As you read this (assuming it’s Friday) I’ll be engaged in one of the following: on a coach to Heathrow / sitting in Heathrow / leaving Heathrow / flying across the Atlantic / landing in New York (I could go on but I think that’s enough bragging). It’s time for some summer holiday action and, hopefully, a chance to shoot some nice stock as well.
With most things freelance there’s pros and cons to everything. I’m frantically editing up jobs, preparing invoices and reminding clients I’m away for a couple of weeks (as well as telling them were I’ll be and when in case they need something covering). I’m also hoping that no big jobs pop up while I’m away. Depending on how you look at it holidays can be very expensive when you’re freelance. You won’t get holiday pay and, chances are, you’re missing out on commissions. But then we all need a holiday to recharge and focus!
But I want this post to be, from this paragraph on, purely positive. Certainly one of the benefits of freelance work was that I could take any time off I wanted for the trip. That’s one of the advantages of being your own HR manager. It’s a real bonus knowing that, most of the time, you can work your work around your play. Also for most photographers our work is play. On our last trip to the States I shot a fair amount of stock but, honestly, I’d have taken the shots anyway – it never really feels like work. In fact a lot of commissions don’t really feel like work. It’s something that’s a huge bonus. Last Saturday I spent all day photographing kids in a studio for a magazine job and it was really good fun. You know you’re on to a good thing when you’re looking forward to working a Saturday.
I was also looking forward to the job because it’s for a client that I like working for. Having the ability to approach people you admire and respect and work for them is pretty amazing. It’s another factor in not feeling like you’re really working day to day. The other side to this is you can also turn down work if it doesn’t fit with you as a person (thankfully this rarely happens).
Photography as a career is pretty hard work and you never really have time off, but if you enjoy the hard work then it never feels like a job. You’ll have busy times but the quieter times give you a chance to pursue personal projects, visit friends, go for ride, spend time with the family… You can’t really put a price on your own free time.