As I write this post from The Coffee Academics cafe on WanChai Road in Hong Kong, all of last month’s happenings seem so far away. But alas, March was the beginning of freelance photography busy season. While the month wasn’t balls to the wall busy like it probably will be a few months from now, there were a decent amount of photo shoots to stay busy with, in addition to working ahead to prepare for my current month-long travels in Asia.
March 2016 Stats
Monthly Highlights Series
Photo shoots completed
*2 more than Feb
Business miles driven
*175 more than Feb
Hours worked for the month
*1.8 more than Feb
*0.7 more than Feb
Miles on Elliptical
*16 less than Feb
What Went Well
Building my food and architectural photography portfolios
In terms of photo shoots, the beginning of every year is typically slow when it comes to event photography. As such, only one of my 15 photo shoots of the month was an event (an for a non-profit, rather than a corporation), and only one was a concert (The Smashing Pumpkins at the Paramount Theater). The rest of the shoots were food and restaurant-oriented, which was satisfying as one of my goals for the year is to become a more established food and architectural photographer.
Food and Restaurant Photo Shoots for March
Dino’s Tomato Pie Behind the Scenes – Eater Seattle
Architectural Photo Shoots for March
Others still being edited
Archiving high resolution versions of old photos
Tied in with my March photo shoots was a significant amount of time spent setting up a photo archiving workflow using SmugMug. I have an upcoming blog post dedicated to explaining this system, but will give a brief overview here.
Benefits of using SmugMug
Ever since I began shooting photos consistently, I’ve posted nearly every image on Flickr. This has been a great way to not only reference my images, but also to get increased visibility and new clients due to them finding me online. To date, I have nearly 2 million total views of my Flickr account, and have sold images to various clients including New York Magazine and Bon Appetit. There have only been two main downsides to using Flickr to store my images:
- I can’t store high resolution images on Flickr due to their massive sizes
- If I want to sell high resolution images of my Flickr images, I have to dig through my physical hard drives to track down those files
Basically, Flickr is largely for amateurs and hobbyists to display photos; there isn’t a professional component built in. Enter SmugMug! For a monthly or annual fee, I can store an unlimited amount of photos on my SmugMug accounts (size of the photos doesn’t matter), and clients can buy these images directly from my Smug Mug account. No need to dig through physical archives anymore! There are some disadvantages to using Smug Mug which I’ll detail in a later post, but so far it’s been working to suit my needs.
Making remote work arrangements for a month-long trip to Asia
As I’ve probably stated previously, the bread and butter of my income is derived mainly from photography. While photography has been a great business model for generating sufficient profits to replace and even surpass my former corporate job salaries, it has a caveat: when I travel I get pretty much zero income from photography except for photo licensing/stock photo sales, which vary and are not at all dependable. So how do I travel for a full month and still generate income? By arranging sufficient remote work projects. In my case, it’s a mashup of freelance writing and website design, and semi-passive income from my tourism business in Belize (which still requires daily maintenance). Much of March was spent pre-arranging these remote work projects so I could work on them in my downtime while on the road in April.
What Didn’t Go Well
Insufficient time preparing for my trip
Perhaps the only thing that didn’t go so well in March was having zero time to do sufficient research and reading to plan for my trip to Asia. Whenever possible, I try to read as much as I can about a country before visiting, and that just didn’t happen this time around. Part of the challenge is the amount of countries we’re tackling in a month (4), and the unexpected amount of work for March that piled up.
And without further ado, it’s time to finish up my flat white and get outside to continue exploring this exotic city that I’m in!