Find out the must-know places to search, discover and get hired for freelance photography jobs.
If you want to be successful as a freelance photographer, you need to constantly have your finger on the pulse of what freelance photography jobs are out there and where to find them.
But where, exactly, should you be looking for those freelance photography jobs? And how can you snag the best ones in the industry?
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to find freelance photography jobs the internet has to offer:
- Is Freelance Photography Right for Me?
- What Is a Freelance Photographer?
- In-House vs. Freelance Photography Jobs
- The Pros of Freelance Photography Jobs
- The Current State of Freelance Photography Jobs
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Industry-Specific Job Boards
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Freelance Job Boards
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: General Job Boards
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Social Media
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Pitching
- Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Professional Services Platforms
- Tips for Finding—and Getting Hired for—Freelance Photography Jobs
- Send the Right Samples
- Create a Portfolio
- Gather Client Testimonials
- Go Directly to the Source
- Write Captivating Cover Letters
- Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
- Be Prepared with an Elevator Pitch
- Get Out There and Land Your Next Freelance Photography Opportunity
Is Freelance Photography Right for Me?
First things first: Before we jump into where to find the best freelance photography jobs, let’s go over some quick information about the freelance photography field. That way, you can determine whether freelance is the right fit for you.
What Is a Freelance Photographer?
A freelance photographer is just what it sounds like—a photographer who gets hired on a freelance basis to shoot and edit photos.
There are a ton of different types of freelance photography jobs. You can work for a newspaper or magazine, for a brand, or for an individual. You can shoot landscapes, portraits, product photos—the possibilities are pretty much endless!
In-House vs. Freelance Photography Jobs
The main difference between a freelance photographer and an in-house photographer is how you’re categorized and paid.
Typically, in-house photographers are considered employees. They have taxes taken out of their paychecks and, if applicable, are eligible for employee benefits (like paid time off and sick time). As employees, in-house photographers will typically stay with one publication or company for long periods of time.
With freelance photography jobs, you’re considered an independent contractor. That means you’re hired for a specific assignment or contract—and you’ll have to set aside your own money for taxes. Also, freelancers aren’t typically eligible for benefits.
The Pros of Freelance Photography Jobs
Freelance photography jobs might not be as stable as more traditional employment, but there are some serious benefits to going freelance.
Freelance photographers typically make a higher hourly rate—and because they’re not tied down to a single company or publication, they can pursue a broader variety of opportunities. That can translate into a more expansive portfolio and more creative freedom.
The Current State of Freelance Photography Jobs
It’s also important to consider the current state of freelance photography jobs—and what that means for new freelance photographers.
COVID-19 completely changed the employment landscape. In the midst of “The Great Resignation”, more people than ever are leaving their jobs in search of opportunities that feel more aligned with their goals, their passions, and their desired work environments—and for many, that means pursuing freelance opportunities.
The good news is, as the work world shifts towards being more “freelancer friendly,” there’s likely to be more freelance photography jobs up for grabs. The not-so-good news? There’s always likely to be more freelance photographers vying for those roles. Or, in other words, more opportunities—but also more competition.
Only you can decide if freelance photography is the right career path for you. But if it is? Here are some of the best places to find freelance photography jobs:
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Industry-Specific Job Boards
As you’ll see, there are a lot of places to look for freelance photography jobs. One of the very first places you should search is job boards catered specifically to creatives and freelance photographers.
Industry-specific job boards are a great place to look for freelance photography jobs. Because they’re catered to creatives (and, in some cases, specifically to photographers), you won’t spend a ton of time combing through opportunities that aren’t a fit.
While industry-specific job boards are a one-stop shop for creative talent, they’re also a go-to for hiring managers who don’t want to spend a ton of time sifting through unqualified candidates. It’s a client/candidate win-win!
Here are a few industry-specific job boards you’ll definitely want to check out during your freelance photography job search:
- Get Photography Jobs
- Photography Jobs Online
- The Creative Loft
- Cruise Ship Jobs
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Freelance Job Boards
Freelance photography job boards are a great place to start your search. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, what’s the next step? Cast a wider net.
