New course for photographers going freelance
PERFECT FOR people getting started as freelances - that's how one participant reacted to the first running of the NUJ's newest training course: Going Freelance: For Staff Photographers. A second edition took place in Manchester on November 1.
Whether you're going freelance as a professional life choice, so to speak, or less voluntarily because of redundancy, this one-dayer has what it takes to get you going in the morning as it explores the wrinkles and wiggles of finding clients, pitching, negotiating fees and usage, dealing with the taxbod and even extracting cash from reluctant payers.
The course is likely to run again if demand can be demonstrated. Watch this space and the NUJ professional training webpages for updates. The more people email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire when the next the Going Freelance: for Staff Photographers course is running, the sooner it will be repeated.
But if you can stand further blandishments and ear-bending, here's an account from Andrew Wiard, co-tutor (and Photographers' Council and London Photographers' Branch member) of how the course came into being from the NUJ grassroots up: "This is an introduction to freelancing course with a big difference. A course for seasoned pros - who don't need anyone telling them how to do their jobs. It began when a Johnston photographer facing redundancy who asked John Jones of East Yorkshire branch for help turning freelance.
"John happens to be on the Photographers' Council. The Council then decided on the new course, asked freelance organiser John Toner to set it up. And so it came to pass. If it helps newly-freelance photographers land on their feet, then the NUJ will have shown that even in these desperate times it can still help members in desperate straits. As far as (co-tutor) Phil Sutcliffe and I can tell the day was a success... And who knows when - I think it's a when, not an if - it will be needed again?"
Reviews in from the first-session feedback forms confirm the tutors' fond hopes, including: "Course tailored to people's needs and extremely informative", "excellent course and now feel more prepared and informed", "good spread of subjects covered - tutors flexible about discussing subjects not in programme", "plenty of feedback from students, tutors listened and responded - created an atmosphere where you felt comfortable to contribute", "covered issues that most photographers never think of", "Great anecdotes. Presented in a 'real' way not in a contrived way. No Powerpoint, thank you!", "taught me much more than I was expecting".
After which encomia overkill it has to be revealed that the downside included "terrible tea!" (upgrade to pyramid bags planned), "biscuits please!" (M&S's finest coming up) and ":one of the tutors should have been younger" - Wiard and Sutcliffe confess failure to address the last point but NUJ member 697503 @grimreaper has tweeted to say he's monitoring the situation.