Photographer Jonathan Chapman on how he runs his business.
What’s it like being a freelancer?
It’s been great overall. I like the freedom of having my own business but with that also comes a lot of responsibility and details to be mindful of as the guy in charge. The business evolves by the hour. If you don’t somewhat enjoy the hustle, you’ll quickly fall behind.
What advice have you got for other freelancers?
It’s best to keep working even on days when you’re not shooting a project. Show up and do the work. I’m reminded time and again of the old adage “you reap what you sow.” Don’t forget to have fun with it too. There are lots of milestones to celebrate. Get in touch with other creatives and invite them out for breakfast or happy hour. There’s always something to learn and it’s a great way to step away from the world of screens for some fellow human interaction.
“Those moments aren’t a matter of magic or alchemy: They’re created by instinctively knowing where to be and what to do, in order to be invisibly present in exactly the right spot at precisely the right time. And by not trying to do too much.” — Jonathan Chapman
How did you get to where you are now?
I owe my success and client base to the many mentors and photographers I had the opportunity to work under and alongside. It’s been quite a winding path, but the common thread is a desire and passion to always get better. My standards are always just a bit out of reach. Whenever I hit the next level, there seems a new, exciting and intriguing, target to strive for. The partners I work with in the studio are invaluable as far as keeping things moving on a daily basis; pushing forward the less sexy aspects of the business (estimating, scheduling, marketing, etc). It’s exciting when a new project books. It’s a direct result of our collective efforts.
How do you grow and promote your business?
We have a variety of outlets ranging from our website, sourcebook sites, social media, emailers, print promos, special local events, and face to face meetings. It’s really about using everything out there to stay in front of current and future clients.