How to Become Freelance Photographer? Top 9 Easy Steps 2023

Are you willing to discover the Freelancing Photographer and want to become one? You clicked at the right page. Here we will provide you a detailed guide of Freelance Photography, how to become one, important skills needed, where to get jobs and many more.

The world is a beautiful place to live and here we come across a lot of beautiful moments. A freelance photographer captures these moments using their talents behind the camera. And they earn a good amount of money by selling them. Do you also want to do the same? So, let’s dive into it-

Table of Contents

What is Freelancing Photographer?

A Freelance Photographer is going to take a shot
Image – 1.1: A Freelance Photographer is going to take a shot

Freelance photographer is a self employed person who shoots photos to sell them online or to sell them to clients. Generally, the freelance photographers are independent and have no boss above them.

That means you work for yourself, your job responsibility is totally yours. As a freelance photographer, you have a number of choices to pick up.

You can become a wedding freelance photographer, you can become a travel freelance photographer, even you can become a products specialist freelance photographer.

We will discuss them later in this post. In summary, a freelance photographer is paid for his or her skills and talent behind the camera.

Since, a freelance photographer is independent, so, they can work for multiple clients to maximize their earnings.

How to Become a Freelance Photographer? The Ultimate Guide

A Freelance Photographer is busy in taking shots
Image – 1.2: A Freelance Photographer is busy in taking shots

The freelancing world is too vast as well as it is also full of competitions. You can enter into this field easily but you must have to do a lot of hard work to survive there.

A lot of people quit freelance photography due to lack of proper information. But don’t worry, you will get all the details and information here.

So, without wasting any more time let’s head towards it.

1. Set a Budget:-

As a freelance photographer, your first step should be of making a proper budget. That’s because, you are a fresher at this step, right?

And you want to spend less to earn more. In this case, you can set your budgets for your main priorities, such as- camera, tripod, editing software etc.

But how will you get the information about all of these budgets, eqiupment? Simply you can gather information from your local photographers. Also you will get lot more information from internet about where to spend how much.

After some months, when you will gain enough skills and experiences and start to earn money, then you can increase your budget a little.

It will allow you to buy more expensive equipment or gadgets. And thus, you can increase your photography quality.

2. Choose the Niche:-

A Freelance Sports Photographer is taking shots in a competition
Image – 1.3: A Freelance Sports Photographer is taking shots in a competition

Choosing a niche in the freelance photography is another important task. A number of different niches are there available in the vast field of freelance photography. 

You can choose the food freelance photography or travel freelance photography or portrait freelance photography or nature freelance photography and even many more. 

But don’t worry, you don’t have to select all of them. Just select 1 or 2 niches and specialized on them.

But how will you know that which niche to choose? You have to do this task on your own my friend. 

You have to ask yourself that, “What I love the most?”, “Which niche will be best for me?”, “Where will I get most interest?” etc.

The benefits of selecting a proper niche is that, you can focus on a particular topic. This will allow you to get specialized on that niche properly and maximize your earnings.

3. Purchase Necessary Equipment:

As a freelance photographer, you will be needed some must-have equipment. They are cameras, lenses, tripods, SD cards, PC, lightning tools, software, a camera bag and many more.

Don’t worry, we will discuss about them later in this post.

4. Create your own Portfolio:-

Portfolio album of a  Freelance Photographer
Image – 1.4: Portfolio album of a Freelance Photographer

One of the greatest tools of a freelancer is their portfolio. Every freelancer must have their own portfolio. 

A portfolio is a place where you organize your works and present them to your clients. The portfolio is a deciding factor. Because, your chance of getting hired by a client depends upon the works displayed on your portfolio.

The bigger your portfolio is, the more your chance is to get hired. Here, a bigger portfolio means a good work experience.

Now you come to know that, your portfolio should contain your works as a freelancer. But, how will you fill your portfolio as a fresher? 

Well, capture photos on your own and mention them as your “sample works” on the portfolio. Also, observe other freelance photographer’s works and portfolios. And try to do better than them. You will definitely stand out.  

