Getting into event photography can be challenging. However, if you have the right equipment and a strong desire to achieve your dream, then you’ll also need to know how to find new clients. Regardless of where you plan to work, you’ll need to know how to approach and communicate with potential employers.
To get into event photography, you’ll first need to know where to find jobs. There are several places where you can find event photography jobs, including industry-specific job boards, freelance job boards, general job boards, and social media.
Before you start your job search, you’ll also need to consider what type of work you’d like to accomplish. Luckily, we created this guide to provide you with the assistance you’ll need to get started as an event photographer.
How to get your first event photography job
To become successful as an event photographer, one of the best ways to start is as a freelance photographer. While freelancing may not be for everyone over the long term, it will at least help you build your portfolio and experience until you can land a different gig. Still, some photographers enjoy freelancing so much, and they never look for an in-house job.
So, will you be happy freelancing or better of with an in-house gig? The choice is up to you. However, we’ll cover what you can expect out of both types of jobs so you can figure out what job is best for you.
What Does Freelance Event Photography Offer?
Freelance event photographers are usually hired on a job-by-job basis to shoot and edit for particular events. Most freelance photographers enjoy having control of their schedules, and planning gigs when they are available to shoot. Also, there are many options in jobs when it comes to freelance event photography. As a freelance event photographer, you may be hired to shoot photos of things like:
- Charity Events
- Family reunions
Our above list just mentions a few examples. When it comes to freelance photography, the types of things you may shoot could be endless.
What In-House Event Photography Offers
In-house event photographers differ from freelance photographers because of how in-house photographers are paid and categorized. If a company hires an in-house event photographer, then that in-house event photographer is taxed and categorized as a standard employee. That means these in-house event photographers have taxes withheld from their paychecks, and may also receive typical employee benefits.
Many in-house event photographers enjoy the advantage of job stability and regular income. While in-house event photographers may not be able to control their schedules, they have a more dependable line of work. As such, most in-house photographers will remain with one company for many years if they are happy with their line of work.
Freelance event photographers, on the other hand, are classified as independent contractors. As such, freelance event photographers typically work a specific assignment or contract job. A freelance event photographer also won’t be taxed automatically. Instead, if you freelance, you’ll have to quartly taxes. On top of this, most freelancers do not receive standard job benefits, like paid leave or health insurance.
While freelance event photographers may experience a lack of stability with jobs compared to in-house photographers, freelance event photographers earn a higher hourly rate compared to in-house photographers. That’s because freelance event photographers don’t work for just a single publication or company and are free to work for the highest bidder.
Also, because freelance event photographers aren’t tied down to a specific company, they are free to pursue as much extra income as they’d like. That means they can wind up with a very broad portfolio and attract numerous clients to earn a higher income.
No matter what type of event photographer you’d like to become, whether it’s freelance or in-house, you’ll need to know where to start looking for jobs. Below we’ll cover the best places you can seek out employment as an event photographer.
4 Places to Look for Your First Event Photography Job
So, where can you go to seek out your first event photography job? There are several places you can look, including industry-specific job boards, freelance job boards, general job boards, and social media. We will cover each one of these options in more detail below.
- Industry-Specific Job Boards
One place you can find event photography work is at industry-specific job boards. These job boards will work out well for you if you are willing to start as a freelance event photographer because there are typically far more freelance event photography jobs posted on these boards compared to in-house photography jobs.
Most industry-specific job boards cater to professionals that work in creative fields, like
- Graphic design
Since these industry-specific job boards are designed to attract those willing to freelance, you’ll find many job opportunities.That’s good news because you’ll save a lot of time since you won’t have to comb through these job boards for photography work.
Interestingly, many companies that are seeking creative talent post advertisements on these job boards, too. While you may start making connections with companies as a freelancer on industry-specific job boards, that doesn’t mean you’ll be limited. Many freelance event photographers start here and once they’ve proven themselves, they pick up long term contracts and attract more client work.
What are some of the best industry-specific job boards for event photographers? We’ve got a helpful list for you below.
