A Word About TFP

For those out there who have never heard the term TFP it stands for “Trade for Prints” (also sometimes called TFCD).  This is a term photographers have used with models and other talents (Stylists & Make-up Artist).  This is when a photographer wants to collaborate with another and that instead of payment printed photos or CDs are exchanged.  The practice has been around for a long time and it’s a good way for all parties involved to get good images to be used for portfolios (print or web).VonRBuzard_Britt-040720001

I myself do TFP from time to time and would like to do them more often but am held back due to lack of funds or time available.  “But wait a minute; didn’t you say that you exchange images instead of money? So how can a lack of funds be a reason for not doing TFP?”  Well, even though no money exchanges hands for the Model, Stylist or Make-Up Artist, I myself still have expenses putting together one of these sessions.  First, just because I may have a TFP agreement with the model, doesn’t mean that the Make-up artist is working for prints, that person also has expenses and may need to be financially compensated.  Second, there can be either travel expenses or studio rental time involved. And third, the time that I am shooting for free is time I could be shooting for a paying client.  These costs go both ways, we all need to eat after all.

 So why do TFP sessions? Well, sometimes the costs are worth the effort.  Clients aren’t always interested in paying for us to create works of art. Sometime we have a vision that we are just itching to let loose.  And sometimes, sometimes…it’s Fun.

In fact I would like to change what TFP stands for…from now on how about we call it…


I mean, why not? These photos are supposed to be about US, about OUR vision, about photos the WE want to make.

But, at the same time, you know what isn’t very much fun? Models that show up late or unprepared or don’t show up at all (same goes for photographers who stand up models). Studio time costs money and wasting money is never fun.  Personally, I don’t find it fun spending time trying to decide what the model should wear. Did you ever notice a guy shopping with his wife/girlfriend as they decide what looks good; do they look like they are having fun? No. When I schedule a TFP session I tell the model what I want them to bring for my vision and anything else is up to them for their vision.  You know what else is fun? Talking, I enjoy discussing what the session will be about and how to achieve that goal.

So, with that in mind, let’s have some fun making Great Photographs

Von Buzard
Model Mayhem Profile


About vrbuzard

Photographer of table top and product for catalog and web. Most recently working on photographing cycling races
This entry was posted in Business, New Work and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Word About TFP

  1. Tim says:

    “And third, the time that I am shooting for free is time I could be shooting for a paying client. ”

    If TFP = shooting for free, you’re doing it wrong. It’s not a problem with TFP. It’s a problem with your ability to work out an agreement that benefits both parties.

    Also, if you could spend that time shooting for a paying client, why aren’t you? I suspect the truth is that you could be shooting for a paying client if you had one, but since you don’t, you’ve decided to shoot for free and call it TFP rather than not shoot at all.

    • vrbuzard says:

      Dude, relax
      I’ve been shooting full time professionall for just shy of thrity years, I shoot, for pay, daily. So yes, for me to take time doing a TFP (Trade for Prints), then yes, I could be getting paid but I accpeted a TFP session because I am hoping to get something that is more interesting (FUN) then what I might normally have shot that day.

      TFP, TRADE for Prints is common in the biz, we all do it. I like to think they are FUN shoots, but on occasion someone doesn’t show up, it happens. What I said, is that when that happens…It’s NOT Fun

      I’m sorry, but when I see an attack post like yours I gotta wonder, Who is this guy. We live in a creative community so why so much hate?

      Also remember that this is my blog, I could easily have not approved your comment, but I didn’t. I’m not looking to get into a war or words. I just want to get back to the assignment I’m currently shooting and maybe have some fun.

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