Freelance as a Career Choice

The Business of Freelancing
By: Marcia Gomez / Miami International University of Art and Design

Younger generations of workers are now choosing to steer clear from the traditional employer/employee work environment, to a less traditional, freelance career or what some call “micro-entrepreneur”. This trend seems to be a lot more common for the millennial generation. According to research commissioned by the Freelancers Union, 53 million Americans now freelance in some capacity. Of that, 38 percent are millennials, compared to 32 percent of non-millennials (i.e., people over 35).

This choice was the subject of a recent workshop, The Business of Freelancing that took place at Miami International University of Art & Design in collaboration with CollabMiami featuring six panelists from different industries discussing their experiences in making freelance a career choice. The panelists included:

•    David Verjano, Social Media Consultant, Verjano Communications,
•    Amanda Abella –  Millenial Financial Expert and Blogger, Make Money Your Honey,
•    Julio Galindez – DJ and Musician, AtellaGali,
•    Pascal Depuhl – Photographer and Cinematographer, Photography by Depuhl,
•    Friks 84 – Callingrapher and Illustrator,
•    George Cuevas – Graphic Designer, Creative Director and CollabMiami Founder,

Collab Miami Panelists: George Cuevas, Friks84, Amanda Abella, David Verjano, Pascal Depuhl, Julio Galindez speak about the business of freelancing

[photo by: Collab Miami]

The 3-hour workshop discussed the many aspects of having a freelance business including the business structure, working tools needed, getting work and making connections, business procedures, estimates, approvals and scope definition, skills and internal process, accounting and post project activities. The panelists shared their experiences with each topic providing students and guests with numerous tips and takeaways. While narrowing them down to just 10, is difficult, below we provide a short list of some of the key points made during the workshop.


Top 10 Freelancing Tips


Read  the top freelancing tips we shared on Marcia’s post: “Freelance as a Career Choice

This article was published on the Miami International University of Art and Design website and is written by Marcia Gomez.

Caution: Personal work could kill your commercial success!

Caution sign that reads

Be careful personal work could kill your career!

Over the last few weeks I’ve hosted a couple discussions in various LinkedIn Groups asking “does personal work matter?” Predictably many of the photographers, who chimed in, answered a resounding YES! We get to show our capabilities without the constraints of a client brief, art buyers love to see personal work, it’s satisfying, ect.

The answers that surprised me though came from the other side of the desk, from art directors, creative professionals, designers and editors from around the world:

I can see how personal projects can become an obstacle. – Creative Director, Serbia

All personal work could seriously affect your commercial success. – Marketing President, USA

I have not hired someone, because of their personal work. – Designer, Netherlands

No personal work to me is an indication of stagnation. – Magazine editor, Germany

Wait, what? I thought personal work was always a good thing. Something that would always benefit your career. “Be careful” warns the US Marketing exec. “If your personal work is too provocative, it may leave the wrong or negative impression in a client’s mind.” Another US branding director echoes this sentiment: “If [the personal work is] very offensive I would reconsider hiring the [artist].”  I hear it again and again: Have two sites.  What about the case that someone has done pro-bono work for a certain cause, that you feel strongly against?

Personal work can make you a killing!

Now to be fair each one of these people who hire us also said that personal work is vital, critically important and that they love seeing it. Just remember that the assumption is you had unlimited time and resources to craft this piece of personal work into the perfect calling card for your brand. “To me [personal work] matters quite a bit. (…) that’s where we most often have the chance to stretch our abilities, research new methods and test them” says a US director of marketing “pet projects may very well become tomorrow’s next big service!”

Your personal work shows me what you’re really passionate about, and how creatively and independently you tackle such a self-chosen project. It tells me how you work conceptually. I also get a good idea about the style you prefer and you feel comfortable with.” says the german magazine editor “Or how versatile you really are.

Personal work is a two edged sword

Personal work is a must for today’s creative. The fastest (and scariest) way to revamp your career is to throw out the images that show what you have shot and only show those images and projects that you would like to shoot. Christina Force a folio consultant wrote a great blog post called 4 reasons to throw out your babies. Personal work is what your passionate about, stand behind it whole heartedly. Personal work must be excellent, award winning, your highest caliber work. Personal work must set you apart from the pack–take risks, be willing to fail. If you don’t go for the impossible, your results will be mediocre and average at best.

This article was first published on the American Society of Media Photographers blog Strictly Business.

