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Freelance Photographer Careers

Freelance Photographers take photos for different purposes. They discuss image requirements with clients and perform research for the shoot. They also arrange photoshoot backgrounds, take and process images. A freelance photographer works for himself and not for someone else. However, you can sell your pictures to anyone. Due to the nature of the job, you are responsible for building your reputations, marketing your work, and actively seeking clients. Additionally, you will write business plans, create budgets, invest in and maintain technical equipment.

Although no formal training is required, most freelance photographers possess a degree in photography. When sorting for clients, a portfolio of high-quality work is more important than academic credentials. Some learn both the technical and creative aspects of the profession as apprentices for veteran photographers. Freelance photographers must possess self-motivation, networking, creativity, technical, and communication skills. They must also be familiar with relevant software. Their working style is affected by the number and types of projects.

The salary of freelance photographers ranges from $33,842 to $48,123, with an average salary of $42,342.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a freelance photographer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.15 an hour? That's $52,305 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -6% and produce -8,300 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Freelance Photographer Do

There are certain skills that many freelance photographers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed artistic ability, business skills and computer skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a freelance photographer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 33.6% of freelance photographers included photoshop, while 9.2% of resumes included photo shoots, and 7.5% of resumes included lightroom. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the freelance photographer job title. But what industry to start with? Most freelance photographers actually find jobs in the media and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Freelance Photographer

If you're interested in becoming a freelance photographer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 61.1% of freelance photographers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.9% of freelance photographers have master's degrees. Even though most freelance photographers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a freelance photographer. When we researched the most common majors for a freelance photographer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on freelance photographer resumes include high school diploma degrees or master's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a freelance photographer. In fact, many freelance photographer jobs require experience in a role such as photographer. Meanwhile, many freelance photographers also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or sales associate.

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Freelance Photographer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Freelance Photographer

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Freelance Photographer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Freelance Photographer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Freelance Photographer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Freelance Photographer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Freelance Photographer Demographics



48.4 %


46.2 %


5.4 %



69.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.0 %

Black or African American

6.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


48.9 %


14.6 %


5.8 %
See More Demographics

Freelance Photographer Education




61.1 %


16.6 %

High School Diploma

8.5 %

Top Colleges for Freelance Photographers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition

6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

9. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition

10. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
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Top Skills For a Freelance Photographer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 33.6% of freelance photographers listed photoshop on their resume, but soft skills such as artistic ability and business skills are important as well.

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Top Freelance Photographer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ freelance photographers and discovered their number of freelance photographer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Associated Press was the best, especially with an average salary of $56,559. Los Angeles County follows up with an average salary of $30,780, and then comes Corbis with an average of $62,537. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a freelance photographer. The employers include GoDaddy, CBS, and Go Daddy Software

1. Associated Press
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2. Los Angeles County
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3. Corbis
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5. The New York Times Company
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6. Lifetouch
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Updated October 2, 2020