Tonight On Special Assignment Photographer

Photographers work in a variety of ways and environments. A number of professional photographers prefer to work inside their own studio, while others move and travel around to find good subjects.

There are photographers who shoot at random, while there are others that work with a theme. Some shoot for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions; while several others prefer to go for assignment photography. On-assignment photographers are in-demand nowadays; so much so that many are determined to try out their luck in the field.

photo by hannaneh710

Assignment or On-Assignment Photography

An on-assignment photographer works in a different environment and circumstances when compared to one who does studio shoots, journalism photography or stock photography. The photos he takes are based on a specific assignment set by a client or customer. There are terms and requirements that he needs to consider, including the payment or fee for the work he does.

In other words, someone pays for the work an on-assignment photographer does.

On-Assignment vs. Stock Photography

Whereas stock photography refers to photographers taking photos according to their preferences – or whenever they see a scene worthy of being captured, an on-assignment photographer does not take photos until someone orders or unless a customer gives him a project (“assignment“) to work on.

Many prefer to go into on-assignment photography because it involves less financial cash out compared to stock photography. An assignment photographer does not spend for production costs and other similar expenses; his client does this for him. Stock photographers; on the other hand, cover their own production costs because what they do is self-assigned work. They sell their work at prizes that can cover both their expenses and hard work. On-assignment photographers give their clients a packaged costing that includes production and labor expenses.

Photos taken by a stock photographer may not find buyers (and are therefore tucked away in files), while on-assignment photographers are almost always assured that their clients will pay for their work.

How to Become an Excellent On-assignment Photographer

To become an in-demand on-assignment photographer, you need to do what a regular photographer does: hone your craft and improve your knowledge. And how can this be done? Here are several tips:

  1. First off, you should consider joining a camera club. You don’t need to find one that specializes in on-assignment photography; you just need one that can offer your various opportunities of honing your craft. There should be competitions that you can join, selfless sharing of knowledge, practices and field trips. A camera club is also the best place to meet people who share your passion.
  2. Take photos. A lot of them; all the time, wherever you are. You don’t have to use your SLR or any high-end technically advanced camera; your digital point-and-shoot will do. The important thing is having the freedom to shoot different scenes. To practice the concept of on-assignment photography, take several shots of a particular scene or subject. For example, you can take shots of different angles of a person casually strolling in the park. Or maybe successive shots of toddlers gathered in the playground as if they were in a meeting. You can also take portrait shots of your family members.
  3. Practice by giving yourself an assignment or a photo theme. Start with something that you are interested in. If you like dancing, look for street dancers and spend time with them. Take your photos over a period of days – not just in one sitting. This will allow you to explore different angles and scenarios. This can be a weekly or monthly activity.
  4. Study magazines and other visual publications. Observe their photos and try to determine what make them compelling. You might want to cut out some pictures that you really like and create your own version of them. Some may say there’s no originality in this, but it’s one of the best ways to practice and test your skills. It’s just for run-through, anyway.
  5. Be alert and observant. An excellent photographer is always aware of what’s happening around him. This will help you come up with good ideas and stories for your photos. Assignment photos tell stories that your clients want the public to know. Watching the news and reading newspapers can also help you find subjects to shoot. For example, a senator running for public office can hire your services to help build up his image for Election Day. A lot of celebrities hire assignment photographers for a PR stunt or when they want to reach out to their fans and followers.
  6. If you have the time and the money, go on a shooting trip or vacation. This will give you different perspectives. You’ll find other interesting subjects and thus, explore the extent of your creativity. For example, when in Rome, visit three or four historical churches and take a series of photos. They don’t have to tell a story, but whether you intend to or not, they will send out a message. This is one of the most integral purposes of on-assignment photography: to create a unified message (like when you take photos for a campaign or publicity stunt).
  7. To create excellent on-assignment photographs, you need to know how to create compelling pictures. This can only be done if you devote your time and passion to it. Don’t rush things. Take it one day, one photo at a time. Assignment photography is not like stock or journalism photography; the client will set the rules and schedule for you.
  8. Finally, browse through your photos and choose the best ones. Come up with a cohesive collection of your work. Your portfolio should showcase your creative and storytelling abilities, your vision, your experience and your love and passion for the craft. Build your collection slowly as this will be the first thing that your prospective client will ask from you.

Whether you prefer to concentrate on assignment photography or taking photos, the best thing to do is practice, practice and practice. If you have the patience and determination to practice, you’ll never be too far away from achieving perfection in everything that you do.

About the Author: Michael Gabriel

Michael Gabriel L. Sumastre is an experienced writer who loves to take pictures of the countryside as well as aerial photographs. He maintains his professional writing portfolio at TheFinestWriter, and you can visit his photography portfolio at Sumastre Photography.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

When someone wants to use one of your photos, you don’t need a number pulled out of a hat, you need help to get paid fairly for your work. You need fotoQuote®, the industry standard stock and assignment photo price guide.

