A TFP shoot is a photo shoot in which neither the photographer nor the model receives any compensation for their participation in the photo shoot other than copies of the images that are produced. In fact, TFP stands for “time for prints” or “time for photos”, as in each person’s “time” is exchanged for “photos” (or “prints” as the case may be).
Typically, the photographer posts a “models wanted” ad in places frequented by aspiring/amateur models (Craig’s List, photography forums, modeling websites, college campuses, etc.) inviting models to submit photographs for consideration for an upcoming shoot. The photographer then contacts any of the respondents he or she wants to work with and works out the details of the shoot.
At some point before the shoot actually takes place, the photographer will usually ask you to sign a model release and/or TFP agreement. The model release authorizes the photographer to use your likeness in whatever manner the two of you agree. The TFP agreement spells out terms under which the shoot is taking place, including:
- The number of photos the model will receive and the format in which they will be provided
- The manner in which the photos can and can’t be used
- The date by which the photographer has to provide the photos
- Any requirements regarding watermarks and copyright notices
Shortly after the shoot (usually a week or two), you’ll receive copies of the final images from the shoot to add to your portfolio.
If you’re an amateur model, there are a number of ways in which you can benefit from participating in TFP photo shoots:
- You can save thousands of dollars while building your portfolio by getting hours of professional photography services for free.
- The experience you gain working with and learning from different photographers can be priceless.
- You can work with many more photographers than you otherwise would, leading to a much more diverse portfolio.
- TFP shoots often lead to paying gigs for amateur models as you network and gain exposure.
All in all, it’s the easiest and least expensive way for an aspiring model to build a solid portfolio.