01 April 2017 by The Freelancer Club With an eclectic client list that includes Star Wars, Netflix and Adidas, photographer, Mr. Whisper, is not resting on his laurels. He generates around 50% of his work via social media and continues to land exciting projects. We asked him how he does it. How did you get started in freelancing? Before I became a photographer, I worked full time as a digital creative director in a variety of Ad agencies in London. During the last few years, I noticed how Social Media was becoming increasingly important within the campaign work I was doing. Simultaneously my personal Instagram account was growing at a steady pace, and I began to get commissioned by big brands i.e. Lonely Planet, Jaguar, and Adidas to create content for them. This got me thinking that perhaps one day I could leave my full-time role to become a freelance commercial photographer working directly with cool brands. So about 5 years ago, I quit my job and decided to freelance as a creative director which would then afford me the time and flexibility to see If I could make this photography dream a reality. Fast forward two years and I was lucky to be receiving enough commissioned work to just focus on photography full time. Photography: Mr.Whisper What's the best thing about being a freelancer? The variety of brands you get to collaborate with and in turn all the talented people you work with along the way. And the worst? I’d imagine it’s the same as most freelancers, when will my next job come in? Photography: Mr.Whisper Your work has a very distinctive story-telling style. My work is inspired by daily London life, documenting moments everyone can relate to. Over the years I’ve developed my own style of editing to help stand out from the crowd and give my work an identity. Which in turn brands can utilise to give their campaigns a certain look. This approach has enabled me to work with a great range of clients to name drop a few: Star Wars, Netflix, Samsung, Timberland, Lonely Planet, Audi, Lacoste, Huawei and the Design Museum. You mentioned Instagram. How do you make this platform work for your freelance business? I use my Instagram account as a living, breathing portfolio. I find it a far more productive marketing tool than just having a website. I can confidently say It brings in over 50% of my commissioned work. Photography: Mr.Whisper What tips would you give your younger self when starting out as a freelancer? My best tip would be to work out the personal value of each opportunity or potential project that comes your way. As I’ve found out during my career It’s not always about the money. Sometimes the brand association can hold more value to your freelance career in the future. So try to think in the long term and consider the bigger picture on the effect a said project may have on your portfolio. However, at the same time, never let big brands take advantage of you. The bottom line is that creativity takes time, and time is money, therefore you should always place value on the creative input you are giving to any project and ensure you are happy with what you are receiving in return, be it monetary value or not. You have to weigh up the pro’s and cons of each project individually as well as considering your personal financial situation at the time. What state do you think the photography industry is in? I believe technology and social networks have played a huge role in the evolution of the photography industry, especially Instagram and it will continue to do so moving forward. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to make a living as a photographer if it wasn’t for that app. Instagram inspired and unleashed a whole new generation of photographers where it wasn't about all the gear and technical jargon, but far more about the aesthetic outcome. So it will be interesting to see how the next 5-10 years pan out. Photography: Mr.Whisper What's next? I have a real mixed bag of cool projects on the horizon (most of which are under NDA), but I can give you an idea of the variety. There’s an editorial fashion project, travelling around France and a corporate portrait gig around the UK. Also, I’m with trying to make baby steps into the world of video by launching my YouTube channel and secondly by directing my debut first short film/video in collaboration with the super talented guys over at Envy advertising. Check out more of Mr. Whisper's work and social here.