9 months ago

Workflow: making your work flow smoothly

How to make your work flow through your Workflow

Workflow, what is it?

Workflow is about as individual as your small business. It’s a series of processes that begin the first time a potential client contacts you to the point where you delivered your goods or services and are on to the next job. Actually it starts a bit earlier, if you want to including marketing and branding.  Or maybe you’re running a couple of jobs concurrent, in which case it’s even more important to understand your workflow. A plan on how all your business processes work together makes your work flow smoothly.

work·flow ˈwərkflō/ noun 

the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.

Work-flow solutions: 2 schools of thought

There are more than one way to skin a cat and the same is true for your workflow. There’s really not only one right way that workflow works. They are as personal to you as many other decisions you make in your small business.

In my mind there are two schools of thought when it comes to working with a workflow solution:

1) Make the solution fit your workflow
2) Make your workflow fit your solution

Shotflow – making your work fit someone else’s workflow

Solutions like Shoot Flow fall under the first. They are solutions specific to one type of photography. In the case of Shoot Flow, it’s for wedding photographers. Zach and Jody Grey took their experience at shooting weddings and built a workflow solution around it. They basically let you duplicate the way they work a wedding.

The upside – especially for the inexperienced wedding shooter – is that you get a step by step roadmap to how to work a bride and grooms day. Zach and Judy do a fantastic job, not just on shooting weddings, but also in how they work with their client before and after that day.

In my mind the downside is that you are going to workflow weddings just like they do. I’ve never used shootflow (I don’t shoot weddings) and I know you can customize some of the way it works, but it’s not like what I use.

[Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not dissing shootflow or other solutions like it. In fact I believe it’s vital that we all have a well-integrated solution of our own.]

Creating a custom workflow solution to fit your workflow

My customized solution follows my business processes. This doesn’t make it necessarily more expensive, but it does make my workflow solution match my workflow. I use a Customer Relationship Management system as the backbone of my workflow solution. It’s called SalesForce and is one of the largest CRMs in the world. SalesForce aggregates all information I have about a clients, accounts, jobs, ect into one place and since it’s this huge service it integrates with pretty much everything. For instance I use Evernote to … 

How to change copyright info to 2017 in your camera, blog and website!

Switch copyright info to 2017

How to change copyright info

Remember to change copyright info to include the new year in your copyright notices today. A legal copyright notice requires 3 elements:

  1. The © symbol and the year the image of creation

    The correct copyright symbol is © and that’s not (C). On a Mac you can insert it by pressing <OPT> + <g>. The HTML for the symbol is <&copy;> and in ASCCI it’s <ALT>+<0169>.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed it’s 2017. Happy New Year.

  2. Your credit line

    In my case that reads: Photography by Depuhl

  3. All rights reserved.

This is information I learned at an ASMP symposium on copyright. Your copyright notice should read:

© 2017 Photography by Depuhl. All rights reserved.


Change it today.

Take a few minutes to change your © notices today. Start with your website and blog, if you’re using footers – as many of us do – make sure they get changed. Also don’t forget to change the metadata settings in Bridge or any software your using to tag images. If you’re using a watermark on the images you post online (read here why you should), don’t forget to change the notice in your water marking  app as well. Most importantly you need to change the metadata inside your camera to show the new year in your change copyright info.

How to change copyright info on your website

I use PhotoShelter for my website and have a copyright notice in the footer code. Log into your personal account and go to …

Website -> general settings -> footer code

change copyright info in Photoshelter

Add this script to your copyright notice:

© 2008-
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"> 
var today = new Date() 
var year = today.getFullYear() 

Now you never have to change the date manually again :)

How to change copyright info on your blog

In WordPress, check your theme, if you’re running one. In my theme the code in the footer can be changed in …

Appearances -> ‘Theme’ Options -> Other Graphical Elements -> Footer 

Handy script idea to change copyright infoHT @BrendanShick for pointing out that you don’t have to hard code the year, when you change copyright info anymore (like I did until 2015) – this is even better – instead of having to change the date into your blog and website every year by hand,  Bredan suggests the following PHP snippet:

&copy; <?php echo date(“Y”) ?> [YOUR ATTRIBUTION HERE]

Where YOUR ATTRIBUTION HERE would be the name of the copyright holder. Although this did not work on my sites, it made me do a little digging and this script works like a charm:

<script language=”javascript” type=”text/javascript”>
var today = new Date()
var year = today.getFullYear()

Thanks for pointing this out Brendan!

