" work for free in order to build your portfolio and expand your network. Now I know this does not sound ideal however the pay off will be well worth it. While working unpaid gigs you will have the opportunity to build your portfolio, expand your network, and ultimately perfect your craft all while working on low stress projects. In order to get these opportunities you must reach out to local businesses, organizations, and individuals and simply ask. The conversation should be something along the lines of "hello my name is ___ I am a freelance photographer/Videographer looking to get as much practice as possible in the field of ___. Can I make a video/take pictures of ___ for you". This is a win win situation. Most people will simply say because they will not lose anything and if your work is good enough they will be able to use it for their business. You will get practice for your craft, more work to add to your portfolio, and if your work is good enough that they use it then you will get free promotion for your future services. This is where having identified your niche prior to beginning will come in handy. If you are looking to begin in the market of weddings then you would offer free services for friends or family in order to get practice. If you want to get into sports then you would reach out to local sports teams, coaches, etc. If you were looking to get into aiding businesses and brands then you would reach out to local businesses and so on and so forth. Of course you will want to save all of your work to use for your portfolio which is why it will be important to have an external hard drive that can hold a substantial amount of data because video and picture files tend to be quite large. When first starting out I would recommend having AT LEAST 1 TB (terabyte) of space to allow you to keep up with all of your projects. The reason for this is that your computer will likely fill up extremely quickly and soon you will end up deleting most of your old projects to make space for new ones. Once again amazon offers several quality options without breaking the bank. is a 1TB option for under $50. If you are looking for something a bit larger is a 2TB option for right at $65. Now that you have gotten a few projects under your belt its time to put together a portfolio and start getting paid for your work.

4) "Market your work and get paid"

You've done 5 or 6 small projects and 1 or 2 big ones and you feel extremely confident in your creative ability at this point. So how do you make that transition from essentially using your camera work as a hobby to using it as a vehicle to make money? Now it is time to put together a portfolio so that you can show potential employers your work. When it comes to camera work your portfolio acts as your resume in a sense, however unlike a written paper resume you will need to create a visually stunning way to show off your art. The beauty of this is that your portfolio can be used both as a resume and a marketing tool for others to find your work. The two easiest ways to do so is with either a social media page or a website (or preferably both). Each of these methods has pros and cons. For example a social media page will likely get more traffic when you are first getting started out however a website would be a more professional way to showcase your work to potential clients. Social media will require little set up but a ton of work to grow and maintain meanwhile a website will require a ton of work up front to get it running but much less maintenance that a social media page. A great place to build a professional website is with wix. this link will put you directly on the path to building your professional website with wix. As far as social media goes Facebook and Instagram are two of the best to use for a virtual portfolio because they are very user friendly and relatively easy to grow when first starting out. They can also be linked together in order to make it easier to maintain both accounts daily. Now when you reach out to businesses, friends, and other potential clients you will be able to set a price for your services and show them examples of your work using your website and/or social media to back up why you deserve the desired rate. Once you begin making money with camera work you will learn that most of what you make is profit since it cost close to nothing to create your art in most cases. The last tip that I have for you is the most important one.

5) "Just get started"

This is one of those simple but deadly tips that most people struggle with. The law of diminishing intent states "the longer that you wait to do something the less likely that you will ever actually do it". The fact is that no amount of studying, no amount of preparation, no amount of careful planning will ever come close to just getting out and learning through trial and error. A lot of individuals spend months of their time preparing to get started with something when in fact most of the time you would get much further ahead if you just took action. Camera work is no different. If you are reading this article then you most likely are thinking about getting started with camera work and the truth is that within this article you have received everything that you need to get started. So I challenge you to get started today and bring your creativity to life through photography and/or videography. Let us know in the comments below if you found the tips in this article to be helpful.

228 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All