Where Aspiring Professionals Should Be Looking for Clients in 2019

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It might seem that just about everyone is a photographer these days, but the industry isn’t slowing down as brands constantly look for different ways to market themselves. The photographic industry is, in some ways, as accessible as ever, and budding photographers have an array of possibilities when it comes to finding their feet in the industry.

Texts by Hudson Brown

FRIENDS, FAMILY AND BEYOND

Almost no professional photographer has ever landed a big-name client with his or her first pitch. It’s most often a gradual process as you set about growing your portfolio from the jobs that you’re able to land. For many people, that means working with friends, family or those just outside your immediate circle.

“When an engaged and supportive network of people surrounds you, finding your next gig is going to be considerably easier compared to reaching out to those who aren’t as familiar.”

Being successful in the creative arts can be just as much about how you create and maintain relationships as the work you produce. So, when an engaged and supportive network of people surrounds you, finding your next gig is going to be considerably easier compared to reaching out to those who aren’t as familiar. However, if you do take on a job from someone within your personal life, always remember to set appropriate boundaries just like any other job.

EMBRACING SOCIAL MEDIA

You’ve probably heard just as many complaints about social media as compliments, but even if Instagram and Facebook don’t quite have the same polish about them as in their early days, they still offer some remarkable possibilities for emerging photographers. From being able to easily create a comprehensible portfolio that’s simple to update and curate, to fostering a community around your work; if you’ve decided to break free from social media, you might be overlooking a leg-up in your professional career.

“In reality, it’s about keeping in touch with new and exciting trends, plus being able to easily contact – and be contacted by – just about every potential client on the planet.”

With platforms such as these, you’re missing the point if you believe it’s only about increasing your follower count. In reality, it’s about keeping in touch with new and exciting trends, plus being able to easily contact – and be contacted by – just about every potential client on the planet.

However, make sure that you’re aware that posting your images to social media usually grants the platform some license to use your work. This doesn’t typically apply to third parties but you should always read the terms of service and protect your photographs.

FINDING AGENCY WITHIN AGENCIES

The next step for many photographers is getting on the roster of photo agencies that are in charge of organising the shoots taking place in your city. While working solo undoubtedly has its benefits, many high-profile roles are only offered through agencies – and they’ll have to know you exist so they can reach out and match your skills with what they need.

You can also directly contact the brands themselves. Consider all the clients that you feel would be a good fit for your talents and set a goal of emailing at least 10 new brands every week. Even if it’s just to let them know that you admire their work, it helps start the conversation with the right people.

“Making the leap from amateur to professional photographer might seem like an insurmountable task in 2019, but with so many ways to attract and respond to potential clients, there’s no reason any decent photographer can’t find paid work.”

The time spent doing this will be well worth it as you learn the best approach to pitching clients and build confidence as you make these connections. Creating and maintaining relationships in a vast network is imperative to making it as a successful freelance photographer.

Making the leap from amateur to professional photographer might seem like an insurmountable task in 2019, but with so many ways to attract and respond to potential clients, there’s no reason any decent photographer can’t find paid work. While creators of art often don’t like thinking about the business side of things, these are just some of the people and places you should be engaging with to get your career started.

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Hudson Brown

Hudson Brown is a Melbourne-based freelance writer when he's not travelling the globe. His words have been featured in the likes of SBS Food, Treadlie Magazine and Paper Sea Quarterly, while he was previously the editorial assistant for small footprint living publication Assemble Papers. He is also a regular contributor to Concrete Playground where he covers the latest art, culture and gastronomic happenings around town.