Friday, 13 December 2013

TFP Definition

I was talking to a designer and stumbled into this phrase (again). TFP stands for "Time For Print" is a photography jargon meaning the model will get photo prints for their modelling time spent. This terms is now contemporary understood as more than one parties collaborate into a project where everyone is contributing and sharing the results mostly (but not limited) for their portfolios, and mainly in the photography industry.

What does it mean to photographers?

The second question is me asking myself, what does it mean to photographers? Note this question is significantly different to asking "what does it mean?" 

Before I started photography as a career, I have done a lot of TFP works. I collaborate with models for photoshoot and some of the enlarged prints are still sitting in my current portfolio box. If you are an amateur photographer, I see some immediate benefits for doing TFP works.
  • Meet great people
  • Better to shoot model than a mannequin, you get facial expressions from the model
  • Share ideas with different people and learn from each others
  • Occasionally, you may get unlucky sometimes to have to work with difficult model. The postive part though is you get to have a taste of dealing with difficult clients in commercial environment (if you are in pursuit to become a professional photographer)
  • Save some bucks for hiring professional models / MUA (Make Up Artist)
  • If you are shooting digital, a photographer's expense is negligible, so as model, but MUA will be... :P
  • No matter how green the model is, you will get a decent shot in your portfolio. (Of course subject matters still!!) The opposite would be a nightmare for models though.
As you can see, for photographers, your portfolio builds up very fast this way. For my records, I have done more than 100 TFPs and maybe approaching 150.

Friction Point

Then at some stage, as skills and experiences build up (hopefully), you start getting paid for shoot and you will have less or no time for TFP works. After about 2 years of shooting TFP or non-commissioned works, I started shooting commercials and work with professional models. Without over-generalization, this is my typical findings:-
  • Professional models are more responsive to photographer's instruction
  • I get good shots done in less time when working with experienced models
  • TFP shots generally can't be used for commercial purpose
  • I don't have much budgets in TFP. For commercials, I get to buy props or book a studio at client's expense

What If

What if I am now asked for TFP works, would I do it? If my schedule fits, the chance is I probably would. Many professional photographers out there still keeping up their learnings in photography. As time goes, we need to improve on our skills, creativity and inspiration.

The commercial and TFP shots could look different and maybe added to the portfolio in a different context. You learn something new everyday.