We are pretty sure that at some point in your life, you probably met someone who calls himself a “freelance” photographer (Not a “professional”). The encounter probably left you wondering ‘what is the difference?’ For those in the photography industry, it is a new term. But for those who are not, it can be quite confusing to figure out which one is best.
According to Wikipedia, a freelancer is someone who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a company or a particular employer for the long term. Moreover, freelancers or giggers are usually represented by an agency that remarkets freelance labour to clients and market themselves on freelancing websites.
If you still don’t get the gist of it, then here are some of the differences to help you understand them:
Fully committed to their craft and passion
The primary separation is that a professional photographer either has a contract working directly with a company, a newspaper, magazine, agency, or owns their own business for which they work full time. A freelancer is part time, sells photographs to media outlets, without a contractual agreement, they might still work full time, but they do not have specific agreements, or their own specific company.
Owns a studio
Professional photographers have their own photo studio and darkroom that can cater to all their clients’ needs, unlike freelancers who don’t have unlimited access to professional equipment, and often have to rent space, and rent equipment.
Of course, freelancers have no fixed income. Their work is paid for when a client likes it or when a prospective client asks for their service. When you work as a professional photographer, if there are projects or not, you are still getting paid by the company or agency you work for.
There is a blurred line between self-employed, freelance and professional people when it comes to photography. Anyone working in the industry should be able to show you their work, the different themes and projects that they have worked on and document their previous experience to help you to decide if they are a right fit for your project, or your needs.
Always ask for their portfolio and their show reel to help you decide if they are the photographer for you and for your business.