Freelancer Interview: Ben Lumley, Commercial Sports Photographer


This week’s freelancer interview is with photographer Ben Lumley. Ben makes some great points about providing value and working from home – read on to find out more.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Ben and I’m a Commercial Sports Photographer. That basically means I work with brands and athletes to capture powerful images usually at live events like the London Marathon and World Triathlon Series races. 

What led you to start freelancing?

I’d always wanted to be a full time photographer from the first week I ever had my first camera but had never really had that ‘thing’ that made me stand out in a busy marketplace. It wasn’t until I coupled my love of running with photography that I saw an opportunity for my work and it went from then. 

What three things do you wish you’d known before starting out?

  1. It always takes way longer than you think it should. You need patience and to play the long game or it’ll not work out. 
  2. That you can speed up to the process by doing great work and bringing more value to your clients than you offer. 
  3. There’s more monetary value to what you create than you give yourself credit for so put up those prices but don’t be afraid to work for free if the opportunity is great and could lead to lots more. It’s a risk and gamble game and you have to play smart. 

What three issues have you had since starting up?

  1. Admin paperwork and the boring stuff. Can’t stand it and it takes me away from the creative process that gives me the buzz. Outsourcing those parts of the business when I can has really helped. 
  2. Dealing with the feeling of not doing work. It’s ok to not work 27 hours a day. If you’ve put in a ton of work you need to let the universe catch up with all the pressure you’re putting on it. I often find the days I’m not ‘working’ (although I’m working everyday technically) are usually the days when projects get the green light or clients get in touch. 
  3. Working from home. It’s full of distractions and it’s easy to get pulled away from the work. It takes a lot of discipline. 

What’s the best thing about freelancing?

The best thing for me is being about to work with some of the best athletes in the world and build friendships I could of never of imagined in the industry. I love being able to create work from all over the country and take people’s breathe away! 

How would you like to develop your freelance career in the future?

For me, the next steps is world wide domination lol seriously though I do want to move out of Europe and start working on events around the globe with my favourite sports. That would be cool. 

Anything else you’d like to tell anyone thinking of or currently freelancing? 

If you don’t love it, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. If you can’t love it even if it’s a hard day, even if clients are being difficult, even when no one’s coming back to you and you’re running out of money then you’ll not stick it out. You got to want to do it regardless of all of that, for the love of it. 

Ben Lumley