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From OMP's Models seeking Advice:

Hi there,

Just wanted to make a comment on people only wanting to do TFP. The only reason why I get paid now is because of those TFP shoots when I first started. Even now, of course I want to get paid for my shoots, but if the photographer has a great portfolio and I believe that our TFP will add something great to my portfolio, then I will definitely shoot with them. It takes a lot of work to make a great portfolio, and sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot! I wouldn't call a TFP shoot time for prints, I would call TFP a "trade for porfolio"! Have a great day!

Check out my site-

Thank you, Marie Cauchon; that is the best explaination of a TFP shoot I have heard! I as a photographer recieve emails from new models all the time. The second question they ask after am I interested in shooting them is,
how much am I going to pay them. I am sorry, but with out a little experince and a great portifolio it is hard for someone to convince a client to hire a rookie model, let alone to get a photographer to pay you for a shoot.
Never look at a TFP shoot as a bad thing, you never know who you might meet on the way up that will be able to help you out down the road and the experince that you gain will help you out more than any small monatary gain that you might get in the short term. Without experince in front of the camera you will always be a rookie.
"Trade For Portfolio" is a better name for TFP shoots. Happy shooting, Peter Robinson, OMP#25603.

I agree, totally.
I started out, ONLY doing TFP's (sure I would accept Pay, but TFP is what I wanted to do). I had a regular job, and would fit shoots into my schedule...

I have built a great portfolio since that time! I have been on OMP now for about one year... I have honestly met most of the photographers that I have shot with, from OMP.

I also agree... If a photographer is great enough (and my bills happen to be working out right with my bank acct - lol) and I think that I can greatly benefit from a shoot... I'm up for it!!

TFP's are a GOOD THING!! They give everyone experience!
So, to recap.. I totally agree with you, Marie

Hi David,

What a surprise! I didn't expect a serious discussion, but welcome it. You're right, TFP is a touchy subject. I happen to enjoy it and encourage it. Others say I'm taking money out of their pockets. Some say it's unprofessional, and some people swear by it. Who knows what's right or wrong? I guess most of the people who only shoot TFP wouldn't normally pay a model anyway, so they'd move on until they find someone.

My feelings on the whole thing are these. I'm an artist and through the years I've gone to school or I've privately paid models for portrait work and figure work. Practice, practice, practice. You are so right. These models don't make a lot of money, and I sure couldn't do what they do. They sit still for 30 minutes or more at a time, God bless 'em. They call themselves 'artist's models' and come in every shape and form. Yes, I get paid shoots, and yes I'm with an agency, but my most fun and frequent shoots are just plain old TFP. In those cases I think of myself as more of a 'photographer's model'. It's just the way I think. I get paid with prints or CD's and have fun meeting new like-minded people... whether we use a paint brush or a camera, we're all artists at heart.

TFP is mostly about bringing something to the table and a mutual exchange. I feel like I've worked hard to prove myself on OMP getting as diverse a portfolio as possible. Photographers like my ideas and they like having a model with a different look/maturity to add some extra dimension to their portfolios. I'm lucky in that respect... I'm a little outside the lines (and have more lines... lol) When would I turn down a paid shoot? OK, example. A guy wrote to me a few days ago wanting a 'bottom model'. I have about the worst flat white-girl butt in the world. I told him I wouldn't be a likely candidate and wished him luck on finding a suitable one. He came back and asked if he could shoot my legs then. I asked him for some samples of his work, and he sent about 5 shots of girls showing off their rear ends in various stages of undress. He wants to hire me for half a day. I'm going to turn him down. I can't see the point, even for the money.

On the other hand, I got two offers this week from the website Fine Art Folios for fine art nude work. I've examined both of their samples and portfolios... and am I going to work with them? Yes. I like their work very much... they're not too far away.... and they're both asking for TFP. I'm also working for lots of my photographers a second and even a third time, but oftentimes get my travel expenses. After a year of doing straight TFP, I started examining how much train fare is (I don't drive over here). It can cost about £45 to get to a town further out than London (that's roughly about $60-65) I began suggesting to photographers that they pay my travel, and so far so good. Most of them are happy to... some I don't even ask, they just offer. I'm going to Belfast for a third time by plane to work with one of my photographers next month. It doesn't cost me a dime and I get a day out and usually some terrific shots for my book... with clothes on! ... and he's just informed me that one of our photos (I was wearing a seamstress's creations) might be featured on the cover of a Dublin Magazine... so hey hey!

When will I consider myself too professional to accept TFP? Hmmmm good question. I guess when I reach my goals/dreams (catalog work or an editorial campaign)... there's always hope my look might please someone with deep pockets Maybe I'd feel like I've played enough or hopefully I'd just be too busy. I can't really see giving TFP up for good... unless I get so old I end up only posing for pics like Bob Cooley's church lady!!! LOL (I've been practicing that look in the mirror... haha)

Anyway, guess I've tested the capacity here too! I can't ever seem to keep an answer short. I gotta tell you, I love OMP. It's the best site to Network from, and now by word of mouth I'm getting referrals from outside the net... as the youngin's say.... KEEWWL!!!

Nice 'chattin' to ya, David! Anyone else want to jump into the discussion?