I’ve not got a lot to say for this seminar, because I know the skills and information are vitally important, I feel the basic understanding of them is more important than taking them on now, in my second year.
In theory the idea would be to go forward and become a freelance photographer, but the way I’m thinking this possibly won’t be something I do, so the idea of applying these theoretical basics to my life is not something I can see very clearly.
However some fo the topics discussed are just basic life skills and understanding the world of business, and I feel this is important, even if I don’t personally use it right away. The idea of handling everything myself actually brings me some clarity within my future outlook as I feel I am very much a ‘control freak’, but on the other hand I can see how it would also be a lot, the motivation and the drive has to be there. Photography and self-employment is an attractive industry: it isn’t the 9-5 office job churning away until you can finally retire, but this makes it competitive, these sacrifices and commitments are real, you can’t half-ass a freelance photography job. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a job, and it can leak over into everything you do. I think this is starting to really hit home after the series of seminars from PC2, this kind of work can’t just be a maybe, it’s hard and patient work, and money definitely can’t be your number one motive.
A quote that came up was, ‘sensitive artist, but thick skinned sales person’, the business mind has to be strong, realistic and open to criticism, the artist is just another topic all together. If you’re working with a client, emphasise these qualities, be responsible to making the experience enjoyable, straight forward and communicative, but take the sensitivity and respect of the artist in with you too.
I have 3 further pages of notes from this seminar, breaking down the individual steps of becoming a freelance business, which I won’t completely illustrate here, but I genuinely did find it so eyeopening just how much goes into it. We spoke on copyright, which of course I have a whole blog post from last year about, so I really did know the basics, but was interested to see how you can license a specific image and sell only that one to a gallery for a set amount of time. These kind of agreements and ways of making money within the industry is almost easy, copyright an image and then make clients pay for every use, upload licensed images to stock websites and get a couple of quid every time someone uses your image.
In the field of money, we also discussed day rates and charging clients a fair amount for both yourself and them. This day rate needs to consider not just your time on location, but also editing, equipment rental and the time and effort that you have invested in your skill (university, studying etc). James suggested that a day rate for a student would be around £400, which actually shocked me, as I don’t think I would feel confident asking that much from someone, especially where I am in my practice right now. I think this is something I will venture into when I start reaching out to clients, and definitely discuss further with peers and tutors.
The heavier part of the seminar was going through tax laws, expenses and actively claiming these back as a business. Although interesting to me, some of this information went straight over my head as like I said before, it feels very theoretical when I’m not immediately setting up my own business.
I will include this screenshot from James’ seminar, highlighting the different roles and responsibilities in setting up a business, and actually how if you’re choosing to be freelance all of this will fall on you. Quite a lot to consider, and I would imagine organisation and professionalism is absolutely key in handling any of the tasks above.
I feel that in the future if I did want to go further in depth into analysing business set ups I could with the help of my notes and James’ powerpoint, but where I am within my degree I think it’s okay to leave it for a bit.