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Archive 2012 · Freelance
  
 
TanouyeChris
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p.1 #1 · Freelance


I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to get freelance work for a paper? or if they would be able to point me in the right direction of how to get started.

Thanks,
Chris



Aug 16, 2012 at 02:07 AM
mkchang
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p.1 #2 · Freelance


Best thing to do is find out who the Dir of Photography is at the paper, put together a solid portfolio and get it in front of that person.



Aug 16, 2012 at 01:42 PM
CSStevens
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p.1 #3 · Freelance


Pretty much the above. I built up a bit of a portfolio shooting for my school newspaper (still attending too) and sent it in to the directory of photography eventually, and now I freelance pretty often for them (it's a very large paper too) covering all sorts of stuff, and getting decent pay while doing it as well.

Only started shooting at my school paper last fall, and at the actual paper at the beginning of June, but here are some of the results of my work: http://csstevensphotography.com/photojournalism/



Aug 17, 2012 at 09:14 AM
dennisgolfer
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p.1 #4 · Freelance


If it's a smaller paper (like the one I work with) you probably won't have a Dir of Photography. Find the sports writer or editor and introduce yourself. At smaller papers the sports writer is also often the sports photographer by default, even though they're usually not qualified. What they get is seen as "good enough". You'll have to show them why your images are enough better than theirs to justify using/paying you. I did most of one high school season where I submitted images to them simply in exchange for photo credit. Their writers loved my work and got to the point that if they saw me at an event they'd put their cameras away and just focus on the story. By the next school season I was able to negotiate a fee. Also understand that you aren't going to get rich on the freelance work, especially at the smaller papers. I've used my work there to get my foot into senior portraits and T&I gigs.


Aug 17, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Scott Sewell
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p.1 #5 · Freelance


I just ran across this link tonight and thought of this thread. I would pay special attention to numbers 1. And numbers 5, 7 and 8. Oh, and #10. Ah heck, take note of all 10 of those items! (but #1, 5 and 7 often seem to be areas of particular focus on forums like this!).

Seriously, if you read those 10 items and any of them make you cringe or wonder, you're probably not ready to be a photojournalist. I realize people have to start somewehre, but those 10 items are very basic--but extremely critical--components of photojournalism. And they can all be learned without shooting for a paper, regardless of the size of the paper. If you're comfortable with those 10 points then you're good to go and will bring value to the paper as a freelance shooter. Afterall, if you're not presenting yourself as someone who's bringing added value to the paper by shooting for them, why would you be asking in the first place?

Good luck.



Aug 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
CSStevens
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p.1 #6 · Freelance


8 is the biggest one for someone that doesn't have experience with a paper. Being familiarized with AP style captions, and always having precise names and other info is very important. All other points are important too, but 8 is one I think people overlook. The caption is what helps elevate a photo's value as a news item.


Aug 19, 2012 at 03:23 AM
 

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skibum5
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p.1 #7 · Freelance


CSStevens wrote:
8 is the biggest one for someone that doesn't have experience with a paper. Being familiarized with AP style captions, and always having precise names and other info is very important. All other points are important too, but 8 is one I think people overlook. The caption is what helps elevate a photo's value as a news item.


If you are lucky you might not need to caption sports photos yourself. One paper I shot for did not want the photographers to caption any sports photos and they had the sports writers handle it (you did have to caption all other types of photos yourself though). You were not allowed to caption them even if you wanted to. I don't know if this is a rare thing or a common thing.



Edited on Aug 23, 2012 at 05:31 AM · View previous versions



Aug 19, 2012 at 05:16 AM
ccnwashdc
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p.1 #8 · Freelance


Adding to #8 Captions: In regard to high school sports -- where most newspaper photographers get their start.

Early in the season many times rosters are inaccurate or unavailable. Sometimes you have a great shot but cannot figure out the jersey number even by scrolling through surrounding photos or by identifying an odd shoe-lace or elbow pad.

An hour before deadline (10 PM for my paper) I load my photos onto my computer. If I cannot ID a player for a shot that is a must-submit, I take my computer onto the field, find an assistant coach or player and have them ID the player.

