Photographers and writers: make more money

PHOTOGRAPHER Pete Jenkins and writer Tim Dawson gave advice on making more money at the Freelance Sector Conference in April.

Pete Jenkins, pictured earlier. (See article at left.)

"We have to reinvent ourselves", says Pete Jenkins. "The days of taking your portfolio around Fleet Street are gone" but "setting up a web space with your domain costs £100 a year. You need to think about your website very carefully... you have to make sure that you get the job". Pete now gets about half his income from writing about photography, after photography magazines spotted his website. Personal appearance is important. "Don't turn up to a job looking like an SAS reject...  look like a pro."

Get yourself in directories. The new, improved NUJ  Freelance Directory is out soon, and get your password for the Adobe directory - details of how you can do this are here. Email editors with proposals but phone them too, advises Pete. Arrange a follow-up at a specific time.

Images from every job you do have the potential to be used again. Diversify - find different markets for your work. Be prepared to spend more days in the office on the phone to resell your pics. Pete has "to sell every picture three times to make a living". Sign up to the Design and Artists Copyright Society ( - they collect money from government departments, college libraries and such, through a licence and pay out to photographers; has a list of agencies that can sell your stock.

Writer Tim Dawson said journalists on email lists were complaining they weren't making enough money, but they weren't taking the most basic steps.

"What differentiates someone who works as a writer professionally from someone else? You can guarantee they will do a good job no matter what, it's the ability to do things quickly that distinguishes us."

There's no way of speeding up reporting: you need to apply the reporting to multiple outlets. Tim interviewed a woman who campaigns for the families of serious offenders. The Times took the story and sat on it, they didn't use it for six weeks. Meanwhile, Tim flogged it to three other publications. Send out ideas regularly. Set yourself a monthly target for new outlets to hit.

When editors come out of conferences with their ideas trashed, that's when you hit them with an idea that takes a couple of hours. It's "immensely reassuring to commissioning editors" to find that somebody has written on a subject for which they urgently need copy.

  • See the article on how to make money chasing copyright thieves.
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