There are many aspiring models out there, but only so many modeling jobs available. One way to rise above your competition is to be able to present a stellar portfolio. Unfortunately, the professional photography sessions you need to accomplish this can be prohibitively expensive. So should you give up your dreams that modeling may be one of money making ideas perfectly suited for you?
Well, don’t give up your modeling ambitions yet. It turns out that there is a way to build your portfolio for free. The method used by insiders to circumvent portfolio costs is through a practice known as TFCD–and it can work for you too.
What is TFCD?
TFCD stands for “Time for CD.” It’s also known as TFP (Time for Prints), TFDL (Time for Downloads) or, most simply TF. It’s a practice in which models pose for photographers in return for free photos from the session- either or a CD or prints or available for download. Both parties benefit. The photographer gets a model for no cost, and the model gets his or her portfolio-quality shots for free. Win-win.
Choosing a Photographer
When you search online and on modeling message boards for TFCD opportunities, you’ll find quite a few. So how do you choose?
First, check out the photographer’s website and online examples of his or her work. Don’t be swayed by his professional status; you can find fantastic, imaginative work from an art student and sloppy, pedestrian shots in a professional’s image bank. Look for work that grabs you; in the end, talent is what matters. Search for the type of modeling opportunities that interest you, but don’t hesitate to try something new; you never know when you might find a niche you can make your own.
Once you have a photographer or two in mind, check out his reputation online. Look for complaints (from models or customers), scam reports, and don’t hesitate to do a criminal background check. If you’re satisfied that this is someone you wish to work with, contact her and discuss your mutual terms. If at any time, you feel uneasy, pay attention. Not everyone is trustworthy, and often your intuition catches little inconsistencies and worrisome characteristics that your conscious mind misses. It’s always ok to back out and try another photographer.
One caveat: you’ll see TFCD ads suggesting that the model should be “comfortable with some nudity,” or stating that the project calls for “artistic nudes.” Chances are, the photographer is not planning to recreate “Odalisque.” All things considered, your photos are more likely to lean towards the tasteless than the “tasteful,” and are headed straight to the Internet. Remember that it’s not necessary to have nude shots in your portfolio. Bypass these ads and find a more professional photographer, if you are not comfortable with nudity, or have the slightest notion that the photographer is not trustworthy.
Coming to an Agreement
Each TFCD session you do, whether with the same or a different photographer, will have a separate agreement. Typically, you’ll agree to use your photos only for self-promotion, while the photographer retains the copyright. Beware of photographers who offer to sell you the copyright to your shots so that you can sell them yourself; they have no value other than the purpose for which they were intended, and this is a scam to grab some of your money.
In most TFCD situations, you can expect to be paid in photos and only in photos. However, in some instances, you can negotiate to have some or all of your travel expenses reimbursed, or ask to be able to keep some of the clothing or accessories used during the session. Don’t be surprised, however, if you’re asked to bring your own clothing and do you own hair and makeup. Discuss in detail which outfits and accessories you should bring.
Many models like to bring a friend along, particularly if this is their first session with a particular photographer. Ask if your photographer has a problem with chaperones; most do not. If they do, then you may want to question their intention. And if you’re a minor, a chaperone, in the form of a parent or a parent-authorized manager, is mandatory.
Finally, stipulate that your photos be edited before you receive them. It’s tempting to just take a CD or download of the entire session at the end of the day; however, those unedited shots won’t be portfolio-worthy. Colors need to be adjusted, contrast manipulated, imperfections edited out and sizing corrected before your photos are all they should be. A truly professional photographer won’t ask you to take a heap of potentially substandard work; pride will require her to give you only the best. Make sure that’s what you get.
Making the Most of Your Shoot
Just as you expect your photographer to give your his best effort, he expects the same of you. Arrive on time, with all the necessary outfits and makeup. Do the best styling of which you’re capable. Follow directions, but don’t hesitate to offer your own suggestions. Relax, be imaginative and have fun; the best photo sessions are those in which the photographer and the model work together, inspiring each other to greater creative heights. Treat everyone with consideration and behave professionally at all times. Remember, as a model, you’re your own advertisement. People have connections, and people talk. The best time to start building your reputation as a pleasant, hard worker (the kind of model who gets agents and jobs) is now.
No matter how you look at it, TFCD is a win-win proposition. The photographer gets her shots (for promotion, stock photography, or a project) without paying hefty modeling fees, while you, the model get free, high-quality portfolio photos. But that’s not all. You also gain valuable work experience, the opportunity to learn more about the business, the possibility of meeting people who can be influential in your future career, a chance to grow artistically and an opportunity to dive into one of your favorite money making ideas at no cost. Try TFCD: it’s so much more than free photography.