Hello, friends! Today I’m talking about my life as a freelancer and some facts I’ve been experiencing in the last two years. Being a freelance photographer is for sure one of the things I most value in my life. I’m living my dream and I want you to do the same knowing you’re not alone in the less good times. There is always a bright side in every situation even when we can’t see it immediately. Every situation happens for a reason: to make us grow as human beings.

Backstage | Four Facts About Being a Freelancer

Being perfect: All of us have that small desire of being perfect in what we do. Yes, I’ve been there, too, for a long time. Most of the times when I looked at my work I was searching for some flaws and then I spent hours choosing a photo to share on my social media. Well, this way of thinking didn’t match at all with what I truly believe about being a photographer. For me, being a photographer is about eternalising emotions, let people be who they really are. There’s no way to rate an emotion like perfection. Right? I work with real people in their real lives. I’m not talking about technical issues because we’re always improving our techniques and workflow; I’m talking about our purpose in being who we are in our dream job. I wanted to share this amazing video by Nadia Meli, where she talks about this desire of being perfect.

Being a freelancer from your family perspective: Well, I could spend hours and hours talking about this. I’ve been a freelancer for half a year and I still struggle with family perspective. I don’t know if it's because they think that I should be a pharmacist forever and a photographer isn’t a real job, but I really don’t care. It broke my heart in the beginning, but I learned how to survive; in fact, I became stronger than ever. It is my life, my dream, and I must at least give it a try or I will regret my stand forever. Nowadays, I smile every time they ask how I can survive, what I think about my future or when I get old. Again: I really don’t care. I live in the present, I’m independent, I pay my bills and most of all I’m much happier now with my life. I believe that one day my family will understand my choice and be happy for me. My parents were the first ones to support me and I know it wasn’t that easy, but they understand that the most important thing is my happiness and they also know that I always commit to my choices and their consequences. SO, DON`T BE AFRAID. If you feel that your moment arrived, go for it! Once more, it is your life, not theirs.

Friends, friends of friends & special prices: Well, this is a delicate subject. I’ve been there a lot of times and you probably have, too. After some bad decisions and regrets, I finally came to a clear opinion. You don´t have to do it if you don’t feel like you really want to. It is your business, you have your target client and you’re investing your time and equipment like any other work you do. To sum it all up, you are investing your money. If you think, you are paying to work. Does it make sense? These people who ask about discounts, I’m sure they love to be paid for their work, too. I’m not saying to say NO to everyone, you have to evaluate each situation: the relationship you have with this person, if this kind of work will fit your portfolio and if you have the time to do it without affecting your business plan. I don’t like when people ask for a special price just because they know me or they are a friend of a friend of mine; in truth, I think it is rude. Nobody on this planet should question your value, only you know it. Sometimes I make special prices, BUT because I want to. And I’m happy with my decision. And most of the times to friends that didn’t ask for it or to my clients that trust and love my work and have been with me for years. It is a gift I want to give them, it’s not an obligation. If you’re not comfortable and happy giving a discount to this or that person, don’t do it. Explain you cannot do it because it doesn't fit your business plan and inform this person about the value you charge and feel happy with. People will understand it — and if they don’t, just let it go, that just means they don’t value you as an artist and your beautiful work!

Focussing on your niche: Well, I started my journey a few months ago. I’ve been learning what I most love to shoot for one or two years, but I never take action on social media to communicate this. I was told to share things that would sell for sure, things that are not my focus or big passion. But I didn’t feel OK to have this kind of obligation, like I have to post a pregnancy photo, or a baptism photo... Because they would sell without any doubt. And maybe they did. I have my portfolio with a family gallery and for me, this is enough (by now). I started my business shooting families and I’ve been with them for years and I still want to be because we are already connected by their stories. But my vision changed in the last years and I have now a different Ideal client. The one I want to work now and in the future. So, I started to share what I really want to do. What I love the most. Am I receiving fewer emails for pregnancy or family shoots? Yes, I am. Am I scared? At first, I was, but not anymore. Things take time to change, so I just need to be patient about this transformation until I can only work with my ideal client. And you should, too!

Backstage | Sílvia Ferreira

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