For those of you reading this blog outside of the creative industry there is a thing called TFP. It means Trade for Print. This is an arrangement sometimes between model/photographer/creative talent for shoots. It is typically no exchange of fees for all individuals participating on a photo shoot. This arrangement works in the favor of future professionals who need content for their portfolios. There is a time and place when I feel it is beneficial and there is also a time when it is not beneficial. I want to start by adding I have personally done TFP and I made mistakes because I too was a newbie eager to build a name in the industry. I want to prevent those mistakes for you.
When I was new to set work I would follow and seek out the attention of photographers who made photos that fit my style. Joshua Eskridge was one of the most talented players who used The Beauty Patrol as hair/makeup team. He helped launch our popularity with the photographer community. I will always be grateful to him to what he taught us about photography. He is AMAZING! We did do some trade work but it led to many gigs that were paid. That’s a key component I want to cover.
Trade work should lead to paid work. It shouldn’t be long term with any one person. If you are only doing trade work with one individual and never get paid then stop to think how you are benefiting from the arrangement.
Trade work can fill a void. We needed more ethnic diversity in our portfolio so we recruited those types of models and did some trade. That work helps us position our portfolio to be more inclusive.
Trade work where someone profits but you are excluded is a sure way to get you less and less paid work. If someone has financial gains then everyone should be able to be compensated. This might be my opinion only but some compensation seems pretty reasonable in this case.
Fact: professional makeup and hair products are expensive and we need them need to sustain our kits. Kit fees can be requested to cover your product use even if you are donating your time. Parking fees/expenses associated with a shoot need to be covered by the client. At least don’t lose money by offering your TFP arrangement.
Lastly, make sure when you agree to do a TFP that you have some input on the outcome and usable images of your work. Close up beauty shots are best for your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to talk thru your expectations with the creative team to make sure this shoot is the best case scenario for your needs. Everyone using images on social media should be tagging the team that helped create the work. This is a big one that is often overlooked. Be choosy and don’t get trapped into being that artists labeled as “will do anything” at the expense of your livelihood. It’s ok to say NO.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts about TFP. I’m here to explain my position and point of view as a makeup artist.