- Get Photography Jobs
Get Photography Jobs posts local photography job opportunities for freelance event photographers. Since this website kicked off, its job listings have vastly improved. Many of the job board postings are seeking long term contracts with freelance event photographers. So, you should be able to find some job opportunities here, and it’s free to get started.
- The Creative Loft
The Creative Loft is another great place to go to find event photography work. This website posts thousands of new event photography jobs daily and users report a worthwhile employment experience when using this job board. While there are many freelance event photography jobs on this website, many of the employers are looking for photographers that can handle long term assignments.
- Photography Jobs Online
Another excellent place to find work as freelance event photography is Photography Jobs Online. This photography job board allows you to try out a free seven-day trial. If you don’t have any luck finding work, you can always cancel at the end of those seven days. However, many freelance event photographers use this job board to attract new clients, so if you are willing to hang in there, you should have some luck finding work.
- Cruise Ship Jobs
While it may seem odd at first glance for us to include Cruise Ship Jobs on a list about event photography, there numerous job opportunities for photographers on cruise ships. Plus, with an exciting job like this, you could get the opportunity to cruise around the world while you make money. So if you are looking to have some fun with event photography, this could be an excellent opportunity for you.
- Freelance Job Boards
If you glanced over our list of industry-specific job boards and just couldn’t find the right opportunity for yourself, don’t worry. There are plenty of other places you can go to find the event photography job of your dreams. Freelance job boards are a great place to get started because you’ll find many opportunities that may not be available on other niche photography job sites. That means you’ll have the opportunity to build up your portfolio and experience.
So, what are the best freelance job boards for an aspiring event photographer? We’ve listed those websites below for you.
Upwork is one of the most popular places on the Internet to go to if you are looking for freelance work. On this website, you can set up an account for free and then pay for bids so that you can bid for certain types of jobs. If you need more bids, you can upgrade your membership for $9.99 per month and receive more bid credits.
After you sign-up for Upwork, you then pick the skills you want your clients to see on your profile. After that, you can search for jobs, and you’ll find numerous companies and individuals looking to hire freelance event photographers. To apply for a job, you would bid and then submit a proposal. If the potential employer selects your proposal, you’ve been hired.
Potential employers typically place funds into an escrow account on Upwork. After that, you’ll be able to receive payments once you’ve finished a milestone on that job, or the entire project is done. After you upload your finished work and you obtain client approval, you’ll receive payment.
Upwork does keep a percentage of the payment (20% to start) you receive as part of their fee structure. Also, if you decide to go this route, you’ll need to spend some time building your profile and establishing your reputation. However, once you do that, you’ll be able to find jobs easily. Upwork lists several freelance event photography jobs daily.
Guru is a bit smaller freelance job board, but it is very similar to Upwork. You can get a basic account on Guru for free, and then you’ll get a small number of bids. You can always buy more bids if you want to apply for more jobs than what you’ll get with your account. Much like Upwork, Guru allows you to submit your work so that you can obtain approval from your client. Once you do that, the funds the employer deposited is released to you.
Also, like Upwork, Guru keeps a percentage of the payment, which is 10% unless you are paying to be part of a higher-priced plan on Guru. Guru does have many event photography jobs posted on it daily, even though you won’t find as many jobs like this as you would on Upwork. However, Guru is still a great place to go if you want to get your portfolio started.
Another well-known freelancing job board that posts a wide variety of event photography gigs is Freelancer. Freelancer works similar to Guru and Upwork, expecting you to sign-up for an account and bid on a certain amount of jobs for free. Freelancer, like Guru, has a variety of subscriptions that you can pay for every month.
Every day, Freelancer lists a variety of new event photography jobs. However, this website isn’t United States-specific, and the pricing and job opportunities reflect that. While it’s one of the biggest freelancing job boards around, it’s focused on an international market.
- People Per Hour
Another wonderful freelancing job board is People Per Hour. This website works similarly to Upwork and Guru. You can sign-up for a basic account here and get a few bids for free. If you want more bids monthly, you’ll need to pay for a monthly upgraded account. You are also allowed to purchase extra bids as you see fit.