How to change copyright info in Image tagging software

In Adobe Bridge, you’ll need to change the copyright notice in your Metadata templates. Go to …

Tools -> edit metadata template -> scroll to the template you need to change -> scroll to ‘copyright notice’

Bridge change copyright info field

How to change copyright info in your image processing software

Capture One (the best RAW processing software on the planet #EndOfAd :) will pull the copyright info from your camera into their metadata field, however if for some reason you need to add it by hand just go to the INFO tab in the software – so if you change copyright info in your camera, you don’t need to do this, but it’s always nice to know where the copyright notice lives.
Change copyright info in the info section of Capture One

Scroll down to the IPTC section in the tools column and change your copyright notice there.

This is what a change copyright info looks like

If you are importing from a Card, then Capture One will remember your last copyright notice in the import window. Change the date here as well.

Change copyright info in Capture One import as well.

How to change copyright info in your Camera:

Last but certainly not least, you want to change copyright info in your camera, which sometimes is a little tricky.

10 months ago

How to get clients.

Get clients - a few tips

“How do I get clients?” is a question I asked myself often, when I was starting out. Today I see many small business owners and freelancers on this quest to get clients. So what’s the secret? How do people figure out you’re the guy or gal that can solve their problems, create the content they need or provide the service to help their business succeed?

To get clients you must show them work that rocks!

This should be a given. Your work (in my case photos and videos) needs to speak for itself. It needs to stand out from all the other work out there. Show only you very best work. The stuff that’s won awards, that’s been showcased, stuff others can’t stop talking about – that’ll get clients talking.

Your work has get in front of the right audience. If it sits on your hard drive or on your shelf I don’t care how awesome it is – no one is going to hire you based on work they can’t see. Build a strong web presence. Write a blog. Learn social media. Have a good website. Make it easy for potential clients to find you. Build an audience – (here’s a Roadmap to building your audience.)

To get clients you need to show them what you want to shoot!

Clients book you, because they see a still image or a video you created. And they need something similar. This is what Google calls the moment of relevance. The closer you can get to it in your response to a prospective client, the more likely your chances of getting work from them. (I’ll talk about my response time a little in this post). You must make sure that the work you want to do is searchable – that’s especially challenging for a visual content creator, since search engines don’t speak photo. They needs text to find the imagery people are searching for. Get rid of those IMG_1234.jpeg filenames on your website and help people find your work. [Read: Your filename must include this work.]

Some may say “but I don’t have an image or a video of what I’d like to shoot.” Let me guess and since you don’t have it, you can’t show it – and since you can’t show it, you don’t get clients to book you to shoot it – so you don’t have it … you get the idea.

Shoot it anyway. Shoot it for yourself. Find a non-profit that needs that photo or video and create it for them. Then you have the work to show the next prospect, that proves to them that you can shoot this, because now you can show it. Think that’s to expensive, to complicated, to risky? I went to Afghanistan to produce, film, edit and promote a short documentary for a non-profit, because that’s the kind of work I want to create, the work that would help me get clients.

You know what my clients biggest donor said?

Showing work you want to shoot can get clients.

We’re talking about a commission, that represents group of governments, who work with hundreds of non-profit humanitarian organizations around the world and see even more films showcasing the work those NGOs do. What do you think happens, when I show this corporate documentary film to my prospective clients? You think it get’s me more clients? You bet!

To get clients get personal and show them more, than just your work

“My work speaks for itself.” Yeah. Sure. Future clients want to know…

How Do I Grow My Photography Business? Use SEO to Shoot for the Sky

How I use SEO to grow my business.

How Does OWN IT Gold Ambassador Pascal Depuhl Grow His Photography Business? Use SEO to Shoot for the Sky

Behind the scene shots play a large role in the use of SEO

Photo by Gilberto Salazar

Meet our more recent Gold Ambassador here in OWN IT — Miami-based photographer Pascal Depuhl[Achieving that has much to do with how I use SEO.]

After falling into shooting images on a whim as a teen, Pascal honed his art over a number of years before starting his own company about a decade ago. Now he boasts an impressive lineup of clients, including National Geographic, SeaRay and Mars thanks to constant hard work and dedication to his craft.

