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FeatureFreelancePhotography

Freelance with Photographer Malan Louw

posted by Ed Beukes March 17, 2017 0 comments

Malan Louw is a traditional South African family man. Reliable, dedicated, grounded and open to adventure. As much as he enjoys capturing the world through his lens, he loves cooking for his wife and kids and even more so over a ‘braai’ with good music.

Enjoy this inside look into the world of a freelancer from our very own Malan Louw’s perspective.

FCT: When did you start working as a freelancer?

I started working as a freelance press photographer at the end of 1999.

FCT: That’s more than 15 years in the field! If you could go back to the end of 1999, what would you tell your younger self about the freelancing world that you wish you had known back then?

(Malan Laughs). It’s not as easy as it looks.

interview with malan louw

FCT: Sum up your skills in 7 words.

I am a creative photographer and videographer.

FCT: Where/What do you draw your inspiration from?

I spend a lot of time looking at other photographers’ work and the comings and goings of everyday life.

FCT: What do you enjoy most about freelancing?

The flexibility and variety of project exposure.

FCT: Do you think freelancing is unconventional?

Freelancing is unconventional and a rewarding way to work.

FCT: In which way do you find it rewarding?

I enjoy the lifestyle it offers. You have room to move and it basically comes down to you get out what you’ve put in.

FCT: Describe the verb to freelance in the dictionary according to you.

free·lance | ˈfrēˌlans/ verb: The exploration, application and development of skills with greater flexibility and control.

FCT: Tell us about your work ethic.

Honesty, quality of work, reliability and dedication play a big role in my work ethic.

interview with malan louw

FCT: What do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd?

My unconventional way of thinking supports new creative ways and ideas in my image-making processes.

FCT: Describe the space where you work at?

I work in open spaces, mostly outdoors and on location.

FCT: Which location has been your favourite up to date?

Err… tough choice, but I really did enjoy a fairly recent project out in the Cederberg shooting an adventure bike promo.

FCT: How have you benefited from Freelance Cape Town?

I have enjoyed great exposure, various leads and successful jobs from Freelance Cape Town since I’ve joined in 08/2015.

FCT: What are your words of wisdom/encouragement for those who are thinking of embarking on the freelance journey?

As a freelancer, you need to keep yourself relevant to changing environments whilst at the same time being consistent with your own style and brand.

Click here to view Malan Louw’s profile.

freelance photography
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Freelance with photographer Fred van Leeuwen aka The Image Engineer

posted by Ed Beukes February 3, 2017 1 Comment

Freelance photographer Fred van Leeuwen adjusts his eye behind the lens. Lights hit the stage; reflecting yellow and red and blue off leather jackets and cheering fans reaching out to where the energy bounces off the rock star’s electric counterpart.

Flash. Image. Capture. That’s where The Image Engineer’s passion for photography fuses with his favourite subject.

We really loved catching up with this talented photographer and hope you also enjoy this window into the freelance lifestyle of The Image Engineer.

freelance photographer

FCT: When did you start working in the freelance industry?

I started building my freelance career after graduating from college in 2009. After working numerous full time jobs that I tried to keep as closely related to photography as possible, I finally made the switch in June 2016. I quit my day job and embarked on a career as full time freelance Photographer and Retoucher.

FCT: Was it an easy transition?

I don’t think any transition of this nature happens without a few hitches. I had prepared myself before undergoing the transition, but it still had a few small kinks in the chain here and there. I think once you are able to secure a few long-term clients on the side, it’s much easier making the switch.

FCT: Sum up your skills in 7 words.

Perfectionist, knowledgeable, industrious, versatile, experimental, unorthodox, resourceful.

FCT: What do you enjoy most about freelancing?

I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my own work. Being able to manage my own time, set up meetings and take control of my work is what I live for.

FCT: Do you think freelancing is unconventional?

Perhaps a few years back it would’ve been unconventional, but I know of quite a few people pursuing a career as freelancer these days, especially in Cape Town.

FCT: Describe the verb ‘to freelance’ in the dictionary according to you.

free·lance | ˈfrēˌlans/ verb: Freelancing is a bit like switching over from Automatic to Manual Mode on your camera; From a safe, corporate environment where it’s more likely you’re being told to stay in line, to switching over and being completely in control of your own success or failure. It’s both daunting and exciting at the same time.

freelance photographer

FCT: Tell us about your work ethic.

With today’s digital world, instant gratification has become an ever-growing need. Clients expect a week’s worth of work to be done in a day. This is where managing expectations as well as drawing a line in some circumstances is quite important when you are your own boss.
You do get the occasional client expecting you to pull an all-nighter or work over weekends – but it’s up to you if you’re willing to do that. I believe a balance is necessary when freelancing. If you’re working yourself to death for little or no pay, something needs to change.

FCT: What do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd? (no pun intended)

Probably my retouching style. I’ve always been drawn to the visual aesthetic of pin-up, retro and those old propaganda posters. I started off mimicking the style when retouching my own images and worked well on Concert and Event Photography. Over the years it has evolved and became a more subtle effect, but it’s the one thing people seem to be drawn to.

FCT: What do you mostly photograph?

I love music, so for the vast majority of my photography career it’s been mainly band/concert photography, with some surrealistic, commercial and landscape photography on the side. I’ve found myself branching out towards doing more fashion/portraiture in the studio the last few months and absolutely loving it. That being said, I’ll never move away from shooting bands.

FCT: Describe the space where you work at?

If I’m not out shooting, location scouting or meeting clients, I’ll be working at my PC from my home in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.

FCT: What else do you have next to your PC?

My electric guitar. Useful for times when I have to wait for video projects to render or have an extra 5 minutes to spare. It’s been gathering dust in the last few months though, unfortunately.

freelance photographer

FCT: How have you benefited from Freelance Cape Town?

I’m always for entities such as Freelance Cape Town promoting the industry. Especially when it comes to promoting the Photographic Industry. I haven’t been a member for a very long time yet, but I’ve received a few queries already and also managed to secure a neat interview! I believe the foundations have been laid and I’m sure the future has many interesting ventures ahead.

 FCT: Describe your future dream project.

I would’ve loved to go on tour with one of my favourite rock/metal bands during their prime for a month or two. Taking portraits of people like Ozzy, Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson or any other rock stars of that time must’ve been an incredible experience! I wouldn’t mind trading places with photographer Ross Halfin for a while…

For now, I would love to spend a month or two in Iceland with a Hasselblad H6D, a makeup artist, stylist and a few models to shoot surrealistic looking portraits and composites.

FCT: What are your words of wisdom/encouragement for those who are thinking of embarking on the freelance journey?

The freelance journey is a great one if you manage to tame that wild horse and ride her into the sunset.

But don’t expect that you won’t have a few tumbles along the way.
– The first ones are always the worst and will make you want to give up.
– Don’t expect instant success overnight.
– There are hundreds of other fly-by-night freelancers looking to undercut your business and make a quick buck. Create your own signature style and perfect it in order to separate yourself from the crowd and hopefully you will get noticed.
– Use social media to your advantage. If you’re a photographer, use Instagram and learn which hashtags work well for your type of work.
– Get to know the industry and key players. One thing that has helped me boost my business is to collaborate with like-minded photographers. I often get a feeling there’s this unspoken rule to keep to oneself in the freelance photographic industry. That shouldn’t be the case at all! The only way this industry is going to grow is for photographers to tone down their egos and insecurities and work together.

One can gain so much inspiration and knowledge by simply sitting down with another freelancer and chat ideas over a few beers.

Click here to view The Image Engineer’s profile.