COMPLEX: 10 Rules For Success From Freelance Photographers

Complex promised another chapter of the “How To Make It” series and this time, its for freelance photographers. Ah yes, there are so many people now-a-days who are entering and becoming united in the world of seeing life through lens-which is somewhat, for me, a disconnection of reality, a comfortable stillness, a moment to keep-when moments pass by so quickly. So what Complex did is gather a group of excellent photographers from various mediums, who have direct and solid advice for those aspiring freelance artists out there!

“It can be hard to be balanced, self-disciplined, and resourceful as a freelancer, but let’s be honest—when accomplished, the independence is rewarding.” (YES!)

Provided below will be an outline of the “How To Make It: 10 Rules For Success From Freelance Photographers” series:

1.Rule: Stay organized. — Jason Schaltz

“Throughout your career, you will collect millions of photos and videos. Make sure when you (or your client) needs something from 2009, you can find it as efficiently as possible. Catalogue all projects and hard-drives—you’ll thank yourself down the road.”

Website / @THESHALTZES

2.Rule: Stay focused. — Shaniqwa Jarvis

“It’s easy to get distracted by what other people are doing. Pay no mind to others and concentrate on the projects and work you have in front of you. The achievements made will be public, personal, and well worth it.”

Website / @ShaniqwaJarvis

3.Rule: Understand that art is your business. — Andrew Scrivani

“If you are looking to make a living in this business, never forget that it’s a business first. Love your art. Be passionate, but never be so anxious for approval that you undermine your ability to earn. People will prey on your passion, so never sell yourself short. If it’s worth something to a client, then you must demand market value. They will respect you more for it.”

Website / @AndrewScrivani

4.Rule: Slow and steady wins the race. — Zack Arias

“The craft of photography can be an overwhelming endeavor. There’s an endless sea of genres to photograph, gear to photograph with, post-production techniques, and the like. Then you hear photographers talk about vision and style. These are things that don’t come in the box when you buy a camera. Sometimes these talks are academic. Some are philosophical. You look out into the world of photography and see all these people doing all these things, and you’re still trying to learn how to use a softbox. In our modern culture, we want quick results. We want a 10-step system to achieve excellent results. We want someone to show us exactly what personal style is and how to achieve it as soon as possible. What I’ve learned in my 15+ years of pursuing photography is that slow and steady ultimately wins the race. You need to be tenacious, but above all you need to be patient. It’s a slow journey to become a photographer.”

Website / @zarias

5.Rule: Don’t follow trends. — Emily Shur

“If you spend all of your time trying to catch up with what is cool at the moment, you will always be one step behind. Your work may not always be popular, but good will always be good. Figure out what makes your style and point of view unique, and use that to your advantage. The goal is to get work based on the way you see things, not because you can push a button.”

Website / @EmilyShur

6.Rule: Imitate your heroes. — Juico

“You’ll never be able to fully copy another photographer’s image, but you will learn a lot about process and production, which is invaluable. Furthermore, in trying to imitate the work you’re inspired by, you learn a lot about your own personal tastes and your voice will emerge from the process.”

Website / @juliagaldo

7.Rule: Shoot a lot. — Sha Ribeiro

“The more you shoot, the better you will feel. Follow your own path, and shoot with your head. Don’t believe in success; be grounded. What you see is not always the reality.”

Website / @ShaRibeiro1

8.Rule: Keep good company. — Steven Taylor

“Nobody makes it on their own, so the people around you matter.”

Website / @steventaylor

9.Rule: Forget about instant gratification. Set your goals high, and bust your ass all the way to the top. — Christelle DeCastro

“Don’t be too proud to pick up odd jobs or weird photo gigs if you’re still trying to get on your feet. To be truly freelance and completely independent, you need to hustle. If that means giving up your apartment for a cheap room, working doubles, selling that box of clothes you forgot about anyway, and sticking to a daily spending budget, DO IT—it will all be worth it. Those little (and big) sacrifices will shift your career path toward an upward change. And while you’re at it, be open to a slow progression. Don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t panning out as quickly or as perfectly as you imagined. Have faith that your hard work will pay off in its own time.

To make it in New York is a privilege. Stay up and earn your keep.”

Website / @xxxtelle

10.Rule: Work really hard and be kind. — Andy Barron

“I know I totally stole that from Conan when he left The Tonight Show, but it’s so true. When I am out on the road with a band, a vast majority of the time is not spent shooting, but just living and being in a community with each other. Trying to be a thoughtful and loving person in that environment is not only a breath of fresh air, but in a creative environment, it allows me to become that much closer with the people I am documenting, and I have always found that I get better shots like that. Also, bring them donuts.”

Website / @andybarron

So there you have it! 10 helpful rules for success from great freelance photographers thanks to ComplexArt+Design . Check out the links posted too for some amazing, inspirational work and a big thanks to the photographers as well.