Covid-19 Survival Tips for Freelance Photographers/ Videographers

“Stay positive, Stay Safe, and please stop hitting the refresh button on social media!”

Photographers and videographers worldwide are facing huge financial strains due to cancellation and postponement of events amidst this Covid-19 pandemic. Staying home and social distancing might the best way to control the spread of the virus but if your work relies on events and shooting with a team, this period will be an economic disaster to say the least. Don’t worry, as we’ve come up with some practical survival tips to help you keep occupied and make a little side income.

  1. Stock image/footage sales

In times like these, you might finally get the headspace and time to look through some of your old material and upload shots that you think people might be looking for. News outlets and magazines might not be able to shoot as much as before, and might also be looking to purchase stock material instead of creating their own during this period. The key to stock material is finding the middle ground- you can be sure that millions of pictures will be available for places like tourist attractions and big events, also, that no one will likely buy footage with a small company or individual’s name. Try to look for material that has a niche, but yet isn’t overly specific, to increase the odds of doing a sale, and also upload to multiple platforms and use relevant tags to increase the chances of being discovered. Getty Images, Shutterstock and Alamy are the big stock photo marketplace sites while videoblocks, Pond5 and Pexels are some for the video folks.

  1. Start your own online lessons/courses

This is not for everyone, but if you’re able to impart knowledge effectively and/or want to teach others a skill, you can either create a digital online course on sites like Udemy or Teachable, or perhaps offer one-one Zoom/Google Hangouts skills training/tuition to aspiring photographers/videographers. The key to online lessons is once again finding a good middle ground between a broad and specific topic. If you are thinking of teaching something as general as ‘video editing 101’, don’t expect huge traction unless you’re a celebrity or have a huge following, the converse is true as well, where pitching a 1-1 training on how to edit images to images that XYZ small company will approve might exclude too many potential learners!
  1. Make money while editing photos / videos

Post production or post processing is (or was) a part of your workflow, and if you’ve (finally) cleared your backlogs of projects, perhaps you can look for gigs from associates or freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. One tip is to reach out to your past clientele to see whether you may repurpose some of the past material or do some form of compilation video for them to stay connected with their customers during this period of isolation. Do note that businesses everywhere are also suffering like yourself, so you may not be able to command a large sum from projects like these, but you can also take it as a bit of goodwill building during these challenging times.

  1. Participate in Contest 

Did you know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of online photography contests run by organizations like Getty images, Magnum, World Press Photo and Nat Geo? You can also check out the link below for the upcoming photography contests and competitions for the year 2020. Although the deadlines of some of the contest fall throughout the year, you can prepare your work in advance and it can take a lot of pressure out of the application process. Use this time to do some research, mark your calendar, and be ready to submit when the time comes. (P.S. this year might also have the toughest competition but winning an award will be good for your CV in the long term no matter when you win it!)
  1. Spruce up your portfolio!

Although this will not bring any immediate revenue, one of the upsides of having more time on your side is (finally) being able to update your photo portfolio website or create that video reel to increase your chances of securing future work. Take a look at trends in the industry, especially what your profile of clients and your competitors are doing so that when the Covid-19 season blows over, you can emerge stronger and ready to serve. One additional and related tip would be to write blogs about past projects that can give potential clients a better idea about your workflow and processes that go on behind the scenes!

This might also be a good time to pick up a new skill or try somethings at home that could add to your expertise and service offerings once things get better!

BONUS: JRC perks!

In keeping with our mission of connecting people, we have launched a lockdown sale, free delivery programme as well as remain fully operational (for gear rentals from over 120 locations islandwide) during this period. We only ask that you rent responsibly, practicing social responsibility, personal hygiene and we hope to see everyone emerge stronger together as soon as possible!

Remember that no downturn lasts forever and that it is up to each and everyone of us to make the best out of the situation thrown at us. Feel free to comment if you have more ideas or suggestions that can help fellow media practitioners to keep busy and tide through these challenging times.

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