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The Do’s and Don’ts of TFP shoots

Do’s and Don’ts of TFP shoots 


If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time, you’re going to see a lot of models or models starting out better that want TFP shoots.



For seasoned photographers, we know that that means “Trade for Photos.”


Basically the principle of it is that models and a portfolio to build up their head shots for their website or Instagram while photographer is just starting out need material for their portfolios as well- so theoretically it’s a win- win.

So now that you know the basic principle of it let me tell you a real story that I saw in one of of my photographer groups today .


Photographer X is trying to build their portfolio and so they ask model Y For a TFP shoot in exchange for “exposure” (shares or mentions on social media)


Photographer X does the shoot but then model Y goes off the grid- completely ghosts the photographer and completely takes the photos- never to be seen or heard from again. 


Now photography X frantically goes on the local photographer a group in my area and asks everyone (over 4,000 people) if they have heard of model Y and if they have any contact info from them.


Of course no one has heard about the model and the photographer is left with nothing ...I think this story is very few-and-far between? You wish.


This type of stuff happens all the time in the photographer world


Obviously my recommendation is to not do TFP shoots if you can help it.


But if you absolutely have to to build your portfolio, this is what I suggest:


Make sure you have heavily vetted the person that you’re trying to work with


Check out their multiple social media platforms and even meet them in person or on skype before you meet with them for the shoot


DO NOT shoot alone in a private place for the shoot- unfortunately theft and dangerous situations can occur. 


.make a contract and have all of their contact information, liability information, model information and terms and conditions written down for them. Time and place of shoots needs to be in writing so that everybody agrees and knows when to show up.

 You don’t even know how many times I did a TFP shoot when I was first starting out and people ghosted me or didn’t show up when they needed to show up...


Don’t just take a job based on “exposure only” really make sure that it is going to be helpful for you and your brand.


Make sure that person is a trustworthy person and will do you good on their word. Check out their Instagram followers they have or how many people that like them on Facebook to really make it worth your while.


For heaven sake‘s do not go crazy on giving 1 million photos Highly retouched unless you really wanna practice and work hard for nothing. 

So in a nutshell, if you are going to do a TFP shoot make sure all the terms and conditions are in writing, make sure it’s really worth your while, and make sure that you have vetted the person to make sure that they’re trustworthy and will do good on what they’ve  promised


What are your takes on TFP shoots? ..What are some things that you would like to add to the list of Do’s and Don’ts? 


She lives, breathes and does media and marketing pretty much 24-7 for over 14 local business through social media management, website design, photo, video or media coverage or graphic design. She is a homeschool mom of three, cat lover, sushi eater and poke fan! She started her business in 2011 with nothing but a $400 camera from Amazon, now she is has been published in over 60 different blogs and websites for her media work and rank top Wedding Photographers in Virginia 

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