Also, you can upload your photos on social media to attract the clients. Currently, social media have a large audience base, and you can get a lot of customers from there.

5. Create Packages:-

You may have seen the package pricing system at many places, such as “Pack A is $10”, “Pack B is $20”, and “Pack C is $30”. 

Similarly, you can also set package systems pricing. Although this is a very common system in the freelancing business. 

Also, you have to establish a relevant package pricing as a fresher. And don’t forget to consider your travel, equipment and other expenses while setting the prices. 

6. Get in Touch with your Networks:-

A group of Freelance Photographers are clicking sky shots
Image – 1.5: A group of Freelance Photographers are clicking sky shots

Now a days, it’s very important to have a good network with other professionals. Find such types of local photographers or you can find them on Internet also. 

Make sure to connect and collaborate with them. Join them if they are going to any photography session.

Work with them if they are attending any wedding/travel/ceremony session. This will help you to grow as a beginner. 

Not only that but also, you can add these photos to your portfolio. Also, you can offer some free photography sessions at the beginning. It will increase your skills and advertise you more. 

7. Get yourself Promoted:-

Now, you have set a budget, chosen a niche, bought equipment, created a portfolio and everything. Now?

There’s something missing still now. Yes, marketing!

You did all the necessary things but you want clients to find you on the Internet, right?

Well, the solution is pretty simple. 

Promote yourself on social media. Create a professional account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Threads and tell everybody there about yourself. 

Create relevant posts regarding your niche and upload your sample clicks there. Make sure to write the heading, descriptions and captions SEO-friendly, so that a client can easily find you easily.  

You can also join the relevant groups and communities in the social media platforms. It will help you to get more clients as well as to increase your audience base easily.

8. Engage with Audience:-

A Freelance Photographer is checking all comments
Image – 1.6: A Freelance Photographer is checking all comments

Your audiences are trying to connect with you but you are not replying to them. Nothing can be worse than that. 

Always try to get in touch with your audiences, followers and fans. If possible, then try to reply the audiences on your DMs and communicate with them politely. 

9. Create a Proper Schedule and To-Do List:-

A proper work schedule will not only let you to work efficiently but also to remember every task. Make a proper schedule of your photography sessions. 

For example- you decided to go to the nearby park on Saturday. You decided to go and click pictures of the busy road on Monday etc. 

Skills Needed for a Freelance Photographer:

The freelancing photography is not a small industry at all. There are many variety of niches and many more scopes of earning.

And where there are variety of niches, there must be a variety of skills needed also.

So, let’s talk about some necessary skills needed for freelance photography-

1. Creativity:-

Creative shot by a Freelance Photographer
Image – 1.7: Creative shot by a Freelance Photographer

Want to be unique from others, want to be better than others? Then you must have to acquire some creativity in order to do so.

In case of freelancing photography, creativity matters a lot. Your creativity can change an ordinary photo into an amazing one.

People love creativity, people love creative photos. As a freelance photographer, you can use different camera props, camera angles to improve your photography level.  

For instance, if you are clicking a picture of an individual, then you can use Tinsel or Metallic Streamers to take it up to a next level. 

More tips and tricks:- Read here

2. Interpersonal Communication:-

In case of freelance photography, in fact for photography, the interpersonal communication is very much important. 

Interpersonal communication means to encourage or to direct the client for a specific action to do. 

For example- if you are clicking a picture of a team of a college graduate students, then ask them to smile in joy and jump in excitement. 

But before doing so, make sure to discuss with the clients about the pose, gesture, expression etc. 

3. Different Approach:-

A Freelance Photographer is replying to her clients by email
Image – 1.8: A Freelance Photographer is replying to her clients by email

As a freelance photographer, you need the skills to approach and talk to differently with different clients.

That means, you can’t deal with a student client and a senior citizen client in the same manner, right?

That’s why you need to approach and talk with them in a proper way.