People Per Hour posts a large number of event photography jobs daily, including photography for several design needs. Again much like Upwork and Guru, this website will allow you to build up your portfolio and find work as an event photographer.
Fiver is another great place to go when you are trying to kick start your career as an event photographer. Fiverr offers a lot of different types of photography work, but there is also a lot of competition on the website. However, much like the other freelancing job boards, Fiverr is a great way to build up a portfolio and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
While pay on Fiverr tends to be on the lower scale, most of the work you’ll do on this website is simple and fast. If you sign-up for a basic account, you’ll get free access. You can also upgrade if you’d like to get more access to jobs and use other job features, like a higher search ranking.
Even if you don’t use Fiverr to find your event photography jobs, it’s a great resource to use if you are a photographer that needs help building a business. Fiverr has resume services and logo creation opportunities that can assist any event photographer looking to start his or her own business cheaply.
- General Job Boards
If none of the above suggestions work for you so far, you can also try general job boards to find your next event photography gig. On general job boards, you’ll find a wide variety of opportunities in event photography, including:
- Freelance jobs
- Contract opportunities
- Full-time jobs
It can take a while to search through general job boards, so we recommend using the search options on these websites instead. That way, you don’t have to fish through so many jobs that don’t apply to you. It’s a good idea not only to use the word “freelance” in your search if you are open to freelance opportunities.
Below we’ve listed some of the best general job boards you can use to find an event photography job.
CareerBuilder is one of the best general job boards you’ll find around. If you search for “event photography jobs” or “freelance event photography jobs” on this website, you’ll find numerous opportunities. CareerBuilder does a great job of filtering your search, which should save you a lot of time.
Plus, on CareerBuilder, you can upload your resume so that potential employers can find you and contact you. That always opens up the door for some great opportunities.
While many people don’t think of Craigslist as a place to go to find work, if you’re willing to freelance as an event photographer, you can find a bevy of opportunities there. Many jobs on Craigslist are listed by locality, so that should also help you make your search a bit easier and more effective. Craigslist typically allows you to send in a cover letter and resume to your next potential employer via Email.
Indeed is another website that offers event photographers a lot of potential opportunities. Much like CareerBuilder, you can present your cover letter and resume only to let potential employers find you. Beyond that, you can search their job boards and filter your searches so that you find the event photography opportunities that are best for you.
Much like CareerBuilder and Indeed, Monster also allows you to set-up a profile with a resume and cover letter that can attract potential employers. After you’ve set-up your account, you’ll be able to search their listings for event photography jobs to narrow down your search easily. Monster includes a lot of excellent local event photography jobs.
- Social Media Jobs
Social media is another great place for you to search for event photographer jobs. Social media provides you with an outlet to share both your photographs and your portfolio. Plus, social media will allow you to meet others in the event photography industry, so you can network and make connections as well.
Several social media websites will provide you with immediate access to some great event photography gigs. We cover those websites in more detail below.
LinkedIn is an interesting social media website since its primary purpose is to establish connections for people involved in certain industries. So, LinkedIn is a great way not only to meet others in the event photography industry but also to find jobs. On LinkedIn, you can search for jobs and apply directly through this social media website.
Using Facebook’s group opportunities, you’ll find plenty of people to network with that are involved in the event photography industry. Those individuals can help you find more potential jobs. A few Facebook groups that are excellent for event photographers include:
By joining these groups, you’ll be able to network, find new jobs, and expand your new event photograph business.
Instagram offers you the opportunity to showcase some of your photography since it’s the best visual social media platform around. If you are willing to showcase your photography here, you are likely to get noticed.
How to get more event photography jobs
To make sure you can get plenty of event photography jobs, you’ll need to spend some time planning and building your business. That requires being prepared, and having a few things ready, like your website, portfolio, and pricing.
Create a Website
One of the essential pieces of the puzzle when starting as an event photographer is a solid website. Your website will help attract new clients and bring them to you. If you don’t know how to design a website, there are many excellent programs out there that can help you make one effective and easy.
