Investing in my creative talent launched my freelance career

At 19, Barnaby Fairley is a busy and successful freelance photographer. You’ll find him covering music gigs, touring with bands, self-promoting on social media and taking his business from strength to strength.

But he's had to work hard for this success. One day Barnaby’s friends from a local skate park asked him to photograph their band’s gig. The music venue liked what he did so much they offered him a job as the in-house photographer, covering all performances.

Barnaby cut his teeth working nights, working the stage and getting up close to capture the mayhem and rapture of bands as they played. That’s when the musicians also started to take notice of Barnaby and he was invited on tour with bands, working in different venues around the UK and Europe!

I got my first camera for my birthday and Christmas present. My family clubbed together to get me a camera that was around £300 – this helped me get a foot in the door

While Barnaby honed his photography skills and grew more confident, he also made several key financial decisions to invest his earnings back into his professional kit. After a year of saving hard he bought a new camera and extra equipment including a gimbal (camera mount) and niche lenses that help him develop a signature look and stand out from the crowd.

Want to be a savvy investor, like Barnaby?

A creative occupation requires motivation, forward planning and smart purchases when you depend on specific kit for your job.

Let’s break down the ways he invested in the tools of his trade:

  • Spent only a third of his earnings and put two-thirds in a savings account for a new camera fund.
  • Shopped online and found cheaper equipment to import, or bought it second-hand.
  • Set a limit on his current account, making sure he always left a £50 safety net.
  • Ate cheaply and made spending sacrifices.
  • Never stopped saving because ‘you never know what’s around the corner’.
How can I make a living while chasing my dream?
How I built my flock and my savings as a first-generation farmer
Do I need to think about my pension?