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TFP session – what does it mean

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And now some interesting information about TFP (Time For Photo)

TFP session – what does it mean
A TFP session is a benefit exchange session. It is worth remembering, especially if you have associated the abbreviation TFP so far only with “free photos”




1. What is a TFP session

TFP comes from a time when digital photography was still in its infancy, and photographers were giving away their work in the form of prints, not digital media.

Models and photographers have always liked working together in barter. In the case of TFP, the point was that the photographer could check the equipment or some settings and gave FEW photos to the model for her to show off at the agency. Literally a few – 2 or 3, not 30.

TFP is an almost enigmatic abbreviation that appears not only in groups devoted to photography, but also in the advertisements of people not related to taking photos, but rather looking for someone who will take these photos for them … for free łumacz Let’s explain once and for all what this means a magic shortcut and why photographers get so upset when it is abused in their advertisements.

TFP is mean Time For Prints / Time For Pictures, so literally translated – “time for photos”. As part of the barter exchange, both parties have the opportunity to expand their portfolio and enrich their experiences. Both the model and the photographer should be able to mutually benefit from the session.

It should also be remembered that TFP sessions do not differ much from commercial sessions, i.e. paid sessions. This means that both parties are obliged to cooperate at the highest level, fully committed and to treat each other professionally. In a perfect TFP session, both sides offer something from each other and receive the same in return.


2. TFP is an exchange of benefits, not a free session!

The exchange of benefits is probably the best term I could find for TFP cooperation. It’s a bit more modified barter – both sides offer something on the same level. They both give something and receive the same amount in return. So if someone asks to take pictures and is, say, a normal average person, and the inquiry is directed to a reputable photographer, it is probably not the same level.

This works for all configurations. A professional model will not agree to the sessions of a novice photographer who bought a camera yesterday and the make-up will be done by his friend, who, after all, paints herself every day, so she knows how to make up a model. No, she doesn’t know, because an amateur never knows the tricks of stylists who specialize in make-up for photo or film sessions.

3. What is not TFP?

Sometimes it happens that someone composes an advertisement in which he wants the photographer “to take photos in the highest quality and professionally processed his cafe, completely free and on the TFP basis”. The main principle of TFP is that each party will gain similar benefits. However, analyzing this advertisement, we can conclude that the client will gain much, much more, and will use the photos for commercial purposes, which will bring him measurable, financial benefits, and he does not really offer anything. In TFP, each party should spend the same amount of time, skill, arrange the location, etc. The example coffee shop owner simply wanted to take pictures at cost and at the expense of others.

4. Who is attending a TFP session?


One of the people who participate in TFP is, of course, the photographer. He provides photographic equipment, he should prepare an interesting idea for the session, so that each TFP participant could include something unusual in their portfolio.

Photographers who participate in TFP often want to refresh their portfolio or pursue a non-commercial art project. Therefore, he will need other people to help him make it real in exchange for photos, and also be able to put it on his website to advertise himself.


photographers Assistant

We often use an assistant in our sessions, who takes care of providing the camera ready for photos, changing the lens, and ensuring that all equipment is on time. It also helps with setting up lamps, changing backdrops, measuring light and many other very helpful jobs. It is also one more pair of eyes that will not miss the fact that the clothes fit well on the model, it takes care of the model’s well-being, for example by giving her a warm jacket during her breaks when photos or videos are taken at low temperatures.

Makeup artist

For a makeup artist, one of the most important issues is the model with a healthy complexion and photos that would show the makeup that she made. If a photographer has an idea for a black and white photo shoot, he should inform the make-up artist or make-up artist about it so that they prepare a concept that will work well in these colors. If we do not do this, the work of the make-up artist may be wasted if she creates a colorful make-up full of colorful shades.


The model or model who is attending a TFP session takes their time to receive photos in return. Thanks to them, they will be able to build their portfolio, which will be a bargaining chip in various agencies.

5. Do we need a contract to execute TFP sessions?

Sometimes there are situations when one of the TFP participants, after the session is finished and the photos are processed, for some reason does not agree to their publication. Then the sacrifice of all people can be in vain. Therefore, before proceeding with the action, we advise you to sign a contract in which you specify the terms of the project settlement.


6. With whom and why the TFP agreement?

In a TFP contract, you are one of the parties, that is, the photographer or model. You both want to write a contract so that you can easily use the photos taken during the joint photo session. Neither party is the ordering party and does not hire the other party to perform the session.

– The TFP agreement should also include provisions specifying the course of cooperation.

In most cases, photos will be used only to present your talent on internet portals. Sometimes at exhibitions and printed portfolios. The exploitation fields for the use of photos can be freely modified.

To conclude a contract correctly, all you need is your name, surname and signature at the end of it, but since you are already signing the contract, it is worth specifying your personal data in as much detail as possible. This will help identify in case of – knock on – a later conflict.

– Model’s rights and obligations under the TFP contract

When we know what for, for whom and whether we have to pay for the service, the time has come for the model’s rights and obligations.

The basics will be here – such as the obligation to pose, following the suggestions of the photographer, and the prohibition of transferring the contract to another model as a replacement.

It’s not everything. The model will not miss a commitment not to change her body until the photo session. It wouldn’t be too interesting for you to radically change your appearance once the photographer has an established vision.

Sometimes it happens that during the session there will be products available that the model does not want to identify with. These can be specific brands or types of clothes. Add a provision that obliges the model not to raise any objections to this.

– Remuneration for the parties to the contract

The photo session is free of charge. Each party undertakes to perform one service in return for another.

The model and photographer agree to bear their own costs


7. What I need to know when I’m a model looking for TFP

Respect other people’s work and time

Experience is valuable, but freshness is sometimes just as valuable 🙂 Remember that when you start your adventure with modeling, you have a unique chance to attract even the most experienced people with your beauty. If you take it seriously, your portfolio will grow rapidly.

However, you must bear in mind that not all photographers are willing to collaborate on a TFP basis (term explanation below). A photo session requires preparation, a lot of work and time – not only a photographer, but often also make-up artists and stylists. It is very important that you are aware of this – it is the basis of a fruitful and pleasant cooperation.

8. Is everyone a good model

You have to realize this as soon as possible: a woman / man standing in front of the lens does not have to be a model, just like a man / woman holding a camera in his hand – a photographer.

If you are looking for a model on Model Portals, I will worry you. The owners of over 90% of profiles are amateurs of free sessions who will never become professional models.

You have to separate people with potential from them – but it’s not that simple. After a few years of working as a professional photographer (because that’s what I make my living on), after a few photos, I can see if a girl can pose and if she has any experience.

An interesting practice is to meet before the session and arrange all the details; if during the conversation you feel that you are dealing with a complete amateur who is comfortable with every idea, let it go. You need to be predisposed for photo modeling, unfortunately not everything can be learned, a selfie spout is not yet posing.

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