Freelance job boards offer a wide variety of freelance job opportunities—including freelance photography jobs.
In fact, more general freelance job boards might even have opportunities you wouldn’t be able to find on more niche photography job sites. Because these freelance marketplaces are more well-known, they tend to attract a wider variety of employers.
And this can lead to a wider variety of opportunities.
Here are some of the biggest (and best!) freelance job boards on the internet to search for your next freelance photography job:
- People Per Hour
- Solid Gigs
- Student Freelance
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: General Job Boards
General job boards have a lot of different types of jobs: full-time, freelance, contract, creative, and everything in between.
While it’s probably not the best time investment to pore through these job ads on the daily, doing a quick search for freelance photography jobs every once in a while could bring in some interesting opportunities.
If possible, make sure to filter by “freelance” so you don’t waste a ton of time reading through full-time job opportunities!
Some of the bigger job boards you might want to check out on your freelance photography job search include:
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Social Media
Chances are, you use social media to share your photography. But did you know you can also use it to find your next freelance photography gig?
Social media is a great place to network, learn about new opportunities, connect with potential clients and land your next freelance photography job. Some of the best social networks to leverage for building your freelance photography career include:
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network focused on all things business—making it an obvious choice for your job search. Not only can you search and apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn, but you can also proactively connect with the people you’d love to work with.
- Facebook. Facebook has a ton of groups geared towards creatives and photographers (like Shoot & Share or The Rising Tide Society)—and those groups can be a great place to network, learn about new opportunities and grow your freelance photography business.
- Instagram. Obviously, Instagram is a visual platform. Showcasing your photos on Instagram is a surefire way to get noticed—and to land new freelance photo gigs.
- TikTok. TikTok is quickly emerging as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world—and featuring your photos or footage from photo shoots in your TikTok videos can be a great way to get your work out into the world, build buzz around your freelance photography business and potentially attract job opportunities.
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Pitching
You don’t need a job board, posting or description to get out there and land your dream photography gig. If there’s someone you want to shoot for, do your research, find them online, develop a pitch and get in touch!
There are a few different reasons why cold pitching is a great way to build your freelance photography business. Not only does cold pitching show potential clients that you’re proactive and can take initiative, but because you’re not going up against other job applicants, the process can also be less competitive.
Want to shoot features for a local magazine? Grab a copy, look at the masthead and reach out to their photo editor.
Want to offer your product photography services to an up-and-coming brand? Get on LinkedIn, connect with their brand manager and make an introduction.
Not every cold pitch will lead to an immediate assignment, but it’s a great way to introduce yourself and get your foot in the door to start a conversation with your ideal client.
Want to be successful with your pitching strategy? Then you need to show would-be clients you’re the kind of professional they want to work with. And we can help! With FreshBooks’ proposal feature, you can craft tailored proposals that get you noticed—and get you hired.
Where to Look for Freelance Photography Jobs: Professional Services Platforms
Professional services platforms connect people looking for a service with professionals that can provide that service—and that includes photography.
Generally, these platforms require you to create a profile that outlines your skills, experience, and rate—and from there, users who are in need of a photographer can hire you to manage their job (for example, to snap photos at a wedding or birthday celebration).
While the jobs featured on these sites are typically one-off opportunities (and don’t usually pay the same kind of rate as more professional jobs), they can be a great way to build your portfolio, especially when you’re just getting started.
Some of the professional services platforms you may want to peruse for freelance photography jobs include:
Tips for Finding—and Getting Hired for—Freelance Photography Jobs
Want more on how to find (and get hired for) freelance photography jobs? Here are a few additional tips to help you with your job search:
Send the Right Samples
If you want to land freelance photography jobs, you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to your portfolio. Make sure to send tailored samples for each job you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a job shooting portraits, make sure to send examples of your portrait work—not branding or product photos.
