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The Best Tips & Tools for Freelance Photographers

[Today's guide comes from awesome photographer and Photojojo pal, Helena Price!]

Being a photographer is regarded as one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

That said, there’s a lot that goes into running a successful photography biz. Making good photos is just the beginning.

This year, I made the jump from my office job to becoming a full-time freelance photo-taker, and I’ve been lucky enough to do some really fun photo work for brands that I love (including Photojojo!).

These jobs don’t just fall into your lap. There’s an endless amount of helpful tools and resources out there for freelance photographers – you’ve just gotta go out there and find them.

After spending hours digging through the interwebs, asking freelance friends and compiling everything I’ve learned, I’ve put together this great beginners’ list of things to read/use/do if you’re making the jump into freelance photography.

Great Tips & Tools for Freelance Photogs

p.s. WE ARE HIRING AN EVANGELIST/BIZ DEV HERO. Creative deal-maker types, APPLY HERE.

Building Your Portfolio

beforeVirb: Virb is by far the easiest way to build a beeeeautiful portfolio website for your photography. They have tons of sleek, pre-designed website themes to choose from (my favorites are York, Grace and Copenhagen)—just add your photos, and voila! Your portfolio is ready.

Squarespace: Like Virb, Squarespace has everything you need to build a fresh new fully-customizable website with your name on it. Check out the themes on both and see what’s your favorite!

Tumblr: Want to set up a photoblog in just minutes? Tumblr’s got you covered. These days, Tumblr has plenty of themes that have the look and feel of a photography website, like this one by Pixel Union. Best yet, Tumblr is full of tons of photography blogs to get inspired by! For starters, check out their photographers directory.

Soaking in Knowledge

beforeA Photo Editor: Founded by Rob Haggart, the former Director of Photography for Men’s Journal and Outside Magazine, this blog is chock-full of inspiration, interviews, and practical advice that you can apply to your budding career.

Freelance Switch: A blog by freelancers, for freelancers. A couple of good articles to start with include 30 Inherently Useful Tools for Freelancers and 25+ Resources for Starting a Freelance Photography Business

Creative Boom: Creative Boom is a UK-based blog for freelance creatives. In their “Tips” section, blog founder Katy shares her top tips for creative freelancers, startups, graduates, artists and small businesses. Topics range from “How to win your first freelance gig” to “How to get tough with problem clients.” Go soak in her knowledge!

Keeping Your Books / Gettin’ Paid

beforeOneReceipt: This handy tool lets you store and organize all of your receipts, both paper and digital, so you can track and manage all of your freelance expenses.

Harvest: Harvest helps you you track all of the time you put into your freelance work, which is super important when it’s time to invoice folks for payment. Time is money!

Google Drive: Never send a Word document again! Google Docs lets you build docs, spreadsheets and more right in your Internet browser. You can send them as attachments or simply store them in the cloud as long as you need them.

Freshbooks: Freshbooks is another great tool for time tracking, billing, and keeping track of everything related to your photo biz. You can take a free trial for 30 days to test it out for yourself!

Preview: This app is great for reading PDFs—but did you know that it’s the BEST for signing documents too? All you have to do is write your signature on a piece of paper, Preview will let you scan it in using your webcam, and voila! You’ll be signing and sending documents in no time.

Other Helpful Things

beforePreview: This app is great for reading PDFs—but did you know that it’s the BEST for signing documents too? All you have to do is write your signature on a piece of paper, Preview will let you scan it in using your webcam, and voila! You’ll be signing and sending documents in no time.

Freelancers Union: The Freelancers Union is the best option for health insurance for freelancers. In addition, they have a Freelancers Yellow Pages where you can list your services, as well as a supportive community you can learn from.

Munawar Ahmed’s Blog: For those really getting into the nitty gritty of setting up your business, taxes, insurance and more, Munawar has tons of advice and knowledge to share. One click on his blog and you’ll realize this guy KNOWS his taxes!

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