Collaborating with other freelancers is an art in itself. Producing work as a team is one of the most fulfilling and progressive experiences a freelancer can undertake. You not only produce unique work that you couldn’t have produced on your own but you also make strong contacts that last a life time. Get it wrong, however, and the collaboration can turn into a stressful, exhausting disappointment. Here at The Freelancer Club, it’s a major part of our site and through years of experience we’ve put together our top 5 tips on how to collaborate the right way.
1. It’s not all about YOU. Before starting a project with other freelancers, ask each collaborator this question: ‘What do you want to get out of this project?’. Have them write it down and put the answers from each person in an email or somewhere safe (you’ll most likely need this later).
2. It’s OK to be legal. Often when creative freelancers collaborate, it’s done in a very casual way. You meet someone that you’d like to work with, schedule a shoot, or produce great images then someone breaks the (unwritten) rules. The following are examples of what we hear from freelancers on a daily basis:
“I shot with a team but never received a copy of the images”
“I discovered the images were published without my knowledge and without my credit”
“The photographer sold the images and kept the profits”
“The photographer sent me a bunch of images that weren’t retouched”
Protect yourself and the team with a Testing Agreement. This will cover everything from who owns the image rights to submissions.
3. Get on the same page. A collaboration is a team effort but in reality there is normally someone who has the initial concept. Everyone needs to be on the same page so make sure that the team you’ve assembled feel apart of the project and not under a dictatorship. There are many types of collaboration from a single vision to a team contribution. This is where the question comes in from step 1. Ensure that everyone feels apart of the process from step 1 to completion.
4. Allow artists to flourish. Inevitably, there will be stronger artists than others in the team. Should you discover that someone is not able to produce the work that you initially saw in their portfolio, don’t embarrass them, rather have a quiet word and try to lightly bring them back round to the vision.
5. Show Up. There is nothing more frustrating than planning a collaboration for months only for someone not to show up. It’s not uncommon for the other team members to blacklist those who do this and you’ll soon get a bad reputation. If it’s an emergency, get a replacement at the very least.
6. BONUS TIP! Have a Plan B. Something will almost always go wrong. Weather, bad light or no shows, there are always challenges when shooting so the more preparation you can do the better. If you’re shooting on location, check out the space well in advance and take shots of the key locations you want to use. Storyboard your shoot if it’s an editorial and check that you don’t need a permit to shoot there.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy the process. Collaborating can produce some of the most exciting work in your portfolio. Should you like help with your collaboration from posting a Test, choosing your team or downloading a Test Shoot Agreement, register for free on www.thefreelancerclub.co.uk and get shooting.
The Freelancer Club supports creative freelancers with advice, events, jobs and mentoring. To sign up for free, click here or use voucher code: HEADSHOT to get your first month’s Pro Membership for just £5.99.