Best practices: how to be an efficient freelancer


Time management is a skill we constantly receive questions about. As freelance photographers and videographers, work comes in from various directions, and at times you accept multiple contracts where the deadlines may be coinciding. You’ll need to prioritize and strategize a way to complete all your commitments, while still providing the excellent quality that your clients and contracts expect. We’re here to help with our top tips on how you can be more efficient on completing your work as a freelancer, while providing great content at the same time. 


Read the requirements of each contract you are prior to accepting
Each contract and its terms vary, so make sure you're clear on the deliverables, deadlines, and legalities involved. When it comes to Shutterstock Custom briefs, read them completely before you accept interest to any assignment. There are various location, model and prop requirements that you will need to have on certain assignments. You are entering a contract where you will have to spend time and resources sourcing those logistics if you don’t have access to them.

Arrange all logistics prior to accepting projects
Not only should you only accept projects you have access to, but make sure that the things you have access to are available! This is the same if your shooting while travelling, or shooting at home. Ensure your models, locations, and all details are available on a date that works prior to the deadline. There’s nothing worse than struggling to find models after you’ve already accepted projects!

Understand the pre-production and post-production requirements
Some contracts and projects have more pre-production (logistics arranging, travel etc.) and post-production (upload time, editing) requirements than others so make sure you understand the needs before you accept and that you can make those requirements.

Open a communication with the Project Manager
When you receive contracts, ensure that you have a clear and open communication with the person responsible on the other end. Similar, on projects at Shutterstock Custom, the Project Coordinator’s name and email is on the assignment email. Open a line of communication with them via email where you can ask any questions or concerns you may have about the assignment details so that you’re completely clear on the deliverables required.

Develop a workflow to editing images or videos
Make a simple Lightroom preset for light edits that you need to make. You can copy and paste this edit to all your photographs (as long as it’s aligned with the mood board and visual requirements of the project). We suggest a light touch up on brightness, contrast, and colour correcting to the requirements on Shutterstock Custom briefs.

Request feedback from your clients
When you complete projects, finalize the contract by reaching out to request feedback from the client. On Shutterstock Custom assignments, feel free to reach out again to your Project Coordinator to solicit feedback on your assignment. This can motivate you on your next assignments, and provide some positive reinforcement on the work you’ve completed!

The most important thing to keep in mind as a freelance photographer or videographer, is to be communicative and vocal with the clients expecting you’re work. While your creative work may be outstanding, if you’re difficult to work with or don’t deliver what was expected- you may lose key clients. Keep it professional, keep your communication open- and be transparent when issues arise. Here at Shutterstock Custom, our Project Coordinators are ready and available to help you strategize completing assignments on-time, empowering you to provide excellent content to the clients expecting your work.

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- The Shutterstock Custom Contributor Community Team