I’ve been working freelance as a photographer and writer for about a year and a half now, and while I wouldn’t give it up for the world, it does have its quirks and tribulations. In this series I’ll be exploring some of these tales of minor woe.
First off, days of the week.
There’s a regularity to office or scheduled work that some find frustrating and/or reassuring. You can plan around it, schedule things, secure in the knowledge that, while sometimes inconvenient, there’s a structure to it all. Sure, it means taking a day off work for going to the doctor, and you can’t make weekday daytime events, but you know where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing and know you’ll be paid for your labours. Not so in freelance world.
Events photography generally means you’re working evenings and weekends, when everyone else is free, so say goodbye to your social life. Clients often either suddenly realise they need someone at short notice or, worse, cancel at short notice.
If you feel stir-crazy and need to get out of the house to work somewhere else, you’ll find everywhere’s too busy on weekends, or closed on Mondays if you live in some backwater. Mostly you find these things out last minute. And you only realise that places are going to be either rammed or closed when you get there. Because you’ve totally forgotten what day of the week it is.
With little to structure the day or week, and when your hobbies are your job, and when you’re constantly pushing for new paying work, you end up working all days and all hours, which all blend into one. When you’re not actively working on paying work, you’re working on your portfolio or trying to attract new clients. So you’ll be working from when you wake, and carrying on working until you physically can’t do any more. Every day. Each day blending into the next, only punctuated by gigs where you have to actually leave the house, when you end up double and triple-checking the calendar because you’re really not sure what day of the week it is. You end up as a bit of a hermit who only interacts with clients potential or actual.
So, if you’re in a regular job, take some solace from the predictability of its structure, embrace the social interaction it affords.
And if, like me, you’re not? Mourn with me, perhaps over a coffee sometime. Just not evenings or weekends. Or Mondays apparently. And I’ll probably cancel at short notice. Sorry.