Here lies another problem, more often than not, coaches and teammates think they know how to spell a name, but don't. Triple check -- even asking the subject player if he is on the sideline.



Aug 22, 2012 at 05:11 PM
CSStevens
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p.1 #9 · Freelance


skibum5 wrote:
If you are lucky you might not need to caption sports photos yourself. One paper I shot for did not want the photographers to caption any sports photos and they had the sports writers handle it (you did have to caption all other types of photos yourself though). I don't know if this is a rare thing or a common thing.



Never heard of that. Sure would make life easier though!



Aug 23, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Scott Sewell
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p.1 #10 · Freelance


ccnwashdc wrote:
Early in the season many times rosters are inaccurate or unavailable. Sometimes you have a great shot but cannot figure out the jersey number even by scrolling through surrounding photos or by identifying an odd shoe-lace or elbow pad.



And this, my friends, is why I would always caption my own images and NOT leave it up to a reporter. Sometimes it can be difficult enough to do it myself (for the kinds of reasons as mentioned by ccnwashdc), let alone leave it to a reporter who didn't see what I saw in the viewfinder. It's rare that I can't identify a player even without seeing the jersey number, but at least if I know I have to ID a player(s) in an image I can do it on the spot. Man, letting a reporter do it after the fact is just not cool.

So, in short, get back to those 10 items and you should be good.



Aug 23, 2012 at 04:51 AM
matthewjonas
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p.1 #11 · Freelance


All,

Here is some advice straight from the source. Currently, I am the Photo Editor for a major daily newspaper in Colorado. That means I hire freelancers for assignments on a pretty regular basis.

1. Email and call the Photo Editor/Director of Photography/whatever they call them and introduce yourself. Get straight to the point. Photo Editors are usually very busy and don't have time to talk shop. If you want to freelance for them, say it.

2. Be prepared to email links to your work while you are on the phone. It happens that quick. If you don't have some sort of online presence outside of Facebook, I'm not interested in you. If you are a professional or want people to think you are, I want to see a full page of Google search results with your photos, a personal portfolio web site, blog, etc.

3. If you only want to shoot a specific thing, such as sports, tell the editor that. Be prepared to show examples of your work that support your request. If your portfolio is filled with photos from weddings and you want to shoot high school sports, I'm not going to hire you. I'm not interested in giving you experience for your portfolio. I need images that I can run in print/online, where ever.

4. If I call, say yes to the assignment. I will be honest here, I like to hire great photographers to cover assignments for me. However, if a really great photographer is flaky, can't meet deadlines or is rarely available, I will move on to the slightly less great photographer who is reliable, courteous and meets my deadlines. That simple. Reliability and dependability goes a long way in photojournalism.

5. Be a good person. Yeah, this one is strange I know. Here's a simple truth with photojournalism and professional photography: nice goes a long way to getting where you want. If I hire you for an assignment, I am essentially saying that you are representing me, my paper, company, etc. while shooting. Photojournalism is a small, tight knit group of people and it's getting smaller everyday. If you talk sh!t, people will find out. If you badmouth an editor or another photographer online in any searchable form I will find out. It's a good way to get black listed pretty quick. Editors talk to other editors. Often, editors from other papers outside the area will call looking for a freelancer in the area to cover something. If you are a decent person I might suggest that they call you. Just like that, your freelance career gets a boost.

6. Beer. Buying drinks helps lubricate portfolio reviews and gets you face time with editors. Just saying.

Hope that helps.



Aug 25, 2012 at 04:27 PM
TanouyeChris
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p.1 #12 · Freelance


matthewjonas wrote:
All,

Here is some advice straight from the source. Currently, I am the Photo Editor for a major daily newspaper in Colorado. That means I hire freelancers for assignments on a pretty regular basis.

1. Email and call the Photo Editor/Director of Photography/whatever they call them and introduce yourself. Get straight to the point. Photo Editors are usually very busy and don't have time to talk shop. If you want to freelance for them, say it.

2. Be prepared to email links to your work while you are on the phone. It happens that quick. If you don't have some sort of
...Show more


I like #6 the most, but on a serious note, thanks for the tips, they are really useful.

Chris



Aug 28, 2012 at 12:09 AM





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