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Freelance Photography — Working ahead with Undimmed Enthusiasm

When I was in the publishing world, one of the drawbacks was that we were always working seasons ahead of ourselves, sometimes years ahead. The fact that it was frosty outside bore no relation to the summery feel that we had to give to the current project. And, that is how a freelance has to work if he or she is aiming to sell to magazines. The lucky ones will be able to head off to sunny climes to make their summery images to offer to publications in our winter but we lesser mortals have to make our images and then wait about six to eight months before we can submit them to our chosen markets.

The exception may be summer holidays type shots as many magazines devote a fair proportion of their winter issues to summer holidays.

By high summer you should have already submitted your autumn selections and be thinking of images that say ‘winter’. Those pictures of frost and snow that you took last year should be pulled from your files ready for submission.

Perseverance and confidence are two of the attributes that freelances need but there is another that we all need in abundance if we are to survive this precarious existence that is freelancing. And that is enthusiasm.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the nineteenth century American author, poet and philosopher who said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” and that is a quote that is stuck to my office wall. When rejection after rejection of what we consider our best work is turning up day after day, the temptation to quit can rise and threaten to overwhelm us but, if we are truly enthusiastic about being a freelance, we will lift our drooping heads and start preparing the next submission. That is how a freelance succeeds.

Winston Churchill put it rather well when he said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” And, of all people, he should have known.

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