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freelance photographers in Dubai

How to become a freelance photographer in Dubai?

Dubai has become one of the most economically diversified places in the world, offering multiple job opportunities and productive activities. Nowadays, being successful freelance photographers in Dubai is easy and possible, due to the tools provided by the government of the United Arab Emirates, to attract new investors.

In this article, you will find information about photographers in Dubai, what are the steps to follow to become one, some important aspects to take into account, and how to earn money dedicating yourself to this profession-

  1. What do freelance photographers do?
  2. How to become one of the many active freelance photographers in Dubai?
  3. How to start a photography business in Dubai?
  4. Important aspects about being a freelance photographer
  5. Tips to become a successful photographer
  6. How to earn money as a freelancer?
  7. Rating your work as a photographer
  8. How can we help you obtain more information about becoming a freelance photographer?


1. What do freelance photographers do?


Being a self-employed photographer means running your own photography business, this can mean having clients for photoshoots or selling your art to the highest bidder. Most companies, at some point, will need professional photographs, whether it is a product photograph or a professional headshot, as part of the freelance photographers in Dubai, you will be able to decide what type of work best suits your needs or interests.

Also, being able to fulfill your passion and earn money from it is one of the many advantages of being a freelance photographer. If you want to start in the world of Freelance Photographers and you don’t know how to check the following basic steps:

1.1 Choose your equipment

Investing in a good camera is essential for freelance photographers in Dubai. You do not need to spend a lot of money, several retailers offer refurbished camera equipment, which will allow you to have a high-quality camera at a lower price than a brand new one.

If you cannot afford an SLR camera, you can also practice with your phone. Many smartphones come equipped with cameras capable of taking high-quality photos. Once you develop your photography skills, you will be able to choose which type of camera best suits your style and needs.

Keep in mind that being a professional photographer means spending a lot of your time doing post-production photo editing and administrative work. For this reason, it is recommended to use editing systems (such as Photoshop) to show consistency in the photos.

1.2 Start taking photos

When it comes to learning how to be a freelance photographer in Dubai, the best way is to just go out and take photos. The more photos you take, the closer you will be to discovering your personal style. Learn about your camera’s settings and photography basics, sign to different photography courses and focus on the subjects you are drawn to.

Although there is no rush to decide the type of photography you want to do, little by little you will notice the interest in certain types of photography disciplines, for example, product photography, food photography, or life photography.

1.3 Submit your work to your photography portfolio website

No matter what style of photography you take, you will need a portfolio to showcase your work if you want to be taken seriously. Since photography is a visual medium, you need to reflect your photography style in your portfolio. Remember that even if you are a single person, you must create a strong and recognizable brand identity.

2. How to become one of the many active freelance photographers in Dubai?

Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City are the best places if you want to start a path as part of the freelance photographers in Dubai. These places not only offer a variety of services related to the media sector, but they also offer the most reputable media hubs of all the Free Zones.

The services offered in the mentioned free zones are the following:

  • Furnished business units
  • Generous licensing terms
  • A simple registration process

To start working in some of these zones and get a Freelance License, you must submit the following documents:

  • Passport copy
  • Bank reference letter
  • Credentials
  • CV
  • Business plan
  • Samples of work
  • A reference letter from a previous employer (If possible)

The initial cost per license, desk space, security deposit, and a 3 year UAE Residence Visa is of AED 20,000. Also, at the beginning of each year, you will have to pay a renewal fee of AED 13,500.

After getting your photographer license from the Media Business Center in Dubai, you will be granted certain services. For example:

  • 24-hour security & office access
  • Office management and maintenance
  • Daily housekeeping service
  • Lighting, power, air conditioning
  • Use of meeting rooms, bedroom and lounge areas
  • Distribution of faxes, mail, and others

3. How to start a photography business in Dubai?

Dubai has proven to be the center of technology and innovation. Its different Free Zones offer different productive activities and benefits, according to the needs of your company.

Dubai Studio City and Dubai Media City are the Free Zones in charge of activities related to the media sector and where you can establish yourself if you are looking to be part of the freelance photographers in Dubai. Those entrepreneurs who decide to form a company in a Free Zone in Dubai can opt for three types of companies: Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ- LLC), work as a Freelance Professional, and a Branch of a UAE/Foreign-based company.

Registrations and licenses for the formation of your company are issued by Dubai Creative Clusters Activity (DCCA)

3.1 FZ-LLC

These types of companies can be established to the following persons:

  • Corporate person as shareholder
  • Natural person as shareholder
  • Natural and corporate person as shareholder

The submission of the application form and the business plan is necessary in all cases. The difference lies in the process of submitting the passport, a corporate person must submit a copy of the passport of the manager and the director of the company.

After submitting the corresponding documents, choosing an office space, and paying the necessary fee, you will receive your license and the certificate of the corporation.

3.2 Branch company

You can start a company (foreign or UAE-based) in Dubai Media City (DMC). The branch will perform operations related to the parent company. The main difference between a Foreign Company and a UAE-based one is that the last one must operate for a minimum of two years in the DMC.

