Understanding TFCD Request for Free Photography

3485510266 7765ec9cb7 m Understanding TFCD Request for Free Photography
Image by thephotographer4you™, LLC via Flickr

There are a lot of TFCD request listed on Craigslist and circulating on Model online websites. What does it all means in terms of giving away free photography services to the wannabee model? How do you determine who you should photograph and it is really worth the effort?

TFCD means Time for Print, Trade for Print or Test for Print abbreviated on Craigslist as TFP and TFCD. An photoshoot arrangement is between the model and the photographer to provide the model with a free photography. The photographer will provide the model with the best digital images from the shoot with limited license to use the pictures. Most photographers offer Time for CD or Trade for CD and the images are provided on a CD in lieu of digital prints. High resolution digital images are placed on a CD in lieu of digital prints because it is cost effective for the photographer to provide the digital images in lieu of paying the model and it should benefit the photographer as well. The model gets to build a portfolio of prints to show clients at no cost while the photographer shoots for virtually no money for their services.

Most individuals have taken the TFCD to the extreme to the point it has become useless and a complete waste of time for the photographer if they don’t come to the photoshoot prepared properly. Proper make-up, clothing and energy to the photoshoot. The models images should be able to sell to the prospective clients. The model seeking the TFCD should have a vision, an creative ideal….something beside their body in front of your camera. I may receive an email in my inbox to shoot for TFCD requesting a photoshoot. There has not been any thought to what the model wants in terms of the shoot included in the email nor a description, when the shoot should take place and the location. The model seeking the TFCD should consider the time, gas, and effort that goes into a photoshoot and expect to pay a small fee if the photographer agrees to set aside time to shoot. To expect someone to provide photography services for free is ridiculous.

Now if the photographer is seeking the model services…..I found the model believes they should be paid. That is exactly the way I feel. All I am saying is be prepared to be fierce and your make-up should be beat for life, otherwise your wasting the photographers time and yours. Be prepared to pay the fee for the photoshoot when seeking services. I don’t agree with the TFCD method unless of course you are a professional model with an established portfolio seeking a new photographer and both parties benefit from the TFCD exchange. Newbies who think that all they have to do is place an ad on Craigslist and become a model is going about it all wrong.

Besides who wants to show up for a TFCD to some stranger who may or may not really be a model or a photographer? Be careful it is a beast out there on Craiglist. Not everyone who list on the website is really attempting to be a model, they just want to use your services and keep it moving.

What are the conditions of a TFCD – this may vary from photographer to photographer and is negotiated with the model. The number of digital images which the photographer may give to the model may vary as well. It can be one single digital image or it can be ten shots per hour that the shoot last. Delivery can be right after the shoot before the model walks out the door or it can take several months. Typically the CD should be delivered within two weeks. Than again you get what you pay for….

It is important to discuss what is involved with the photoshoot before you show up to the photographers door. Are you keeping your clothes on or taking them off? Personally I think that if your not attempting to get a editorial layout in Playboy…keep your clothes on! Why put yourself in an awkward situation. I don’t shoot nude and I get request from men.

There is a creepy guy on Craigslist who always run an ad looking for a female photographer to shoot him nude. When I quoted him a price of $1000 and he responded that he was only able to pay $50. I was through and have decided who needs the drama that comes from doing nude photoshoots. Plus I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought about what my husband would have thought if he walked in the door and this white dude is spread eagle in my studio and I only being paid $50….I can’t!

Depending on where you live, the model and photographer must agree to their usage of pictures from the shoot. There are legal requirements for a model release which vary according to each suitation. Most stock organizations will not accept any digital images without a model or property release. Than there is the Copyright Laws of the United States to take in consideration, a photographer can, subject to certain exclusions and unless agreed beforehand can use any photograph in any way he or she chooses, include selling the digital images for profit. This rule varies from country to country but you get the point. This issue should be discussed and agreed to prior to the photoshoot and put in writing to avoid any issues.

Most individuals looking for Time for Print, Trade for Print or Test for Print do not expect to pay the photographer and there is an expectation that the model image is the payment for the photoshoot. Again this is great if the photographer is seeking the model and agrees to an TFCD photoshoot. This is fabulous if your the next supermodel and came to the shoot prepared to give fierce face and both our careers are on the rise from using your image but that is not always the case. Most models seeking TFCD on Craigslist don’t include a digital image with their TFCD posting either….I wonder why especially since they are looking for photographers to shoot TFCD?

If the model is looking to shoot TFCD, expect to have a conversation beforehand and sign a model release agreement. Don’t expect nudity and don’t get nude. Be willing to travel to the photographer location. Expect to pay a small fee for the photographer time. Be professional and show up on time. Most of all don’t bring any drama to the photographer door.

Testing applies to agencies when sending a new model to a photographer for a short session for portfolio pictures. The model is responsible for paying for the portfolio pictures. The cost is typically paid for advance by the agency with the money deducted from the model’s earnings. Test shoots are used by models to build experience….in another words telling a photographer they will receive exposure is a load of bullshit.


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