What’s the fee for an assistant? What about the cost of gear for the day? How much is the food? Who eats that? Can I work a full day? Where can I eat?
“The most important way to prepare is to get out of the city, and get out of the city with your camera and your setup,” said O’Hara. “If you work in an office, and you go into the office every day with all this stuff, that is how you will find out exactly how much you are going to make. You can’t go into a big restaurant, eat all day, and not eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You will get out of the city, and you might find that you make the same amount of money. But if you go to a restaurant, and it’s not crowded, then you’ll make more money.”
In Chicago, O’Hara said, there are five times as many freelance videographers as there would be if the city were to have that many freelance videographers. For every two photographers who need to freelance, there are five that need to work on a film alone. When you are freelancing, you don’t have that many options. It’s hard to turn down an offer to be photographed on another project. Also, the majority of the time photographers want to use their own equipment, and can’t afford a camera that costs twice as much.
“I think you are seeing a lot of people on the Internet going into a big restaurant and buying five or ten different types of gear on an impulse,” said O’Hara. “But I really wouldn’t recommend that. If you do go on an impulse, and you go to one location where you see a whole bunch of guys shooting their equipment — there are a lot more of them looking at their stuff — and then you say, ‘Man, I’ve got to get that camera,’ you’re almost out of money.”
“Do get as much experience as possible early,” said O’Hara. “A lot of these guys are shooting with a D-3 [point-and-shoot] camera and the D-4 [point-and-shoot] camera, and there are a lot of them — maybe even 50 — who haven’t used a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera. And there’s a lot of them who are getting into it because they know they want to.”
What’s a good approach for a beginner to
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