Planning on collaborating with another freelancer anytime soon?

As highlighted in previous articles, the benefits of collaboration are plentiful.

But what about the process itself? What are the key ingredients needed to pull off a successful freelance collaboration? 

In this article, three freelancers share their top tips -  model and actor Alan Bayer, hairdresser and salon owner Ilker Nalkiran and portrait photographer Chris Bovell


Alan, Ilker and Chris rely on their portfolios to promote their services and land jobs. Based on a recent survey, companies who have hired a freelancer in the last year stated that the portfolio (and quality of work) was the single most important factor when choosing who to hire.  

To keep their portfolios fresh and on trend, all three freelancers regularly team up with other creative freelancers to create looks that draw in new clients. They also collaborate to meet other creatives, build their network, try out new techniques and develop their skills. 

So, what makes a collaboration successful? 


Female model. benefits of collaboration, freelance portfolios

PhotographyChris Bovell // Model: Jackline Patience Asiimwe 


Choosing the right freelancers

First things first: pick your collaborators wisely.

“You have to choose a good team,” says Ilker, a hairdresser, who regularly collaborates with freelance photographers, makeup artists and stylists.

But how do you select freelancers who you think you’ll work well with? At the end of the day, different freelancers have different tastes, styles and experience. So how does one decide who to collaborate with?

“Have a good eye when looking at their portfolios. Everyone is creative in their own way,” advises Ilker. Sage advice. We would also suggest that you consider each freelancer's involvement when viewing their portfolio. For example, you might spot a hidden gem of a hair and makeup artist who has a poor portfolio due to the standard of photographs. 


Communicate well and respect each other (communication + respect = trust)

When the selection process is done and you meet up with your fellow freelancers, the creative process begins. How do you make sure that this process is a fruitful one?

“Good communication and respect their ideas!”, says Ilker. 

It’s inevitable that each freelancer within the collaboration will have their own ideas, viewpoints and possibly even visions for a project, and while you might not agree with all of their suggestions, it’s important to hear them out, respect their ideas and talk them through. 

It’s often the case that one person organises a collaboration and has clear objectives of what they’d like to achieve from the project. In such instances, it’s really important that the freelancers they’ve brought on board are aware of and comfortable with the organisers objectives from the outset. That said, the organiser should also be flexible and open to hearing the rest of the team’s creative ideas and suggestions throughout the course of the project. 

In certain scenarios, the organiser may need to make time for a side project to ensure that the others get what they want from the collaboration too. At the end of the day, collaborations are all about give and take!

A great tip provided by Ellen Turnhill Montoya, Creative Director at Anyways Agency at a recent Freelancer Club Masterclass is to get the entire team to write down what they want to get out of the collaboration and save it as a master document. It’s always best to put these things in writing from the get go. 

A moodboard is also a super helpful visual tool to ensure that everyone on the team understands the grand vision of a project. 


Communication and Collaboration Tools

There are endless tools to choose from when it comes to collaborating these days. WhatsApp and Zoom are great to get the ball rolling, chat about ideas and share visuals. Pinterest works well for moodboards as it allows individuals to easily share images with the group. For collaborators who want to start the process online, check out specialist collaboration software like Miro and LucidSpark. 

Like Ilker above, Alan also emphasises the importance of transparency, trust and respect in collaborations saying, “the most important thing needed to make a collaboration successful is not a thing... it is a way of being... being positive, motivated, and most of all being truthful. Always tell the truth and respect will follow. You will build up a great business relationship with anybody who cherishes those values…”


Male and female model. benefits of collaboration, freelance portfolios

ModelsAlan Bayer & Joanna Borov // MUABenazir Thebo // Hair by Lauralyn // PhotographyIvan Weiss


Have a clear plan 

Good communication and respect between all parties in a collaboration can help to create a calm, productive environment, where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves while working to achieve a common goal. 

As Chris expertly explains, “A clear plan is fundamental when working in a collaboration. If all parties know what is expected then it opens up a path for success and the team is relaxed because each person knows what is expected of them.”

As part of this planning stage, it’s worth getting everyone on the team to sign a Test Shoot Agreement. It may seem overly formal but it helps to ensure that everyone involved in the collaboration gets what they want from the experience. We've heard enough stories from members who never received images from a test shoot or discovered that someone had sold the shots without compensating the rest of the team. Don't let this happen to you! Freelancer Club members can download a Test Shoot Agreement for free, here.


Collaborations give individuals an invaluable opportunity to bounce ideas off fellow creatives and work alongside them to create some really cool content for their freelance portfolios. At Freelancer Club, our members are really keen to connect and create. We've therefore made it easy for you to search for freelancers who are currently collaborating by clicking on the Freelance directory and choosing the 'Collaborators' filter. 

Next time you go to collaborate with a fellow freelancer, it’s worth bearing Alan, Chris and Ilker’s advice in mind to ensure that you get the most out said collab.

Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference - whether that be listening rather than talking over someone, clearly identifying each team member's roles from the outset or simply being open minded about a creative idea. 

One small change could push your collaboration in a completely new direction, producing some amazing, unique shots for your team's freelance portfolios, which could ultimately lead to you and your fellow collaborators landing some really nice gigs.

Excited by the benefits of collaboration? Want to get involved? To browse and apply for live collaborations click here. If you have an idea that you would like to produce, set up your own collaboration here