To become a successful freelance photographer requires a somewhat expansive array of technologies. Just consider that you will need the best DSLR camera body that you can afford, a few excellent and compatible lenses, some mandatory filters, a tripod, a flash unit, and ample amounts of camera memory. You should also invest in spare batteries and a sturdy camera case or container too.
Now, that is just a partial list of the tools of the trade, but you are also going to require a pretty fast computer and several types of software that will help you to get the work done, and to manage the business as well.
Photo by Paul
Inside the Camera Bag
Let’s first consider the technologies behind the basic equipment in the camera bag. To begin with, we need to emphasize the classic warning that “you get what you pay for”. This means that you must not scrimp on any of the items you purchase because you will come to regret it. Instead, do the legwork and the research and find out which camera bodies, lenses, flashes, and other items fit into your needs and then find out which are rated best by fellow photographers. Be aware that many “reviews” or lists of the “top 5” items may be skewed to sell certain products or brands. Spend serious time exploring which options rank the best for the type of specialized photography you do.
For example, let’s say that you want to specialize in commercial and advertising photography, but you want to do a lot of macro photographic work. This means you will want to investigate the appropriate lenses for your specific camera body (trying all the while to avoid purchasing off-brand items to save money) and find out which perform the best. You would also do the research around macro ring flashes too because this is something that would make your life much easier and keep your studio setup simpler too.
Photo by Alan Antiporda
In the Studio
This takes us to the different items you might need for the studio. For example, light boxes, special strobes, and other “extras”. Take the time to consider if you actually require any of these items before buying them. Also consider if you might make them for less money. The Internet is a fantastic resource for the DIY photographer willing to dedicate a bit of time and effort in order to create their dream studio setup at a budget price.
In addition to your regular and studio gear, you might also need things like waterproof housings for underwater photography or specialized strobes for this same type of work. Do the research as you would with any other purchase and be sure that you are getting the best possible for the price you can afford.
Before moving on to the computer technologies you will need to acquire for your freelance work, let’s mention that any professional is always going to have to consider the financial consequences of damages to their equipment. Because of this we recommend that any photographer investigate their options for insurance on all of their gear. This might save a business from insolvency and help recover from a loss.
Photo by Mark Sebastian
Okay, so you have purchased all of the tools you need to begin taking your professional photographs, how will you manage, store, and distribute them? If you are a truly modern photographer, you will need to have a relatively high-speed computer equipped with a comprehensive photo editing program. Millions of people turn to Photoshop for their needs, and there is also the secondary Lightroom program that helps to facilitate the management of the many files created by most freelancers. If you are wise you will not entrust the security of your images to only the single hard drive on the main computer, and will either acquire an account with an online storage site or use a USB memory device. These are often referred to as external hard drives, and they can manage an immense amount of data. Even if you use them strictly for backing up files, it ensures that your valuable work is always secure.
In addition to photo editing software, you will also have to have several programs for managing your freelance business too. For example, how will you handle invoices and taxes? What programs will you use for professional correspondence or presentations? There are a few common answers to such questions, including the basic Office suite from Microsoft which provides owners with word processing and the famous PowerPoint program too. Bookkeeping can be done with great ease through the famous QuickBooks software as well. This can help to streamline payments and even make tax season a breeze too.
The technologies behind modern digital photography are actually quite accessible and readily available. They all require a bit of an educational process in order to master them, but when you do you will see how beneficial they are to your work.
Top image by Mark Sebastian