Bristol Freelancer Interview – Aaron Geis

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Over the coming months, years even… we’ll try to feature some of our finest users.

Without further ado, we’d like to introduce Aaron Geis, a photographer from Portland, Oregon who’s recently made his home in the southwest.

Aaron is a freelance photographer, taking wonderful shots (some of which we’ll use in this post).

A young English lad in Thailand playing the didgeridoo

How long have you been freelancing?

I transitioned to full time freelancing at the beginning of 1995. I kind of fell into it after working at a professional photographic supplier and doing photo jobs on the side.

You recently moved from the US, has it been hard getting work here?

I really just started my marketing efforts but so far I have found Bristol to be a very welcoming market. I’m getting some work but still focusing on connecting with the advertising agencies based in the area.

Where’s your favourite desk?

Ah, good question. My favorite desk is a 1950′s Steelcase, the kind that was designed to double as a shelter in the event of nuclear attack and it is in a shipping container somewhere in the Atlantic.

One man's transport is another man's desk

We’re trying to make it easier to find and administer work? Do you find this challenging? 

Marketing is the bane of my existence. I didn’t study it at University and I’m not a natural salesman. When I meet freelancers who are just getting started I often caution them against working exclusively for one client. When I did that I found that my marketing efforts dropped to zero and when the work dried up with the one client I was left high and dry.

If you could wave a magic wand and build something to help you do your work, what would it be?

A list of art directors and art buyers who are looking for a new photographer to work with on their ambitiously creative project.

[3Desk - roger that...]

Commercial shots that still look smashing... Aaron's your man

Tell us about life as a freelancer:

One of the most challenging things about being a freelance photographer is pricing.

I use the method approved by the ASMP and AOP (American and British photographers organizations) which is – creative fee + licensing fee + production costs.

The trick is to take all of the factors into account; running costs, taxes, insurance, pension, holidays, etc.

All of the things that a full-time employee takes for granted I have to work into my billings. The problem is that the client is then tempted to take my ‘day rate’ and multiply it by 200 and compare it to their base salary.

They do that and then say to me you’d be making ‘X’ times my salary if I paid you that much.

Even though freelancing presents some challenges I wouldn’t give up the freedom to make my own decisions about how to run my business. I love having the flexibility to put the priority on creativity rather than on fast track to maximum profit.

[3Desk - agreed Aaron. Check out - Why we started 3Desk]

Check out more of Aaron’s work here

Thanks, great views (sorry)

If you’re a freelancer and would like to tell your story, please email hello at 3desk.

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