Photography Full Time vs. Part Time

Some photographers will finish photography school but not get a full-time photography job right off. They may work at photography part time while working a full-time job in another field.

Of course, if you want photography to be your life’s work, you would prefer a full-time position. Full-time jobs also come with benefits, such as health care and insurance, and the paycheck every two weeks means much more stable finances. However, if a full-time photography job isn’t available, you can start with part-time work. Some will continue with part-time work for the rest of their careers, while others will eventually transition into being a full-time photographer.

Many freelance magazine or travel photographers work part time. They can often go long periods without an assignment, so having a regular job provides stability. As you have more and more magazines that count you among their regular photographers, you can receive more assignments and more money. Then it might be time to go into full-time freelance photography.

Besides magazine photography, other specializations lend themselves to part-time work. Portrait photography usually needs to be set for weekends and evenings, due to your clients’ work schedules. Wedding photography typically involves weekends and is even more concentrated on the summer months. Travel photography trips can be planned for any time of the year, but can also work around another job.

Like full-time photographers, part-time people can be paid in a variety of ways. You may charge by the hour or by the project. For example, a wedding photographer may charge from $1,000 to $8,000. This would include all shots before the event, photos of the ceremony, and photos of the reception. For a higher cost, the photographer may include an assistant to get more photos for the final album purchased by the couple. Most people planning a wedding will also hire a videographer.

As with other freelance jobs, the biggest amount of time for a part-time photographer will probably be spent on finding clients. You will need to learn to market yourself and what to charge for what you offer. You might call other photographers in your area and ask about their prices. Start at the lower end and work your way up. You will also need to spend money up front for equipment and for space if you need it for portrait photography.

Be sure to check into zoning laws for your community before starting a part-time photography business in your home. Also, learn about what tax codes apply to you so you don’t have tax problems, either local or federal.

Becoming a part-time photographer can be a great way to decide if you want to launch a full-time business. It can also be a satisfying sideline to whatever regular job you hold.

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