Create a Portfolio
You’ll want to send tailored samples to each freelance photography job you apply for. But you also want to create a more comprehensive portfolio that features all your work; that way, if a potential client or hiring manager is interested in your samples and wants to see more, you have a place to send them.
You can create an independent website to host your portfolio—or you can feature your work on a portfolio site like dribbble or Behance. (A major bonus of portfolio sites? If someone is searching dribbble or Behance and stumbles on your photos by chance—and likes what they see—it could lead to a job!)
Gather Client Testimonials
Social proof is a powerful thing. If you can show a would-be client that your past clients have been happy with your work, it’ll be much easier to convince them that they’ll be happy with your work, too.
Whenever you work with a client, ask them for a testimonial for your portfolio website. (A written testimonial is great. A video testimonial? Even better.) Have them speak to your skills, your talents and your work ethic, such as:
- What was the experience of working with you like?
- How did your photos help them hit their goals?
- Why would they be inclined to work with you again?
The more positive client testimonials you have, the stronger your social proof—and the easier it will be to convince new clients to hire you.
Go Directly to the Source
A lot of freelance photography jobs will ask you to apply directly through an online portal (for example, through LinkedIn or a company website).
But with so many photographers applying through those portals, it can be easy for your application to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why, if you really want to land the interview (and, hopefully, land the job), you’re going to want to go directly to the source.
If you see a freelance photography job that catches your eye, do a little digging to find the hiring manager. Then, send them a message directly (you can either connect with them on LinkedIn or use a tool like Hunter to track down their email address).
The hiring manager might take your application directly or they might redirect you to apply through the online portal. But either way, at least you’re on their radar—which can help increase your chances of getting an interview.
Write Captivating Cover Letters
As the old saying goes, you only get the opportunity to make a first impression once. So why waste that first impression with a generic cover letter?
If you want to land a steady stream of freelance photography jobs, a “Dear Sir or Madam, Attached please find my resume and work samples” cover letter just isn’t going to cut it.
Your cover letters need to be captivating, attention-grabbing and let potential clients know from the very start that you’re a photographer they want to hire.
Here are a few tips to help you write captivating cover letters that will get you noticed (and, ultimately, help get you the job):
- Address your cover letter to a real person. When you can, figure out who is in charge of hiring and address your cover letter to that person. Using a name will always feel more personal than a generic “sir/madam/hiring manager.”
- Infuse your personality into your letter. Cover letters shouldn’t be overly formal. Make sure to inject your personality into the cover letter so the would-be client gets a sense of who you are.
- Keep it short and to the point. Your cover letter shouldn’t read like a novel. Talk about your experience, your skills, and why you’re the right fit for the role—but do it in a short and concise way.
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
Here’s one of the core truths about the freelance world: If you want your job applications to turn into actual paying gigs, you need to be proactive and follow up.
Most hiring managers are completely overwhelmed with cover letters, resumes, and portfolios when they post a job. If you don’t hear back, it’s not necessarily because they’re not interested. It could be that your information fell through the cracks or they haven’t gotten a chance to review your submission.
Following up a week or so after applying for a job is a great way to give a friendly nudge to hiring managers and make sure they actually review your portfolio before making a decision.
Be Prepared with an Elevator Pitch
The internet is a great place to find freelance photography jobs. But it’s certainly not the only place!
You never know where your next freelance photography opportunity is going to come from—which is why you always want to be prepared.
Put together an elevator pitch about who you are, what you do, and why you’re an ideal candidate. Try to keep it to a minute or less, and practice until you can confidently speak to your skills and how they relate to freelance photography jobs.
Going forward, if an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be prepared to pitch yourself and your photography services quickly and effectively.
Get Out There and Land Your Next Freelance Photography Opportunity
Finding freelance photography jobs can be tough. But now that you know where to look and how to get yourself noticed, there’s only one thing left to do: Get out there and land your next opportunity!
This post was updated in November 2021.