4. The Handling of Camera:-

A freelance photographer must have the knowledge of capturing a picture of a moving object, adjusting focus, shutters and many more.

Not only that, but also a skillful photographer must know that which camera angle, props and lens is best for which shot.

In addition, you must also know how to transfer pictures from camera to computer. 

It will be needed for your photo editing. 

5. Using the Photography Software:-

A Freelance Photographer is editing his photo
Image – 1.9: A Freelance Photographer is editing his photo

Currently, the photo editing knowledge is very important for a photographer. It not only enhances your picture quality, but also make it a little bit creative.

But remember, not to do a high level of photo editing because, it may deshape your gorgeous picture. 

You can just adjust the brightness, saturation, hue and contrast according to your taste.

6. Use the Lights Properly:-

You must have the knowledge of using external lighting systems as a freelance photographer.

Many times you may have to do photography at a studio with lack of natural light. In that case, you will be needed to use the external lights. 

In addition, you can use the light systems in cloudy weather also. 

Remember, not only the LED lights, but also you can use glasses, and reflectors as the source of external lights.

7. The Time Management Skill:-

A Freelance Photographer is noting down all the important tasks
Image – 1.10: A Freelance Photographer is noting down all the important tasks

The time management skill is not only necessary for freelance photography but also needed for any type of job.

A freelance photographer has a lot of tasks including travelling, editing and many more.

So, if you don’t want to miss any task and work efficiently, then you must acquire the knowledge of time management. 

What does a Freelance Photographer do?

Typically, the task of a freelance photographer is to receive orders from the clients, click photos and deliver those to clients. It may seem easy and simple from outside but it’s not so easy.

A freelance photographer has a variety of tasks to do. But most of them revolve around photography, camera etc.

So, let’s get discussed all of them below-

  • Contact with the clients and discuss about tasks and projects process.
  • Create a shot list of different angles, ideas for clients and make a short time table.
  • Create the proper schedule photography sessions with clients and venue.
  • Research and get all the ideas for photo shoots.
  • Arrange camera, equipment, lights and others on set.
  • Adjust camera settings, such as focus, shutter speed and aperture according to the environment.
  • Organize the photos, edit them properly and deliver on time.

Different Niches for a Freelance Photography:-

Image - 1.11: A Freelance Photographer is taking shot of a festival
Image – 1.11: A Freelance Photographer is taking shot of a festival

It’s necessary for a freelance photographer to get specialized in a particular topic. As a beginner, it’s recommended to choose at most 3 niches. 

Some important niches for freelancer photographers are given below-

  • Travel
  • festivals, weddings, engagements.
  • Commercial or editorial shoots
  • Wildlife and landscape
  • Real estate
  • Photojournalism
  • Social media
  • family portraits
  • Fashion
  • Food and beverages

Salary of a Freelance Photographer

To be honest, the answer is not fixed at all. It depends. It depends upon many factors. In case of a freelancer, it is decided by the number of clients you choose, amount of money you charge from them, client’s location etc.

Keep a thing in your mind that, the more you have skills and experiences, the more you earn salary.

Apart from that, if you are a photography freelancer, then you can charge also in these ways-

1. Travel Cost:-

The more distances you travel form your home to the destination, the more you can charge from the client.

2. Session Length:-

As a freelance photographer, you can increase your rates, if your session lasts for a long time.

3. Equipment Fees:-

If you are using some additional and technical equipment for doing photography session, then, simply, it’s your right to charge higher.

To give you a rough idea. In 2022, a freelance photographer earns almost $38,000/year on an average. 

From year 2020-2023, the world has witnessed a jump of almost 23% in the salary of freelance photographers. And it is expected to increase in the future years.

Where can you get Job/Clients as a Freelance Photographer?

A Freelance Photographer is uploading her photography
Image – 1.12: A Freelance Photographer is uploading her photography

As a freelance photographer, you get clients not only from freelancing websites but also from many other different sources. 

So, have a look at all the other important sources from where you can get potential clients.

Let’s get discussed-

1. Social Media:-

We have already discussed on our previous posts about the importance of social media in current days. There are no such tools as the social media where you can do your free promotion. 

That’s why, having and managing a social media account is very very important and beneficial now a days.

You can go to the social media, advertise yourself and engage with other people. You will definitely find a client.

In current days, you can use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest to promote yourself. Don’t forget to attach your contact information or website link on the caption below.

2. Your Website:-

Yes! That’s true that a freelancer can get clients from his/her own website also. In fact, it’s necessary for a freelancer to have his/her own website.

Having your own website can not only help you to get more clients but also help the client to make a deal with you easily. 

If you don’t know coding or don’t want to hire a web developer, then you can make your own website from WordPress easily. 

The best part is that it’s completely free and easy to use. You just need the investment in case of domain and hosting.

3. Do Free Sessions:-

A Freelance Photographer is spending time in a free session
Image – 1.13: A Freelance Photographer is spending time in a free session

If you are a beginner and new in this field, then you can choose the path of doing some free photography sessions.

A free photography session will help you to get promoted at a large extent.

Also you will learn many new skills and gain more and more experience. 

Apart from that, you can also add those pictures on your portfolio and website as your work sample. 

Make sure to ask the clients for a feedback. Don’t forget to keep learning and use the feedback as your improvement. 

4. Your Wide Network:-

As we talked about earlier, you need a large number of network for your growth. That means, don’t keep contact with clients and co-workers only. But also get in touch with the relatable people.

For instance- if you are a freelance photographer at sports niche, then keep good relations and contact with some players and the local sports administrations. 

It will help you as a reference and eventually lead to the increment of your clients. 

Where to Invest as a Freelance Photographer? [Important Equipment]

A Freelance Photographer's equipment
Image – 1.14: A Freelance Photographer’s equipment

As a freelancer photographer, you must need to invest on some important equipment. Without these, you can’t get a better quality of photography. 

So, let’s get started and make sure not to miss any one of the points-

1. Tripod Manfrotto MKCOMPACTACN-BK Compact Action Aluminium Tripod with Hybrid Head, Black

2. Laptop Xiaomi Notebook Pro 120 12th Gen Intel i5-12450H

3. Speedlight Flash Godox TT600 Manual Speedlite Flash with Built-in 2.4GHz Godox X Series Radio Transceivers for All Digital Cameras with Standard Hot Shoe (Black)

4. Wireless trigger for Speedlight Godox X2T-N 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Transmitter for Nikon Support i-TTL HSS 1/8000s Group Function LED Control Panel Firmware Update

5. Reflector Powerpak 5-in-1 Collapsible Photo Light Reflector 42″ (110 cm), Multi Color

Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelance Photography

A Freelance Photographer is doing nature photography
Image – 1.15: A Freelance Photographer is doing nature photography

Just like the two sided coin, the freelancing is also a type of job where you get lots of advantages and disadvantages.

So, without wasting any time, let’s move on-


At first, have a look at all the advantages of freelance photography-

1. You Have the Rights:-

If you are a freelance photographer, then you don’t have to worry about any work pressure. 

Yes! If you feel comfortable to work with 2 clients, then you choose 2 clients. If you can handle 10 clients then you can go with 10 clients.

It’s totally up to you how many niches you choose, how many clients you choose, how much work time you choose etc.

2. Instruct Yourself:-

Like the office jobs, you don’t follow the instructions and orders of others in case of freelancing. Here, you have to keep track of your own progress and work further according to that. 

3. You Become your Own Boss:-

What’s the feeling to get free from a rude office boss? I think it’s quite pleasurable. Same goes for a freelance photographer.

You work independently as a freelance photographer, there’s nobody above you to order you.

Apart from that, you are not captivated by the office hours and rules. You are completely free!

4. Limitless Earning:-

Since, you have the opportunity to choose clients according to you will, so you can also control your earnings. 

As a freelance photographer, you can earn money as much as you want depending upon your skills, experience and number of clients.

5. Flexible Workhours:-

This is one of the greatest advantages of the freelance photographer that they can choose their work hour, work schedules. 

Not only that, but also they can work from their home or cafe or even from any vacation.


Now it’s the time to discuss all of its disadvantages. Have a look and don’t miss any one of them-

1. Work-life balance:-

If you are a freelance photographer, then it’s true that you may lose your personal work interests or hobbies.

As a freelancer, you may spend your day like working for 1-2 hours, then watching TV for 30 minutes and then again going back to work. 

This may lead to lose your personal hobbies and interests.  

2. Inconsistent Earning:-

The inconsistent earning of a freelance photographer is like a double-edged sword. Sometimes it may result to an increment of your salary and sometimes decrement of your salary.

Many times it is seen that, suppose a freelance photographer earns $100 in the first month, $150 in the next month and $40 in the third month.

Yes! This incident may happen to you too. And this may affect your lifestyle. 

Also, if you increase your clients number to increase your earnings, then you may loose your work-life-balance again. 

3. The Employee Benefits:-

Imagine someday you get sick [ although we pray that everybody stays safe and healthy ]. Now? If you were an office employee then you would get 2-3 days vacation and you won’t be unpaid and also you would get a medical insurace [quite expensive] by the company.

But you are a freelance photographer, neither you wil get paid for the 2-3 days vacation nor you will get the medical insurance for free of cost. 

In addition, some companies offer holiday vacation which you cant’t get as a freelancer. Although you can do your works while in a vacation and click new new pictures. They will bring a new taste in your portfolio.

4. Scam, Scam, Scam:-

Unfortunately the online world or more specifically the freelancing world is not full with only good people but with some scammers also.

You, as a beginner freelancer, may come across with some scammer clients who may run away without paying you.

It’s very much common in the freelancing world.

Read moreHow to identify scammer clients

5. Number of Legworks:-

In most of the case, while doing an office job, an employee is given a task and he has to complete it.

This does not happen in case of freelancing. Since you are your own boss, so you instruct yourself. As a result, you don’t get a good amount of help from others.

From A to Z of any project, you have to do complete that on your own.

From Where can You Start The Freelance Photography?

A group of  Freelance Photographer at a picnic session
Image – 1.16: A group of Freelance Photographer at a picnic session

It’s very important for a freelance photographer to look for a client at the beginning. This is also very struggling for them as they have to connect with many people, stay active on many online groups and many more.

So, let’s get started on some basic tips from where you can start your freelancing carrier-

1. Contact More People:-

The point is simple. The more you connect with people, the more you widen your network, and so does your customers or clients increase. 

To do so, you can simply offer some free sessions, do photography on any sports events or anything like that.

Basically, you need to promote yourself by connecting with more and more people. Another way to promote yourself is by joining various and relevant groups on Facebook.

There you will get a lot of co-workers along with many potential clients.

But don’t forget to keep yourself registered as a freelance photographer on the platforms like- Upwork, Fiverr,

2. Promote Yourself:-

Nothing is better than a social media in case of promoting a freelancer. Yes! That’s true. 

Social media are great tools for freelancers, marketers and everybody. Social media helps you to reach to billions of people worldwide.

You can spread your work through the social media by posting your work sample pictures there. For this, you can use Instagram as Instagram is the best platform for photo sharing in current days.

Also, you can join Facebook and LinkedIn groups to promote yourself as a freelance photographer.

Other Ways to Earn Money Online as a Freelance Photographer

If you have enough skills and interest in photography, then why not using it to earn money online other than freelancing?

Now, let’s get discussed such types of ways from where you can earn money and generate passive income also-

1. Participate in Photography Contests:-

In case of participating in photography contests, you can not only get an award but also can get published on magazines.

Didn’t understand? Let me tell you that, there’s a lot of online magazines where you can participate. 

If you win, your photography will be published on the magazine and will get a decent amount of money as a wining price from there.

2. Digital Photos:-

If you get established as a freelance photographer and you have a large number of photos on your portfolio, then you can simply list them for selling.

