Quick story from Taylor: When I was back in Missouri for the holidays, I found out that my cousins (my adult cousins, mind you), thought that freelancing meant that I worked for free, and that all I did was sit in my pajamas and wait for someone to call me (which is only a half truth).
The real truth is that when we were all photo babies, we were taught that if we worked hard enough, got the best internships and gave ritual sacrifices to the photo gods, we would be rewarded with a staff photography job at a small paper. Eventually that small paper would lead to a bigger one, then an even bigger one, and soon we’d have the job we’d always dreamed of!
It’s not so much the case anymore. Journalism is a fickle mistress who happens to be cheating on us with a reporter holding an iPhone, thus more of us are freelancing than ever. But that’s not a bad thing!
Awesome things about freelancing
1. As mentioned above, there is an optimum amount of pajama time.
2. Are you dicking around on social media? That’s called marketing, my friend!
3. Everyone is a better editor after they have three beers, duh. (but seriously, don’t drink and photo).
4. More time to pursue those bullshit personal projects we’re all so fond of.
5. Freedom to create a niche for the kind of work you want to do, which is seriously the best. You want to specialize in baby animal photography, then you fucking specialize in baby animal photography.
Not-so-awesome things about freelancing
1. The entire month of fucking January
2. The slight sense of panic you feel every time a new photographer moves to your city, even it’s a friend of yours. (“Oh, you’re thinking of moving to Chicago? I heard that Boise, Idaho is where it’s at these days for freelance work. Maybe you should move there).
3. You are your own editor, and your own worst enemy.
4. What is this ‘accounting’ thing of which you speak? What are ‘taxes’?
5. You might spend 20% of your time actually taking pictures, if that. The rest of the time is dedicated to emailing, accounting, designing, editing, etc.
Basically, being a freelance photographer is like giving your phone number to that hot girl at the bar. You put yourself out there, and you hope to god that someone calls you back. But is it worth it?
YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS IT IS.
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