How to be a freelance photographer • travel the world • what no one tells you

Full-time contract work: This is the most desirable and lucrative sort of travel photography job. If you can land a full-time gig with a company, say like Nat Geo or Lonely Planet, and take photos exclusively for them, you’ll earn a paycheck and be in a great position financially. These types of travel photography jobs are pretty limited and hard to come by though.

Let’s be honest: the beginner freelance photography jobs are probably going to pay little or nothing at all. Most freelancers have at some point in their early careers worked pro-bono either because they still needed to network or to “expand their portfolio.” Doing this sort of freelance photography work is acceptable to a certain point and you must be the judge of when you’re ready and able to begin charging prospective clients.

Some examples of how you may initially start out with freelance photography include shooting for smaller websites/blogs and/or Instagram pages. You may also end working for more physical businesses like a lodge or hostel. Doing so will not garner you much money but you’ll gain experience and begin crucial networking. In some cases, you may get special deals and discounts even.

A good kit – one that is complete with an above average camera, a series of lenses, and various accessories – will probably set you back around $3000-$5000 dollars minimum . I know this number may seem like a lot at first but, trust me, it could be a whole lot worse. Many photographers have tens of thousands of dollars of equipment that they’ve been collecting over the years. Do the same and start building your kit ASAP – though it may take some time and money, it’ll become a worthy collection soon enough.

Now, I will not say that a full frame camera or any particular company is best for freelance photography. Though certain systems like the Canon EOS 5D or the Sony A7RIII are proven, there are plenty of other choices out there. I know plenty of photographers who use Micro Four Thirds cameras for their work and I personally swear by Fujifilm’s X-Series. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how expensive your camera is; it matters how well it works for your particular field.

• Be organized : as a freelancer, you gotta do almost everything on your own so you’ll have to juggle a lot of things at once. Lose track of a few aspects of your business and the whole thing will go into a tailspin. Have a system in place to help you succeed, maximize workflow efficiency to cut down on time, have a schedule and stick to it; these are a few examples of being organized.

• Don’t be afraid : freelance photography jobs for beginners can be very intimidating – as the sole member of the company, you’ll be responsible for everything and this fact can cause a lot of anxiety. Don’t worry so much about failing though as it happens to everyone. Have confidence and a positive mindset and the works becomes more fruitful.

Those who may not want to be on the road constantly shooting will be glad to hear that they can settle a little and still be freelance photographer. How to become a photographer from home involves much the same processes as being a regular freelance photographer – you will still have to network, still have to complete projects, and still have to be your own boss.

As a photographer from home, you will bound more to where you physically are. How much you rely upon online or in-person research will depend on your situation then. If you live in an area that has a high demand for photographers, then you could probably get away with person-to-person networking. If there’s less opportunities, you may need to reach out online more.

As a freelance photographer working from home, you’ll still have to commute to get shit done. Very few photographers can do studio work in their actual residence (studios cost a lot) and most clients will want you to come to them. You’ll be traveling maybe for the day but, ideally, you’ll end up back in your cozy home at the end of the night.