“We need to, as photographers, tell the world why they need to pay us to take their photographs.”
Becoming a freelancer in photography is getting more popular in Nigeria and today's world, due to the ease of getting work and working at your own pace and convenience. Freelancing photography is a legal form where professional offers their services for pay. These photographers are self-employed that are hired by different clients on a project or contractual basis.
As a freelance photographer, your clients can include individuals, agencies, corporations, and other bigger brands that might be requiring your services. Different services that one can get involved in as a freelancer photographer exist today in Nigeria, such as fashion, weddings, events, foods, products, wildlife, and even photojournalism.
This business line can be both exciting and challenging as it requires starting from scratch in building publicity and portfolio. In this guide, Superprof will be showing you some important things to consider before becoming a professional photographer.
Education and specializing as a Freelancer
The art of photography is much attractive in Nigeria since they are no legal regulation restricting people wishing to get involved in the business or compelling people to get a degree or diploma before starting out. Most freelance photographers started out using their digital camera and, with much practice and passion, became today's pro. You can start out shooting at landscape and friends and family before getting your first major break.
You must not be George Osodi, Andrew Esiebo, or Lakin Ogunbanwo before you land fantastic opportunities as a photographer.
Although one can become a great photographer without attending any formal photography classes in Nigeria, we recommend registering for photography courses if you intend to become a landscape photographer, animal photographer, a photojournalist, or even a studio photographer.
This will help you to learn some of the nitty-gritty of photography and the business aspect of the trade. Or do you think that most of those popular and high earning fashion and wildlife photographers learned it all through trial and error on their own? Surely, they didn't. Most learned through formal education and training under other professionals in the niche they wanted to focus on.
You can also take advantage of this route by meeting professional photographers ahead of you in the game and requesting for training or internship under them. You will be surprised at how fast you will learn and the doors it can open for you in the long run. Once you have achieved a given level of expertise, ensure to always go out with your digital camera if you are a purist that loves capturing what they see.
You can take a photography course on Superprof with our photography tutors.
Different types of professional photography in Nigeria.
Anyone with a camera or smartphone can call him/herself a photographer but becoming a professional requires more than that. As we stated earlier, there are no licensing requirements need in setting up a photo studio. In becoming a professional, there is a need to niche down on your focus to enable you to specialize well than being a jack of all trade but master in none. Some lucrative areas that one can venture into as a freelance photographer includes
- Wedding photography
- Fashion photography
- Portrait photography with interest in babies, family portraiture, group portraiture, and pet portrait
- Commercial photography
- Travel photography
- Food photography
- Travel photography
- Night photography
- Burial photography
- Macro photography, such as capturing miniature items such as insects, rings, etc.
As a career that requires passion and drive, there is still a need to invest in quality equipment as you grow and become more popular in the business. Some necessary equipment that you should invest in includes
- Lighting Accessories: These lighting techniques, such as light meters, helps to set the mood of different shots since different scenarios require different lighting types and settings.
- An assortment of lenses, camera bodies, and filters: You need to understand that not every camera will suit every shot since different lenses have different effects. More so, filters help to add effect and colour to images.
- Tripod: This equipment is important for portrait photography
- Backdrop, props, and other posing equipment
- Types of cameras: This is one of the most vital equipments for any studio. You may consider using either the digital or the analogue camera, depending on the niche you are in.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing Photography
“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart, and head.”
The art of freelancing comes with its ups and down of looking for new jobs and gigs. If your survival depends solely on wining a new gig, then they might be the possibilities of you staying for some months without getting a job. Here, we would show you some of the pros and cons of becoming a professional freelancing photographer.
- Flexible work hours: The major advantage of working as a freelance photographer is the opportunity to work when you wish. You have the liberty to choose your hours when you want to work. You can decide to take a weekend off to give you a chance to spend with friends and family.
- Control over jobs: Working for someone else doesn't give you the choice of who and what clients to work with. You might get stuck with unprofessional or rude clients, but you are free to choose whom and where to work when you are working as a freelancer.
- Your own boss: As a freelancer, you are the boss of yourself. You are no longer answerable to any other person except for your clients. As a freelancing photographer, you are free from micromanagement.
- Not Steady or Reliable Workloads: Being a professional freelancing photographer might mean that your workload and income might be inconsistent and unstable.
- Family and friends often believe that you are always available to take up any job and to do them a favour.
- Distinguish between work and personal time: Without strong discipline on your part as a freelancer, you might not be able to differentiate between work and personal time. You might end up creeping your family time with work.
- Lots of Legwork: As a freelancer, you are in charge of most of the paperwork, making quotes, and finding your clients. You are solely responsible for all the legwork of the business.
- Most people equate working as a freelancer as not having any job and expects you to take up any job for them.
- Retirement: Your retirement benefit is solely dependent on you
The requirement for Commercial Freelance Photography
This area of photography is meant for exposition, publication, and reproduction. These images are mostly copyrighted or trademarked. As a commercial photographer, you can still be contracted to take pictures of furniture, jewellery, and clothing.
You can also be contracted to photograph hotel rooms, a restaurant for business adverts, and a company brochure. A friend might even contract you to capture his newly prepared pasties and pies that she wants to market, and you will be asked to help snap and edit the images.
But remember to ask for payment and take full rights over the image except if you are handing over the rights to your friend or clients. Note that you are a professional and not a free of charge photographer. This niche requires you to possess different skills and equipment. You are also expected to understand your environments, such as lighting and scene composition.
Fine Art Freelancing Photography
This area of photography deals with the creation of arts that are captivating to the audience. The difference between fine art photography and commercial photography is that while commercial photography involves bringing the pragmatic subject to light, the fine art photographer takes shot because of the beauty and emotions they invoke.
The love and beauty for art often lure people into this niche, and carrying out this shot requires time in staging and composing each shot. Examples of these art photos can be found in museums and art exhibition venues. These artworks are uniquely captured by photographers who have trained themselves in photography careers.
In Nigeria, there is no legal law governing the running of photography as of the time of this publication. As a professional freelancing photographer, it is necessary to network with other prominent and experienced photographers in the same niche as yours. You can also join a reputable photography society in other to gain access to different photography workshops holding in your locality and state.
Ensure you have knowledge about digital and analogue cameras. You can also learn to try out new stuff and angle when capturing your subjects.
In promoting your services as a freelance photographer, you need to decide on the nature of services you intend to offer.
Photography services include wedding, fashion, commercial, landscape, artistic, and other photography job niches. If you love and have a passion for art, you can go into fine art photography. We strongly encourage you to pick up photography courses online or with any photography school or institute around your state.