The exciting life of a freelance professional photographer

Most of the people we meet think that we spend 10% of our time taking pictures and the rest of our life is just goofing off. In order to explain what we actually do with the other 90% of our time, for three months, we have carefully noted our schedule, listed the tasks we perform, and recorded the amount of time we spend on each. From this list, we have calculated what actually happens in the exciting life of a freelance professional photographer.

Amar and Isabelle Guillen, professional photographers

Working together is a real advantage when we are freelance.

10% of our time is spent taking pictures

We spend very little time taking photos. This is the reason why we choose our subjects so carefully and always have concrete goals for every photo session. We never go onto the field without knowing exactly what we need to do. Each trip is very carefully planned. Nothing is left to chance.

It is difficult to say how many pictures we take per session. It depends on whether we are photographing landscapes, or wildlife, or an underwater scene.

Underwater and wildlife photography require 5 to 6 days per session. We sometimes take hundreds of photographs.

In landscape photography, the ratio of photographs taken to time spent is very low: 5 to 10 photos per day on average. Occasionally we manage to get thirty shots in one day, but it's very rare. Because we only take photos during the ‘golden hour’ at sunrise or sunset, we only have about 30 minutes to an hour per day when we can work.

25% is used in developing photos

Since we sell a lot of fine art prints and books, and display many of our photos at exhibitions, we spend a lot of time correcting and retouching them. Other than retouching, most of this work is classifying our photos, selecting the best of them, and annotating the RAW files with keywords and descriptions.

It is often tedious and time consuming, because we only keep the best photographs. In general, we only keep 5-10% of the pictures we took on the field. We only retouch and develop the photos that fit our vision. Those which do not, we discard.

10% is spent communicating

We always keep up to date on the latest techniques and trends in photography, on the new equipment in the market, the latest software, etc. This is essential if we are to continue doing our best work. When the era of film ended and the digital age began, we saw many photographers who went bankrupt because they could not adapt to the new technology. We have never forgotten this warning. In order to learn everything that we can, we read books, subscribe to technical magazines, go to conventions, and read articles on the internet.

10% of our time is used for administration and travel planning

This is the least interesting task of all for us, but it is crucial. We conduct our business like any other. All of these tasks are codified and explained in process documents. From backing up our servers to updating software, everything is written down. These administrative tasks are repetitive and uncreative. We follow the procedures and spend as little time on them as possible.

10% of the time for the administration, maintenance and travel planning

This is certainly the least interesting task for us, but yet it is crucial. We conduct our business as a real franchise. All tasks are perfectly codified and described in documents that we call process. From the task to backup our servers to the update of any software, everything is described. These administrative tasks are repetitive and starved of creativity. We follow the procedures. So we spend the least possible time.

35% goes into marketing and the search for clients

Marketing is our hardest job, because it requires so much energy. We spend a lot of time on the road, going to meet prospective customers, and more on the phone checking whether our photos have been delivered and whether our customers are satisfied with them. Marketing photographs is much the same as marketing anything else: it is a very time consuming task, but one which helps our business grow more each year.

Finally

Our life is exciting because it is full of diverse experiences and wonderful moments, but it is very risky because we have to rely on one business for all of our cash flow. All our revenue comes from photography.

However, we get up every day in a good mood, happy to start a new day of work, and knowing that it will be full of surprises. Photography is a tough job, but we get so much satisfaction out of it that we would not change it for anything.

 

If you like this chronicle, please feel free to leave us a comment using the form at the bottom of the page or sharing it via social networks.

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Spaces are available for these photo trips

Wildlife photo workshop dedicated to the bellowing of the red deer stag - September 2018
Tuesday 07 June 2016 Photo workshops - far adventures

Wildlife photography workshop — bellowing red deer stags. Fall 2018

Photographing bellowing red deer stags in France - September 2018 If you are a wildlife photographer who loves photographing animals in their natural environment, if you want to discover new horizons and photograph new species, and if you want to gain new technical knowledge, then join us for a…
Wildlife photo workshop from floating hides in France - July 2018
Tuesday 06 June 2017 Photo workshops - far adventures

Wildlife photo workshop from floating hides in France - July 2018

Photographing birds from floating hides: a wildlife photo workshop in La Dombes, France in July 2018 From June 30 to July 10, 2018, we will teach a wildlife photography workshop about photographing birds from floating hides in the marshes of La Dombes. La Dombes is a swampy area northeast of Lyon,…

 

 

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We continually update our website with new and exciting features! As professional photographers of wildlife, underwater scenes, and landscapes, this mainly pertains to information about our work, as well as adventures we embark upon. Our professional photography blog is particularly written for photographers who are interested in discovering innovative doors of creativity through the medium of nature photography.


 

 

Amar and Isabelle Guillen. Professional Photographers of nature.

We are fascinated and passionate about the beauties of nature. We love to see the landscapes and observe wild animals whether on land or underwater. We have chosen to become professional photographers to share the emotions we feel when we observe nature whether it be on land or underwater. Our goal is to create art with our photographs. We always try to transform the banal into a contemplative and artistic interpretation.

We are wildlife professional photographers, landscape professional photographers and underwater professional photographers. We also strive to document nature with a focus on conservation and education.

We make art prints from our artistic photographs. These art prints are available on our website. We make exhibitions to show all the beauties and the incredible richness of nature that surrounds us.

We also love to share our love for the beauties of nature with other photographers. To communicate our know-how and to exchange our techniques and our points of view, we organize wildlife photography workshops, underwater photography workshops and landscape photography workshops. We gather together people who have the same passion as us for the beautiful photographs taken in nature.

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