Photographer Porter Yates Shares Freelancing Tips

Want to be a freelance photographer?

Skillshare was lucky enough to sit down with freelance photographer and Skillshare teacher Porter Yates and ask him some of our questions about his career. Read through his tips and apply them to your own creative pursuits.

As a freelance photographer, what is one thing you wish you knew when you were first starting out that you know now?

It’s important to think of yourself as a brand. I was very unfocused when I started out and didn’t have a strong identity within my work. I think successful photographers market themselves as an identifiable brand. It’s important that your audience knows what to expect when they see your work.

What do you think you still need to work on to continue to grow as a freelance photographer?

My editing and narratives using multiple images. I focus heavily on individual images and the stories within a single frame. Many publications want a more cohesive story using multiple images. I’ve never been great at that. That’s something I’m working on improving.

Freelance Photographer Porter Yates Taking Photos

How has EyeEm, the online photography platform, helped you be successful?

The photography space is very crowded today, and it can be really difficult to get your name out there. I was fortunate to have some of my images noticed in one of their contests and things snowballed from there.  They have a great team that works hard to support photographers.


In addition to his enormous success as a freelance photographer, Porter Yates now has over 3,000 students in his Skillshare class. Give back and earn sharing your photography on Skillshare today. 

Porter's Bio: 

Porter’s interest in the varying levels of connection between himself and the people he encounters is the primary theme in his work. He looks to reveal universal elements that express the human condition as well as capturing people’s relationships to their community and environment.

He has traveled extensively to Asia and the Americas, finding inspiration in the beauty and uniqueness of place and its culture. Venturing into remote places, and introducing himself into a new community, has made him question what it means to be an outsider, what it means to be part of a culture or community, and how people connect to the world.

Porter was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has worked in Colorado in the oil industry, and researched sustainable heating technology during a residency in China. In 2015 he was named EyeEm’s Photographer of the Year. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.