Photojournalists and freelancers earn significantly different amounts. Photojournalists, in the past, had much less to spend, but they can now find other ways to make some money doing it. They can buy editing services online or they sign with a photo editing company. This can create a variety of arrangements:
I’m a freelance photo editor, so I’ll be able to hire a photo editor and do more work.
I want to pay freelance photo editors for their work, but I want to find a cheaper way to work.
Do I charge my clients for the photos? Or are their photos free?
It depends. How much do you charge for your work and for how long?
If you don’t charge for the photos, you’re in trouble. Here’s a helpful site that lets you choose a price for the photos and then see if people are willing to pay it. For example, an online shop I found for vintage photographs (as well as some photos taken by my grandchild) charged me only $4.60. If you charge for photos, make sure you can supply a good contract and make sure you’re being careful about what you price it at.
For most photographers, a contract isn’t much use if their clients don’t pay. Still, freelancers can save money by having a business plan and not over-scheduling their work. I’ve been a photo editor for over 20 years and have never had a contract written, but I do write the occasional contract and we work well together. For most photo editors, there are several contracts to choose from, but they will all probably be very different and a lot more work than you would get for the same money (since freelance photo editors don’t get paid for all of the time). Don’t go to an online shop that offers your client a free contract.
When you’re deciding between a freelance photo editor and a more traditional editing job, pay close attention to the fees on your contract. Some work well in one area and not in another. If they’re very similar, they’ll both be great for you — it’s the more varied arrangements that are worth it.
Have you worked with a freelancer? What was your experience?
Tell us about it. I always enjoy talking to photographers and freelancers about what they do. This will help other photographers.
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