• Grant Melton Photographer

Independant Photographers Journey

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Being freelance can be a difficult journey. This is my 3rd year in March. Just because I put up many posts showing off my work, it’s not an indication of my success or mean I’m busy. However it is a sign of what I’m capable of, my enthusiasm, my dedication and my love for what I do. I have a working life that many would crave for, it doesn’t give me fast cars and a yacht or even a large pay packet however, I don’t have the pressures of many who are employed and hate what they do with an awful boss. I manage ok and of course continue to work towards a fast car and a yacht!

It’s up to me to find work so I’m a account handler/ salesman, I take the photos so I’m a creative, I edit my work so I’m an editor, I invoice and chase the money so I’m an accountant.

There are days when I don’t work ! For everyday I don’t work is a downside for but gives me time to chase those who are yet to pay outstanding invoices. Every freelancer has the same potential issues of course I’m not unique. Looking at other areas for income I was looking to open a studio, I had grand ideas of how I would run it, possibly rent the space with other photographers, hold workshops and be a hub for like minded people. I was advised not to do it by a couple of photographer colleagues. I’d even found an ideal place on the main road, everything looked perfect. However after much soul searching I decided hold off for now even though I kept thinking what if.

Photography is not seen as such a specialised career these days however is a luxury puschase now that everyone is a so called “photographer” with mobile phones and consumer digital cameras. We are now competing against amateurs, so not costing businesses any money. Being asked for free images or even having them used without permission and lifted from the internet which is a breach of a photographers copyright is also another downside to technology. How many people would work for nothing? Would a Plumber, Solicitor, Doctor, CEO ? NO ! So why do people insist on thinking that photographer having experience of over 25 years settle for a byline/credit in return for images to show off their business website or anywhere else they’d like to use images by using my skills for free. All photographers suffer the same problem. So what do we do? There is the ultimate question !

The most common answer when we mention there will be a charge is “we don’t have a budget for photography”. So then it becomes a question of do I give an image or two away and for me not to earn any money but in hope that when people see my byline/credit they will wow! and whoop! and offer me work. I don't think so.

So many good photographers are now freelance where they used to be staff/employed. We in the UK have some of the best photographers in the world who have been made redundant on the advice of accountants. Publication quality is suffering. I meet many readers on my travels when covering stories or on assignment and they refuse to buy a paper now. Hence online content becoming more popular.

I must confess that as much as I love what I do and love to see my work published even now after all my years as a photographer, finding work is tougher now more so than ever.


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