How can I start to get more gigs after this is all over?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by warmachine, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. Before coronavirus hit, I was working regularly as a freelance reporter and photojournalist with most of my work being documentary-type shots, news coverage, or editorial-style shots for a series of weekly business profiles I write. I was starting to prepare to expand the photo side of my business, hoping to take on more photo-focused documentary projects, more editorial work, and I've even been thinking about trying to get into wedding photography. Now I stay inside and take pictures cat, my balcony, my drinking habits, and some self-portraiture. (We're in Canada, where there's not much going on at all in the same way that there's lots happening in the US for PJs to cover.)

    I talked to another photographer who reasoned that it was an ok time to have some downtime, and that there would be a glut of work for photographers once the economy starts to go back to normal. (Maybe this is wrong, but for the sake of argument let's say it's not.) What should I be doing now to try to position myself to start picking up smaller gigs, position myself as less of a journalism-only shooter and someone who could be getting other gigs, especially those where a documentary style is marketable?

    So far, I've been updating my website with recent work, building PDF portfolios to send to prospective clients, working on more formal shooting setups (admittedly, doing this through self-portraits and pet shots, but working with what I can do inside!), and thinking about planning some personal projects. Where I'm stuck is in turning that into more business once this is all over — my question is, as I do all this planning and preparing, what's the next step I should be taking either now or when everything starts to open back up again?
  2. Networking.
    Find groups to connect to (potential clients) in the market you are after.
    Example, doing comp work for a school concert may lead to sales of individual pictures of the students.
    Though sometimes you will be bucking someone already doing that for that school.
    And some schools may have an exclusive photo contract with a particular photographer, which will freeze you out.
    So look at other opportunities; churches, sport clubs, dog clubs/shows, etc.

    Gud Luk
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  3. You must have have some kind of knack -- you should be telling us what to do.

    Most people I know who atempt to be freelancers need a day job.
    William Michael likes this.
  4. "A glut of work for photographers." Wow, haven't seen that for a while. All I can imagine is everybody is going to want to ramp up sales as fast as possible, so maybe product and advertising photography? What to do now? Work on your website and do what everybody in sales really hates- make up a contact list and do cold calls on the phone. IMO, email contacts are a waste of time.
    Gary Naka likes this.
  5. Well, there might be a lot of people looking for wedding photographers, so if that's an option...

  6. Wow, an honest-to-gosh optimist. Good for you.
    I'm thinking offering to do photo coverage of divorces might be easier, if you could sell people on the idea:D
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  7. Not really JD - just thinking that everyone putting off weddings will create a barrage of demand in a small timeframe. But you are right. Perhaps many of those couples will find that they aren't as compatible as they thought they were. As for my own wife and me, I think we're finding we're actually more compatible than we thought we were - so there are some 'success' stories. I do bet there will be a baby boom in December/January, so someone who wants to take pics of children might have some success. Whether or not two parents are in the picture (literally and figuratively) remains to be seen.
    Nick D. likes this.
  8. I booked a wedding in September, but that's after 4 couples canceled on me. I guess this particular couple feels that every thing will be OK by September which I have some serious doubts about...

    Maybe we will all be working Masks at the wedding who knows ? I can't imagine cutting a cake with a Mask on. What about the Reception is there going to be social distancing there ? Looking at the bright side, there might be a back log of free lance work including weddings after this is all over. I'ts not like the restaurant business where once its gone its gone !
  9. Hi warmachine, I don't work in the genres you mention, so I am not able to reply specifically. However, would it be possible for you to go to clients you would like to work for and ask them what they are looking for. Perhaps a few exploratory conversations to see if you can find synergy?
    One thing I plan to do in this "free time" is to sharpen up my marketing and have an organised approach ready for when we can start working again.

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