Remember, on your website; you should demonstrate the best work you have. You should also keep your website both professional and clean. A simple website will be enough when you are just starting. As you gain more experience and offer more photography options, you can always add to your website later.
Develop Your Portfolio
Along with your website, you’ll also need to create a portfolio of your work so that your potential clients can see what you can do. Once you start reaching out to people and applying to jobs, you will be more than likely asked to show a portfolio of your work. Having a ready-made portfolio also gives you the edge when it comes to finding jobs you didn’t expect or didn’t apply for. A portfolio on display means people may find you and then contact you to hire you.
We recommend making your portfolio in digital form and displaying it as part of your website. That way, you’re displaying a very professional look as you start developing your event photography business.
Set-Up Your Pricing
Another excellent thing to do on your website is to set-up your pricing as an event photographer. While pricing can vary widely between event photographers, the size and location of the event can determine a lot about how much you’ll charge.
If you aren’t sure about what rates you want to charge, most experienced event photographers ask for between $200 to $500 per hour. However, if you are new to the event photography industry, it may be more difficult to expect this much per hour right off the bat. So, we suggest charging less at first, and then increasing your rates as you get more experience.
As part of your pricing plan, you’ll need to factor in the fact that you’ll have to invest your time, provide the right equipment, and snap important moments during the event. That typically requires you to plan what the client expects out of you before the event occurs.
Plan on uploading event photos to a gallery for purchase by individual guests. This way, you can earn extra money from event attendees who want to have a memento of the experience. Consider charging a fee to let attendees license the photo for private use. You could also offer tiered print packages.
Set-Up Standard Contracts
Before you take pictures at any event, you’ll want to ensure you have a signed contract and have come to an agreement with the event organizer that’s very clear to both parties. We recommend preparing a standard event photography contract and using that as a template. That way, you have something ready and prepared to show any interested clients.
In your contract, you’ll need to include a few important items, which we cover in more detail below.
- Pre-Event Planning
In this area of the contract, make sure you have a contact person for your client so that you have somebody to contact when you are planning for the event. That way, you can ask questions and solve potential issues before they occur. It’s a good idea to also set-up at least one pre-planning meeting with your client. That way, you can establish clarity of communication and figure out your client’s expectations with your photography.
By taking the time to sit down with your client and discuss his or her needs, you’ll have plenty of direction and guidance. That way, you can wind up with a satisfied customer each time. That will keep your clients returning to you for more, and hopefully spreading the good news about your wonderful event photography skills via word-of-mouth.
- Reserving Time and Deposits
As an event photographer, you can ask for up to 50% of the payment before the event to reserve your time slot. After you complete the event, you can ask for the other 50%. When clients pay that deposit, you need to guarantee that you’ll show up and photograph the event.
Also, when you are establishing a time frame with the client, you want to make sure you have agreed upon when you’ll start shooting. You may not always be shooting during the time of the event. Sometimes, you may shoot before or after the event as well. So, make sure you have the specific time designated and agreed upon, as well as your hourly rate.
It’s a good idea to also agree on the cost of any additional time that may happen if you wind up going beyond the agreed-upon shooting time. Sometimes clients will hold you for longer to keep shooting while an event is winding down. If that’s the case, you want to ensure that you’ll get compensated for that additional time.
- Prints, Digitals, and Copyright
Your contract should also outline how you are delivering the images to your client. Make sure you clarify whether you are providing digital images or an online photo gallery. Also, you should state in the event photography contract that you’ll keep the copyright for the images. However, you will need to give the client permission to share the images, too.
By keeping the copyright of your images, you’ll be able to display them in your portfolio. That will allow you to keep expanding your portfolio to attract more potential clients.
- Final Payment and Delivery
Last, you’ll need to establish when you’ll give your client the final copies of their images. Most event photographers turn things around within a week after the event. You should also ask for payment of any balance the client still owes you before you release those images.
Now that you have a solid idea of where you can go to find event photography jobs, it’s time to get out there and start looking. Event photography is a competitive but widely growing industry. For those that love photography, it can turn into a long-term dream job. You should also ask for payment of any balance the client still owes you before you release those images.