Making an income as a freelance photographer during Covid-19

I’ve been a freelance photographer for 10 years, and other than moving to a new city, this is definitely the toughest challenge I’ve seen. How can we now make money as a freelancer?

For the last 2 or so years, my main work has been taking news photos for an image agency who subcontracts me to newspapers, taking portraits for people to use on their Tinder profiles, photographing musicians and making music videos for them, photographing and filming performing arts, and making corporate training videos.

Last week that stopped. My last booking the calendar let me know they would be rescheduling their shoot until later in the year, understandably. The weeks before that saw my work traveling to indigenous communities put on hold, as remote regions rushed to stop the virus from entering their area. People have stopped going on dates and don’t need a new tinder profile photo.

So after sleeping in a bit too long, I thought; “what about all this stock drone footage I have?” Although I haven’t been flying it a lot lately, I was getting up before dawn quite often to go and film Sydney beaches on cold winter mornings. I’d also take the drone with me any time I travelled. I’ve literally got hours of 4k drone footage from different parts of Australia.

So here goes, I’m starting to organise and sort through the archive and have given Adobe stock a try. I was going to try Shutterstock but I hear the sign up process requires a scan of your passport, so I might just give them a miss.

I’ll post back with a review of Adobe stock once I get going a bit more on it.

Stay safe out there, and stay sane,


Spring News

Hey all, it’s been quite a busy few months! Music videos, news, as well as Sydney Fringe. The cover photo is from Catherine Wait’s “Void, the call and response” at Legs On The Wall.

I’ve also recently been quoted in British GQ about what makes the best tinder photos.

From David Levesley’s story:

While professional Tinder photographer Jordan Shields also says to avoid group shots, he suggests you replace them with photos where you’re doing activities “that perhaps the other person could see themselves doing with you. Sell yourself as the dream guy that someone wants to spend time with, [doing] whatever it is you do.”


“Do wear new or dry-cleaned clothes, no faded polo shirts,” adds Shields. “Even a new white T-shirt looks nice.” Dress to impress and make sure your grooming is up to snuff too. “Do neaten up your beard or facial hair, or go clean-shaven,” says Shields. “It can’t be somewhere in the middle.”


For Jordan Shields, some things are pretty dependable: “medium shots, basically portraits from the waist up” are best, he says. For day looks appear relaxed, for evening shots make sure you’re dressed up for a night on the town.

Other things, however, are far from gospel. “It really does differ from guy to guy. Some men get better results smiling and looking at the camera, some find looking away and being more serious in their photos works better, but I’m sure that says more about what others are attracted to, so why not try both?”

I will update the blog with a whole bunch of photos from Sydney Fringe, once I get through editing them all!


Cinematography Showreel

Hey guys, I’ve got a new cinematography showreel up on my vimeo. It’s got a bunch of my drone work, as well as some time lapse among other work. I’ve been working on some short films recently too, which I’m really keen to show you, once they are released.

Make sure you click the HD button, and turn your volume up!


Diger Rokwell We Can Ride Tour

A few weeks back I went down to Knox St Bar Sydney to catch Perth artist Diger Rokwell. His performance was part of his We Can Ride Australian  tour.

Diger Rokwell was actually the first artist I ever had a photograph published of. I remember photographing his Earth Head Launch at the Rosemount Hotel in North Perth years ago and having my first published photo in Drum Magazine Perth.

I really enjoyed the new music by Diger. His use of vocoder really gives a psychedelic feel, and the occasional drop of some jungle beats had me back in raver bunny paradise.

He was supported by The Boost Hero Man (Perth) and Captain Earwax (Sydney).

You can get a copy of We Can Ride by Diger Rokwell on his Bandcamp Page.



All photos and video are © Jordan Shields 2017, all rights reserved.

Baamba, Bran Nue Dae

While I was up in The Kimberley, I was assigned to take some photos of the anti-gas protest concert for the newspaper. The concert took place on the deck of the Karma IV, which was used as a stage due to the approval not being granted for a concert on Cable Beach.

The Pigrams, Stephen ‘Baamba’ Albert and Rob Hurst were some of the many musicians who performed that day in support of the Broome community.

It was a surreal day; seeing thousands of people walk down the beach like an army, swimming out and dancing in the water. Pearl luggers floated by in the sunset, until it got dark and we shared a dingy ride with Rob and some local ladies who told me when I was walking in the shallows, “don’t lift your feet silly, you’ll step on a ray, shuffle your feet on the bottom”, thanks for the tip! 🙂

Here is Baamba performing Bran Nue Dae: