Traditionally freelance photographers have been experts in creating high-quality still images, in monochrome or color, and have been hired for portraits, family group photos, weddings and other significant events.
But there’s now an increasing demand for photographers with skills in the filming and production of videos. So-called videographers can now take on a diverse range of tasks including corporate events, product launches, entertainment, informational and educational videos, as well of course as family occasions such as weddings and bar mitzvahs.
To succeed as a freelancer you’ll need not only a thorough understanding of photographic composition and lighting, but also a sound knowledge of modern digital cameras, audio equipment and editing techniques.
Play to your strengths
To attract clients it’s essential to build and maintain a portfolio of work, also known as a showreel.
Clients will of course have specific requests and requirements, but it’s also important to develop your own individual style.
You might want to specialize in the traditional “as it happens” journalistic style, or go for a more stylized cinematic end product, which makes use of music and special effects.
You could also think about short form videos, which also particularly lend themselves to YouTube promotions.
Get some experience
But whatever format you choose, before marketing yourself to potential clients there are certain core skills you will need to master.
Firstly, as with any freelance project, it’s vital to take the time to talk with potential clients to determine their precise desires and expectations.
The nature of the event and its location will be key considerations in determining the type of camera and audio equipment you select.
For a wedding or family party, for example, you might chose an extreme long shot (ELS) or an extreme wide shot (EWS).
Different settings can be used to record individual speakers or small groups, either in full body shots or head and shoulders close ups, or even extreme facial close ups to create greater emotional resonance.
But whatever type of event you’re engaged for, or shot setting you’re using, it’s vital to pay close attention to the quality of the sound you’re recording. Properly capturing human voices and, if required, ambient sounds, requires a good knowledge and experience of your audio equipment.
While both freelance photography and videography offer great opportunities, there are other related roles which are well worth considering as your career develops. Here are just two:
Although they’re closely related, photography and editing are separate skill sets requiring knowledge of different equipment and software.
Video is now an integral part of most websites, so a knowledge of web design and development can be a great addition to your professional armory. Familiarity with YouTube and Vimeo marketing can also help attract commercial clients.
And developing your own YouTube channel is also a great way to showcase and market your services.
There are also courses available in such fields as film theory, scripting, cinematography and screenwriting.