We chatted with Pascal about the first big job that launched his career, how he learned to stand out in a saturated industry and the secret sauce for keeping your happy customers coming back for me. [Much of my success has to do with how I use SEO.]

Read on to hear his story!

Consistent branding across channels is important when you use SEO

Name: Pascal Depuhl

Business: Photography by Depuhl

Started: 2004

How did you start your business?

I’ve been getting paid for my photography since my late high-school years. I began assisting and apprenticing after college for four years [Read more about that in “This phone call made my career.” BTW a blog post is a great way to use SEO.] and got my first full-time job in 1996, but I only launched my company in 2004. I honestly don’t know what first drew me to photography! I was saving money to buy a mountain bike and ended up walking into a store and picking up a camera instead.

I opened up my own shop out of necessity. I had gotten laid off from two full-time photography jobs in 12 months and didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to earn my livelihood.

Who was your very first customer?

A friend of my dad had an ad agency that needed photos for one of their clients. I was a senior in high school when I got that job, and the budget for the whole thing — including travel expenses, food, lodging, film, processing, my time and equipment — was a little over $1,750 dollars.

My dad’s friend told me he didn’t care how long I stayed in Israel to photograph, as long as I didn’t go over budget. I was there for a month!

When did you know your business was going to work?

I got an unsolicited email from a company that provided a retouching service to photographers. I realized that they found my business online and were looking to sell me their service [To be honest at that time I did not know much about how to use SEO]. I was so excited, because I’d spent absolutely zero money on advertising, yet someone who didn’t know me figured out I was a photographer based on information that was out there online.

Today, what is your most effective means of getting new customers?

Everything I do, from writing a blog to keeping an active social media presence on sites like Instagram and Twitter, from putting on workshops to volunteering and being deeply involved in the local small business community [all good examples of how I use SEO to build my online brand], is done with …

Why you should not delete images on your memory card using your camera – and other memory card tips!

How to use your memory card correctly!

Are you using your memory card correctly? If you’re not sure check out what Jeff Cable (@jcable12) wrote in a great post about the use of a memory card. As the former director of marketing at Lexar, he knows a thing or two about the do’s and don’ts of memory cards:

As many of you know, I have been writing this blog for 8 years now, and I also spent many years of my life as Director of Marketing at Lexar dealing with the ins and outs of the memory card business. And in all that time, I have never written a blog about the do’s and don’ts of memory cards. Now that I have left Lexar and not on that side of the business any more, I feel that I can write this objective piece for you without any conflict of interest.

And if you are taking digital photos on a memory card (and you probably are), YOU WILL WANT TO READ THIS!
First, let me explain the memory card in simple terms for you.

Most people look at a memory card as a piece of plastic or metal, and they don’t think much about them. But inside those covers, there is a LOT of intelligence. There is flash memory, a controller and much more. The quality of that memory and controller often determines the speed and quality of your card.

Your memory card has something called a File Allocation Table, otherwise known as a FAT Table. Think of your memory card as a book and the FAT Table as a Table of Contents. When you format a memory card, you are not actually erasing the card, you are just clearing the FAT Table. So…you have removed the Table of Contents, but the chapters of the book still remain. Yep, all the images will remain on your card until you shoot more and overwrite them. This is why you can use a program like Lexar’s Image Rescue, SanDisk’s Rescue Pro or other data recovery software to recover images from a card even after it is formatted.
And now for the tips, which I am going to write in the order of importance:
1. DO NOT erase images from your memory card in your camera! Clarification: What I mean by this is: Do not go through your photos and delete them one by one using your camera. I see people (including professional photographers) doing this all the time and it is a REALLY bad idea. Your camera is awesome at taking photos, but it is not very smart at managing the data on your memory card. Deleting individual images from the card using your camera is a great way to scramble the FAT Table. DON’T DO IT! And heck, memory cards have gotten so inexpensive and large, that you should not have to delete images to save space. Just pop in a new card and keep shooting. Once you have downloaded to your computer, and backed up the images THEN format your card to use it again.

2. Format your memory cards in your camera, not on your computer. I have seen countless web sites which tell people to format their memory cards on your computer. This is just bad information! You want to format the cards in the camera. And you should do this on the camera your are shooting with. I am currently shooting with the Canon 1DX Mark II, Canon 1DX, Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark III, and I format the card in the camera I am using. You are reading this correctly…I do not format in one Canon camera and move it to another. Will they work?