Friday, November 30, 2012

TFP, how to get the best...

Recently a few models seem to have been stung over images that have been taken on a Trade for Print (TFP or Trade for CD or Trade for images) shoot. So I'd thought I'd give my advice on what they are and how to get benefit from them


Trade allows a photographer/model/MUA or other creative to swap their time and/or talent with another creative. It is usually a great way to get some images to boost portfolios with little financial cost. It's a great networking system too. The key point is to get images that are suitable for EVERYONE involved.

As a photographer the responsibility is possibly that little bit greater as the finished product is in our hands, but for that we normally get the most return being directly associated with the images, with models too having their brand recognised immediately (I'll let you work that out ;))


With Facebook and model sites like ModelMayhem it's so easy to find someone who's work you like or can fill in gaps in your portfolio. Read their profiles in regards to TFP or drop them an email. Most creatives are nice people who like to meet like minded people. Look for castings too but make sure everyone involved is worth working with. Your time and brand for that matter are the only commodities you can't buy back.


Whether you are the photographer, model or other person involved, it should be treated like a paid job. Answer emails, return calls, read the brief and turn up prepared and ON TIME!!

Everyone should have it in writing (email is fine) what the return for their effort is. The photographer should be make it clear when and how (print, web, etc) the images will be returned. There needs to be agreement on how many images will be returned too. TFP is a fair usage policy, everyone is entitled to use the images for their own promotional usage. Need clarification? Talk to the photographer and get it in writing!!

Remember the copyright of images remain with the photographer so editing those images once received is not allowed, though personally I'm laid back some photographers can really kick off. Warranted sometimes but not always. It also means the usage of the images have to be within the agreement made with the photographer.


Copyright cannot protect a photographer from an agreement you have made in regards to images. This is why written confirmation is important to clarify a situation like this. Always email the photographer or best, give a call (You have their number, right?). Always be professional when dealing with them especially on forums or public domain.

If you get no where you have to ask was it really worth it?

This is my own advice. If you can add something to it let me know and I will :)

Feel free to comment or drop me mail.



Stephen Potter said...

Good information here Brendan

Claire Gibson said...

As a hair & Make-up Artist I have had some photographers give only Low res files. This is the reason I stopped doing TFP.

Could you let me know your view on whether the photographer should benefit more considering the input of another professional who would of taken the same amount of input roughly (sanitising brushes, using expensive product etc).

The view of another photographer would interest me.

Brendan said...

No one should benefit more as such. Everyone should go into the job giving the best of their abilities. Every problem I hear is about the photographer and what they return to the group involved.

Personally I think everyone should have access to the images in a web and print ready format. The quantity is something the group or photographer/model discuss upfront.

Ross McKelvey said...

Personally when I work TFP (normally only with people whose work is already of a better than average standard) I put all the images in a Dropbox folder so that everyone sees all the images.
Model AND MUA get to choose a minimum if 10 images for processing, and these are made available at both high and low resolution via Dropbox.

The only thing people have to be careful of, is passing the images to others (such as newspapers, model agencies etc) for print as if they own the copyright. They don't - only the photographer can grant permission. But the model and MUA can put them on their own website, FB etc no problem without seeking permission.