The other requirements for both companies are very similar.

3.3 Photography company in Dubai

If you want to form a photography company in Dubai, you must submit the following documents:

  • Passport copy of owner and manager
  • Business plan
  • Bank Reference Letter
  • CV of owner and manager

After consigning the corresponding documents, you will obtain an FZ-LLC License, desk space, security deposit, and two UAE Residence Visa with two years validity, for an initial cost of AED 48,000. At the beginning of each year, you will need to pay an annual license renewal fee of AED 35,000.

4. Important aspects about being a freelance photographer

4.1 Location

Before starting your path as part of the freelance photographers in Dubai, you must choose a beneficial location for your business. In Dubai Media City or Dubai Studio City, you will find activities related to the media sector. From news, public relations, entertainment, marketing communications, and much more.

In these areas, you will find yourself surrounded by a large and diverse number of clients who need photography services. In addition, you will find healthy competition with other companies specialized in photography, which will encourage you to improve your services.

4.2 Know the field

Photography is an area that requires study and dedication. Although much of the work can be done from home, such as portraits and photos for some legal documents, photoshoots require traveling to established locations. Both jobs require great knowledge when editing and the necessary equipment to deliver a quality product.

 4.3 Diversify

In addition to photography services, you can consider video services. These are in great demand, especially at family events such as weddings, graduations, birthday parties, etc. In addition to this, some clients may want professional-grade live memories of their loved ones.

If your photography company continues to grow, it will find benefits from offering videography services and getting the customer what they want.

4.4 Use social media marketing

Using platforms like Instagram or Facebook will be of great help when growing your company. On these sites, you will not only be able to give information about your studio, its location, and hours. Your clients will be able to see your portfolio and decide if your company fits their needs.

In addition, using these platforms will allow you to maintain closer communication with your customers.

5. Tips to become a successful photographer

5.1 Be passionate about photography

Firstly, to be successful in this field, you must love the art you make. Being a photographer is not an easy job, it is all about being a creative person. This means that you will need the motivation and creativity to get over every hurdle that may come your way.

Also, be true to your style. There are plenty of photographers in the UAE, it is up to you to stand out from the others and become the first option for your clients.

5.2 Build your brand

If you want your company to be taken seriously, create a website to showcase your artwork. You can even make use of social media sites such as Google One, LinkedIn, and Facebook, to promote your company and attract customers.

All successful photographers in Dubai have web pages that improve the reputation of their company.

5.3 Be prepared to invest in your company

Every company needs an initial investment to receive long-term profits. Apart from the expenses in tools to work, you will need to make small investments in advertising, as well as invest a large part of your time.

It is recommended that you take the time to take courses, get certified, and always try to improve your skills. This will take time, but you will get to see the reward at the end of the road.

5.4. Be social

To succeed in the media business, you need to be able to demonstrate your talent. Take the risk of taking photos at events and parties, get to know people, and become their local photographer.

Share the photos you take on your social networks and allow your customers to interact with them. In this way, the reputation of your company will start to grow and soon you will have customers at your door.

6. How to earn money as a freelancer?

Like for other companies, Dubai offers an environment full of opportunities for freelance photographers, from a large potential client base to spectacular locations to capture beautiful shots. Due to its high profits, the photography sector in Dubai is very competitive.

To earn money as a freelancer, you must have the talent to take good pictures and be a perspicacious business person. A big part of starting a successful company is understanding the entrepreneurial environment that Dubai offers. Some of the ways to earn a good income taking photographs are the following:

6.1 Sell or license your photos on stock photography sites

If you have a collection of high-quality photos, you can sell them on a stock photography site. This is a good way to generate passive income.

6.2 Join a photo contest

If you think you have enough skills, you can enter a photo contest. In this type of contest, you will always find different types of photographers, with different levels of expertise and styles. Even if you do not win the cash prize, you will gain exposure and self-confidence.

6.3 Sell your prints

Well-done photography is a work of art, and people are willing to pay for it. If you want an extra income, you can sell your work on your website, in local galleries, and even display your work in restaurants and coffee shops.

7. Rating your work as a photographer

Photographers can rate their work at their convenience, so the cost of their services may vary. However, the cost of a photographer can be AED 500 per hour, depending on her skill level.

8. How can we help you obtain more information about becoming a freelance photographer?

Being a part of the freelance photographers in Dubai requires the submission of certain documents and communication with certain government entities. This process can be tedious and long, especially if you are an entrepreneur wanting to start your business as soon as possible.

For this reason, Connect Zone is here to facilitate this process, we will be your communication bridge with government entities, we will help you with the visa application process and we will carry out all the necessary documentation for you to consolidate yourself as a freelance photographer.

Are you interested in learning more about freelancing in Dubai? You can contact us through the following email to where you will speak with one of our advisors, who will answer all your questions.

At the same time, if you want to work with us, you can send us your CV through You can also send it to Do not worry, we will not share it nor will we store it.

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