Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Work Day as a Freelancer

So, you think you want to be a freelancer. You think you want to work for yourself, set your own hours doing what you love to do. Well, I love my job as a freelance photographer, but it did not take me long to figure out that every client or possible client is my boss. I do my job according to my client’s convenience, not mine. If I don’t get it (the job) right I’m going to lose a source of my income. My office never closes. I am open 24/7/365. That’s the bad side of freelance photography, and most every other freelance profession. The good side is the love I have for the work I do. And, I try to stay prepare to go to work with only a moments notice.

The best way for a photographer to be ready on a moment’s notice is to prepare for tomorrow at the end of each day. If you work outside of your home your next to last act business is to clean, prepare and store your equipment in the proper place in your studio. Your equipment should be as ready to go to work as you are when you open the door of your studio.  The last act of business at your office should be to balance your books, and set your security system as you walk out the door. The last act of business in your studio/home should be to clean, repair and setup all of your equipment so that it is readily accessible and ready to use as you are walking out your front door.

My work from home set up is ideally suited for my work flow. I keep everything as simple as possible, but I am always saving bits of information onto my computer and smart phone so that I can find everything I need but do not have as soon as possible. I try to always know where I can find any piece of equipment I may need to rent or buy to do a shoot. I am always cataloging where subjects and props for future shoots are located.

Depending on my subjects I do my best to schedule my shoots the first or last two hours of daylight. However, much of my work is as a photojournalist. So, if I have a morning shoot I am usually on location by the break of day. If there is no morning shoot I begin my day at my desk checking my mail, balancing books, networking on the computer and on the phone, and submitting my work. Then I start editing and posting photos. After that I start researching, writing and posting. All of the above tasks are subject to being put off until tomorrow while I am on a shoot, morning or late afternoon. Somewhere in the last 2 to 3 hours of every day I sat down in my recliner, switch the television on, listen to the news, and spend a minimum of 20 minutes cleaning my gear, and getting ready for that call I might get at 02:00 AM. In reality, less than 5% of my time is spent clicking a shutter.

Keith Birmingham clicks as a photographer, journalist, blogger and writer. He busks as a musician, singer and songwriter. He travels as a photographer and musician.
Contact Keith @

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