Published on April 11th, 2018 | by Brandon H0
Avery Arjang Discusses Freelance Photography
Avery Arjang is a travel, nature, and wedding freelance photographer with a bachelor’s degree in digital arts. After she discovered her enthusiasm for taking pictures in high school, she made it a hobby to capture a few shots every day. Eventually, it grew into a passion, and she was spending nearly all of her free time on it. In the present, Ms. Arjang is one of the most successful freelancers in photography in many states. She frequently travels to events that her clients want her to cover digitally. She creates blogs that teach people important things about freelance photography and edits her work with some of the latest computer programs.
What are your favorite books?
The first one that I would recommend is “Learning to See Creatively” by a popular photographer Bryan Peterson. Although he authored many other fabulous pieces and this one is over 30 years old, the book explains several timeless concepts in photography. He additionally almost forces the reader to give creativity a try by teaching them about the importance of a well-developed imagination. Then, those interested in more technical knowledge should read “The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes” by Joe McNally. He published his book less than ten years ago, and everything that is discussed is up to date. As far as the targeted audience, there is no clear-cut group of people who can read this book as it can teach everyone a thing or two about lighting in photography. Lastly, consider reading “The Negative” by one of the founding fathers of modern photo effects, Ansel Adams.
What is your favorite TV show?
My favorite TV show is Breaking Bad. I watched all five seasons multiple times throughout the years and will probably do it again soon. Without giving away too much, I love the character development that takes place. You start off with a very subtle and underemployed high school teacher who ends up being the most dangerous drug lord in the entire Western Hemisphere. Although I can see its importance for the storyline, I never liked was the violence. Still, it would not be much of a drug world if there was not an occasional gruesome scene, right? Ultimately, people old enough should watch it. Do your best to not binge-watch it like I did since the episodes are rather long and there is a lot of them.
What do you wish you knew before starting a business?
I wish somebody told me that having your own business means you are never off the clock. In the beginning, the few people that I spoke with said that the best thing about freelancing is that you work whenever you feel like it. Now, although this is technically true, it is a bit of a stretch. When you are a photographer, you have to accept projects within the time frame that your client suggests. So, even though I may hate waking up early, I often do so in order to meet with people who have no other availability.
What is one thing you’ve learned since starting your career?
You will get better with time. Whether it is your full-time job, academic career, or business, the experience will help you become a better version of yourself. For example, I used to struggle with my communication skills back in high school. After interacting with so many clients, however, I am now the most outgoing person you will ever meet. Time helps you become more confident and less self-aware about every little thing that you do. Meaning, do not worry about your weak points because they will likely turn into strengths as your career evolves.
What’s one piece of advice you can share with others?
Be smart with your finances. When you are a freelancer, there is really no accountability for how you spend your income. Especially when you first get into the industry and have no prior experience. My advice is to be very financially aware and not waste money. Consider, for instance, how an average freelancer operates. Most of us have to be mindful of things like self-employment taxes, non-employer health insurance, and more. Those working as full-time employees, however, never even think about these things. I suggest that you get educated on everything that you will have to pay for and make a list. Then, always refer to your list to keep track of the payments that you have not made. After you cover all of your monthly fixed costs, feel free to spend leftover funds on miscellaneous items. To warn you, however, you will likely have very little left to spend when you first start your business. Just give it time as creating a substantial cash inflow cannot be done overnight.