Up Or Out – Market Demands Push Freelancers To Go 2.0

November 26, 2019

Up Or Out –  Market Demands Push Freelancers To Go 2.0

Première image de stock © H. Armstrong Roberts

In our fast-changing world driven by online commodities, freelance photographers are required to shift gears and “get out there” where business is done. What are we talking about? Digital solutions and online platforms. Learn when, what, why, and most importantly how on Campus.

Faster, Better, More Productive

When innovative solutions emerge in a given market, we often observe a ripple effect – they disrupt their immediate environment, bend the rules, destabilize their players, but also extend to other markets. Although unsettling, such times can offer a window of opportunity for those willing to show some flexibility and adaptability.

For example, the invention of the mainstream press in the early 30’s resulted in increased amount of content and shorter delays in production, which triggered a comprehensive reform in communication, editing and marketing. In 1936, Dr. Otto Bettmann, collector and librarian, developed a particular indexing system in order to respond to the needs of magazines for ready-to-use quality pictures within a 24-hour timeframe. The first image bank was born. Because he offered a clear solution to a new pressing need, Bettmann successfully expanded his business which soon became common practice.


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In present times, we can order both image content and cheeseburgers using the same device. Whatever the product, we yearn for streamlined, instant and high-quality services delivered with a single click. In reaction to this recent development in technology, a strategic positioning similar to Bettmann’s was required in multiple markets. In the field of visual content production, it led to the creation of digital solutions and online platforms.

How does it work? On one hand, platforms and digital solutions offer customer management to the freelancer so he can focus on what he does best: create content. On the other hand, the seamless process generated by the AI incites communication & marketing managers to order more content and give more creative freedom to the freelancers. Put simply, the technology is a mean to speed up and facilitate the commercial transaction on both ends. Other upsides for you, freelancer who’s reading this, is less time spent on project follow-up, invoicing, prospecting and marketing, plus higher probability for emerging or remotely based talents (if it’s your case) to be seen and hired. And teaming up with platforms and digital solutions can connect you to the one client that will in turn connect you with your future audience and give you a chance to impact your market. Especially in a dynamic where the business model is increasingly based on consumers’ needs and expectations, as opposed to a more old-fashioned product-centered approach. What matters is how many end-users, i.e. the buying force, you can touch today, no just how many quotes you write up.

How To Improve And Thrive

Markets are ever-changing, never static. And while transitioning from past to present is hard, it can open up new opportunities. Allow us to share some ideas on how you, photographer or videographer, can take advantage of the market reforms. Also, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us! We think working together towards a common goal – one that is fair to both the client and our community – is the best way to enhance creativity and working conditions in our domain.

1. Watch And Learn

What makes the grass greener elsewhere? It may be hard to look through the glass, but there’s nothing like a good reality check to bounce back, attractive as ever. We suggest you take some me-time to browse the web in search for images in your specialty that inspires you. Try to ask “how could I get there”. Like the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh once said, the idea is to find mentors, dead or alive, in person or through their work, and initiate a dialogue.

And while you’re at it, check out the competition’s website. Is yours up to date? And remember: you want to be in sync with your market’s needs, yet distinctive. The key word is do it your way.

 2. Get Some Training

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re a pro. You know how to integrate a bit of AI, such as hype software Luminar 4, to your work flow to speed up the process, and either bought that new Rotolight NEO 2 LED/strobe light or fantasizes about buying it. Without a doubt, gearing up is crucial, but you might also want to work on your versatility. Check out workshops and artist residencies, look beyond your expertise and try out disciplines you had not thought of. In a nutshell: step out of your comfort zone!

3. Be Proactive

We all know creative ideas do not appear out of thin air. And with marketing & communication managers required to produce 3 times more visual content than they did last year in the same timeframe, how can you fit in? We believe a carefully thought-through preparation can help you deliver projects quicker and more efficiently. Work on your personal project to gain confidence. Anticipate your clients’ needs with a list of relevant questions you put together beforehand. Get familiar with the process pertaining to each platform/digital solution. Be prepared, be proactive. 

4. Diversity

Don’t put all your eyes in the same basket. Keep your one-on-one clients, but expand your network. Think of it as social media: would you choose between having real life encounters and Facebook? Very unlikely, and besides no one’s asking you to! So, you might as well follow the trend and create a profile. The more you’re out there, the more you’ll increase your chances of attracting new clients. And in periods of low activity, you might find it useful to rely on a digital solution to quickly generate some cash flow and fill in the gaps.

5. Know Your Rights

Not all platforms deal with copyrights the same way. So before agreeing to work with any of them, try to educate yourself on what they’re offering. Some are renowned for being refractory if not non-compliant towards copyrights, while others promote and enforce them. The best-case scenario is a digital solution that mediates these issues between photographer and client, and keeps both parties posted on the new laws and regulations.

That’s all folks. We really hope this overview has helped you come to terms with the idea of a digital solution or platform, and who knows, even inspired you to join one. In the end, what matters is finding your footing in this fast-changing world and making sure you get the best out of it. Go get them tiger!


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