The fotoQuote photo pricing guide is the only source of photo pricing information for photographers that includes powerful coaching help for every category. The fotoQuote price guide not only helps you come up with a fair price for your image license, but it also gives you the negotiation information you need to help you close the sale.

Numbers by themselves don’t mean anything if you can’t convince your client that your image is worth what you are asking.

What’s New in the fotoQuote® Pro 7 Photo Price Guide

  • Assignment pricing overhaul now with more pricing info and coaching tips
  • For the first time ever fotoQuote includes a database for your clients
  • Assignment line item pricing, from assistants to video editing
  • Over 50 online uses including apps and social media
  • Mobile device criteria selection, smartphones vs tablets
  • Stock Footage category with 45 dedicated uses

New Markets

New markets are constantly being created for stock and assignment photographers and fotoQuote helps you take advantage of these opportunities with over 300 categories, including information for video stock footage categories.

Video, shot specifically for a client or for stock clips, is a market trend that is growing quickly and is here to stay. Photographers who have traditionally shot stills are now being asked for video. Often the need for video is simple, and does not require a full production expense. The fotoQuote pricing guide includes information on how to get started to help you transition to video and add this service as an option for your existing clients. There is also a video pre-production worksheet that you can print.

Stock Photography Pricing Categories

FotoQuote has over 300 photo pricing categories! Every category has a Usage Tip to help with your negotiations. All categories can be easily chosen from the main screen.

There are also over 30 dedicated web categories. This is a fast-growing segment in the industry.

Stock and Assignment Photography Prices

To keep fotoQuote photography price guide current we spent a year looking at every source of photo pricing that we could find. We spent a lot of time contacting photographers, going through the pile of notes and feedback from our customers, and scouring web sites and forums to see what kind of problems photographers were having with pricing, and what kind of solutions were being suggested to solve them. This resulted in our latest release, fotoQuote Pro 7.

In fotoQuote you can feel confident you are getting a guide to the most current photo pricing information available anywhere!

Coach Information

There are 38 Assignment Coach topics, including helpful tips on how to break into the video market. The Stock and Rights Granted Coach topics have been updated and new topics added; including new information on the current issues with the publishing industry, especially the textbook segment.

Interface Enhancements

A SUPER streamlined interface makes this the easiest to use fotoQuote photo price guide ever. You can also resize the window.

All of fotoQuote’s Usage Tips are now visible on the main fotoQuote screen as you click new categories, so you can quickly decide if you have the category that matches your request. All the categories are easily selected from a list on the main stock photography pricing screen.

You can select Geographic Pricing Factors from the main screen that define the geographic area of your license. Also select Value Added Factors and adjust the prices accordingly.

Quote Packs

The Quote Packs are groupings of rights packages that give you the ability to bundle different types of license usages together when licensing a rights-managed image for advertising or promotional use.

These Quote Packs give your client greater flexibility in how they wish to use the image(s) they license from you. They are afforded the freedom and convenience of using the image in a variety of ways as described in the Quote Pack, without having to come back to you to renegotiate for every use and at the same time you protect your copyright and control of your images.

Easy Quote Creation with Thumbnails & License by Image

The whole process of creating a quote has been simplified, and you can now include a thumbnail of each image on the quote.

The RightsWriter now creates a license description for each image. Previously your license applied to all images in the quote. This is no longer practical in many situations because of the varied way in which images are being used.

The license for each image can easily be copied so that you can embed it into the metadata for your image, illustration, or video clip. The license can also be pasted into an external invoice or document. It will look like this: Usage: Magazine Editorial.Consumer Circulation: 25k to 50k Size: Cover License Duration: 1 Year Territory: US Only Industry: Publishing-Periodicals Rights/Exclusivity: One-Time Non-Exclusive Release Information: No model release

International Features

There is dual tax ability for users in Canada, Europe and other areas with double tax needs. There is also a field to enter a discount amount or additional charges to the Quote, such as shipping, CD burning, special handling, etc.

You can also select an international currency when you create a new quote, and all items added to the quote will be converted to the selected currency.

Stock Photo Pricing Coach Information

Everything you need for pricing and negotiating is at your fingertips with the fotoQuote photography price guide. FotoQuote’s Stock Coach helps you with negotiating your sales, and every one of fotoQuote’s categories has a Usage Tips section full of information about the specific category you are negotiating. There is also a Rights Granted section.

Pricing Assignment Photography

In the fotoQuote Assignment Coach you get information shared by other photographers about assignment rates in large and small markets throughout the US.

With the new and updated Coach categories the Assignment Coach is so full of information that it’s like having a photo pricing seminar built into the program. You also get negotiating suggestions on how to deal with clients who are requesting all rights to the images you make on your assignments.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *