If you’re a photographer or model, or someone who wants to get into the modelling industry, you’ve probably heard of the term 'TFP'.
TFP work, which means ‘Time For Print’ or ‘Trade for Print’ is common in the modelling industry.
Such an arrangement provides a way for photographers to build their portfolios, and for models to get some free professional photos. But what does it mean for brands?
TFP collaborations can be a great way to build a portfolio whether you're a photographer or a model, but is TFP right for YOU?
Read on to find out...
What is a Time for Print or TFP shoot?
A TFP photoshoot, also known as a Time for Print or Trade for Print shoot, is an agreement between a model and photographer in which the model agrees to pose for free on a particular project in exchange for prints or digital copies of the photos. In some cases, it can involve an entire team of fashion stylists, hair and makeup artists, photography assistants and other creative team members.
This arrangement can be a great avenue for anyone in the model industry to improve their portfolios while gaining real-world industry experience for free.
How do you get TFP models for a photo shoot?
There are a few different ways to find TFP models. One way is to post a job on theright.fit. You can also contact modelling agencies and ask if they have any amateur or beginner models who are looking to collaborate with. You can then find a suitable photographer to support your project.
There are a few things to keep in mind when arranging a TFP shoot. First, it’s important to make sure that everyone is clear on what is expected from each side. The project proponent (i.e., brand or agency) should outline the scope of the shoot and what type of images they’d like to produce, and the photographer and model can negotiate what type of output they’d like to receive in return.
Second, it’s important to have a clear idea of the time and resources that will be needed for the shoot. This will help avoid any unwanted surprises down the road.
Third, it’s always a good idea to establish a timeline for the project and to set some goals so that everyone involved knows what is expected of them.
Finally, it’s important to remember that brand-initiated TFP shoots are a three-way engagement. The photographer gets access to staging a cool shoot, the model gets access to free professional photos, and the brand gets images for their products or campaigns.
Things to remember when arranging TFP shoots
There are a few things to keep in mind when arranging TFP shoots, particularly in making sure that every party is clear on what is expected from each side.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind.
Tip #1: Communication
Like any good relationship, communication is key. Making sure all parties have the same expectations is the foundation for amazing results.
Brands – Establish what the shoot is for. Outline the scope through a comprehensive creative brief. This includes what type of images are being produced, the look and feel of the shoot, as well as what is expected from the photographer and model. If you want to use the images for commercial purposes (which is highly likely) make sure to state this upfront. Also, identify what will be provided. Will there be catering for the photoshoot? Will there be contra gifting involved? Again, you are using the photographer and model's time and effort so make sure they are looked after.
Photographers – We understand there’s a lot on your mind when you’re looking through the lens. But getting the perfect shot can’t happen if your talent isn’t on the same page as you. Be honest about your goals for the shoot. Make clear to the talent whether the finished images are for portfolio presentation or commercial usage. Take the time to reach out and let them know what sort of styling will be available for the shoot. Whether it’s hair, make-up or fashion, letting your talent know what to expect will cut down on wasted time and get everyone involved ready to shoot. Effective communication leads to efficient participation.
Talent – theright.fit encourages all talent to follow the ABCs of TFPs – Attitude, Behaviour and Communication. Working for free doesn’t mean letting your work ethic slip. Think of unpaid work as stretching before the big race. It’s putting in the hard yards to get your name, and your face, out there as you build your career. Be clear with photographers about your expectations for the shoot and your total availability so you can work towards the best result together. Once you’ve shown what you’re capable of keep the communication going through social media. Tell your followers the story of your shoot and share in the success with your photographer.
- Respond promptly to any questions and keep an open dialogue
- Confirm with your photographer or talent on the day to ensure the shoot is going ahead
- Be honest about whether the final images will be for portfolio or commercial usage
- Be upfront with your expectations for the shoot and be clear on issues of nudity, shoot length and posing style
- Continue to communicate on social media by sharing the results and engaging with the audience
Tip #2: Quantity
If you’ve ever heard the expression ‘quality beats quantity’ then you haven’t met the theright.fit team who seek quality within quantity time after time. It’s about setting the standards then delivering them to all.
Brands – Brands usually need a high quantity of assets to choose from, and with a TFP shoot you can end up with a wide range of high-quality photos that will help you in your marketing efforts. Make sure to get the best shots possible from the photographer. This way, you can select the best images for your social media and advertising campaigns, and even for use on your website.
Photographers – It’s a simple matter of keeping things fair when it comes to the number of images you provide to the talent and the brand. While you may have a select few favourites in mind theright.fit encourages you to provide a minimum of 10 retouched images when your post-shoot work is done. Think of each image as a way for new followers to find you and a step towards furthering your photography career (whether they're from test shoots or full-on paying client shoots). The final number of images will obviously depend on the type of shoot and the number of usable images captured but be clear about the final product before the shoot so no one is left feeling undersold.
Talent – Open a dialogue with your photographer before you start the shoot so you know what to expect. While unlimited prints would be great they’re also expensive and time-consuming, with portfolio quality images not cheap. Understand that your photographer will get the best of the best to you and if you are looking to get more you can expect to pay a fair and reasonable price. At the end of the day, a good TFP shoot should be of equal benefit to both parties so if you’ve done your job and helped your photographer get amazing shots then you’ll get the benefit of those shots back.
- The theright.fit encourages all photographers to provide a minimum of 10 retouched images to the talent, but the requirements can depend on the brand you're working with
- The TFP team members need to be upfront about how many images are expected to avoid issues after the shoot
- Agree on a reasonable price for any additional images if required
- Negotiate the quantity expected or consider asking for a 'Time for Clothes' agreement in lieu of images if it suits you
- Be clear on the type of images expected, whether digital copies or physical prints
Tip #3: Timing
The process of turning a vision into reality is an amazing one. So, from talent to photographers it’s about turning up to shoot then turning out the images.
Brands – When you work with photographers and models, it's important to agree on a time and date for the shoot and make sure that everyone is available on that day. If everyone agrees beforehand, then there won't be any problems on the day of the shoot. Once you've confirmed the details of the TFP shoot with the team, it's important to plan how they fit into your marketing and advertising campaigns. This way, you can ensure that all of your calendars are synced and that you're releasing the output at your required time.
Photographers – With so much to stay on top of as a successful photographer it’s a fact of life that TFP and unpaid shoots can fall down the priority list. As a successful TFP shoot can lead to exposure and paid work the truth is it should always remain a priority. Be clear with talent about the expectations for image timing. This may include a selection of raw images on the day or focus only on the finished retouched versions down the line. theright.fit encourages photographers to adhere to the two-week deadline. That’s 14 days to turn your vision into a reality and get it out to talent who can share it with the world.
Talent – It’s an age-old expression, time is money, and it’s ironically truer than ever when it comes to TFP’s or unpaid work. Working for exposure or a portfolio is just as important as paid work. Its value comes from building your brand and setting you up for future success. Remember, you can only make a first impression once. Committing to TFP and unpaid work means arriving on time, with the attitude for success. It’s easy to assume missing a shoot costs nothing as everyone involved was donating their time. In reality, that was time that could have gone to other paid work at the least and could have set you up for future paid work at the most.
- Establish image expectations with talent, from raw images to retouched, on an agreed timeline
- Stick to a 14-day turnaround period from shoot to retouched images
- Ensure the shoot is a priority and arrive prepared and ready to do your best
- Follow up with the photographer as the due date approaches
- Countdown using your social media so your followers know to expect content and you have an incentive to receive it
As a brand, photographer, or model, you now get an idea of how to make the most out of Time For Print (TFP) arrangement work for you. Remember to communicate extensively, so you can agree on a time and date for the shoot, set expectations for the images that will be produced, and make sure that everyone involved is aware of the quantity of output required.
Too often talents would raise the question: "Why should I work for free when a company clearly benefits from it?". Maybe it’s time for a new mindset towards TFP sessions with brands. Make talents understand that working for a collective creative goal that benefits one's career isn’t really working for free at all. It’s a personal investment. Remember that some models had to pay thousands of dollars for test shoots and portfolios before agencies would even consider them.
The outcome isn’t just to make a brand look amazing. It also lays the groundwork for the photographer and model’s future. When you multiply time, attitude, and creativity you get a formula for success.
FEATURED IMAGE – Model // Lauren V