Just choose some high-quality pictures from your portfolio and list them for digital downloads.

Then invite several clients from online and make them to bid for the pictures.

3. The Stock Photos:-

A very interesting way for freelance photographers to earn money online is by clicking photos and selling them as stock photos on online websites.

Websites like Unsplash, Pexels offer you this opportunity. Here, you can list pictures for selling and you will get a certain part of the money for the picture as soon as gets sold.

Although, the amount of money you get is very low but if your picture is unique and attractive, then many people will buy your picture.

In this way, you can increase your sales also.


Final Call: Empowering Ourselves through Becoming a freelance photographer is a journey of creativity, entrepreneurship, and self-discovery. It begins with setting a budget, investing in essential equipment, and choosing a niche that aligns with your passion.

Your portfolio becomes your calling card, displaying your evolving skills as you start your journey. Marketing yourself through social media and networking is crucial to attracting clients and building a reputation.

While the freelance photography path offers freedom and limitless earning potential, it also comes with challenges, including inconsistent income and the need for self-management.

However, with dedication, creativity, and a strong work ethic, you can transform your love for photography into a thriving freelance career.

What is freelance photography?

Freelance photography involves working as a self-employed photographer, capturing images for clients or selling them online. Freelance photographers have the freedom to choose their projects and clients.

How can I become a freelance photographer?

To become a freelance photographer, you should start by setting a budget, choosing a niche, investing in necessary equipment, creating a portfolio, setting package prices, networking with other professionals, and promoting your work online.

What are some common niches for freelance photographers?

Freelance photographers can specialize in various niches such as wedding photography, travel photography, portrait photography, product photography, and many more. Choosing a niche helps you focus your skills and attract specific clients.

What equipment do I need as a freelance photographer?

Essential equipment includes a camera, lenses, tripod, memory cards, a computer, lighting tools, editing software, and a camera bag. The specific gear may vary based on your chosen niche.

How important is a portfolio for a freelance photographer?

A portfolio is crucial for showcasing your work to potential clients. It should contain your best samples and demonstrate your skills and style. Even beginners can include sample works to start building their portfolios.

What are some effective ways to promote myself as a freelance photographer?

Promote yourself through social media, create a professional website, engage with relevant online communities, and use SEO-friendly content in your posts. Networking with other professionals and offering free sessions can also help.

What skills are essential for freelance photographers?

Key skills include creativity, interpersonal communication, adaptability, camera handling, photo editing, using lighting effectively, and time management.

How do freelance photographers charge for their services?

Freelance photographers can charge clients based on factors like travel costs, session length, equipment fees, and package prices. Rates can vary widely depending on the photographer’s experience and location.

Where can I find clients as a freelance photographer?

Clients can be found through social media platforms, your own website, freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr, and by networking with professionals in your niche.

What tasks does a freelance photographer typically perform?

Freelance photographers communicate with clients, create shot lists, schedule photography sessions, research ideas, set up equipment, adjust camera settings, take photos, organize and edit images, and deliver the final product to clients.

What are some popular niches for freelance photographers to specialize in?

Common niches include travel, weddings, commercial/editorial, wildlife/landscape, real estate, photojournalism, family portraits, fashion, and food/beverages.

What is the average salary of a freelance photographer?

The salary of a freelance photographer varies widely depending on factors like experience, location, and the number of clients. On average, in 2022, freelance photographers earned around $38,000 per year.

How can I protect myself from scams as a freelance photographer?

To avoid scams, research potential clients, ask for upfront payments or contracts, use secure payment methods, and be cautious if a client seems suspicious. Online platforms with verified clients can also reduce the risk of scams.

What are the advantages of freelance photography?

Advantages include independence, the ability to choose your clients and workload, no boss, limitless earning potential, and flexible work hours.

What are the disadvantages of freelance photography?

Disadvantages include work-life balance challenges, inconsistent income, lack of employee benefits like paid vacation or health insurance, and the need to handle all aspects of the business on your own.

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