In recent years more and more photographers, both beginners and photographers, receive different “work for exposure” offers or TFP requests from various people. But does it really worth your time and efforts?
Such things as TFP photography (means “time for prints”) has already existed for dozens of years, probably. And it was fine for a photographer to shoot someone or something as a part of his/her own sphere of interests or for portfolio purposes.
The same with “exposure”. This was pretty popular for beginners, as they could potentially be recognized or get some sort of advertisement of their services.
In modern days Internet has spoiled people. Free and easy access to information, media and data makes people get used to such an “easy option” for their needs. If the one needs an image, “go search for it and download”. Information? The same – Google will help you. Someone’s efforts, money, idea mean nothing.
Is TFP still a viable option?
Definitely YES. But there a some “BUTs”.
Due to increased popularity of social media people are hunting for some cool photos or videos. Everyone is swallowed with an idea to get more likes and followers. And the solution is pretty simple – if you need some nice pics, go get a photographer.
But why someone needs to pay if images can be downloaded for free? Or this photographer has posted a “search for TFP models”. I want it!
Unfortunately (or fortunately) it does not work this way. Try to think over “time for print” meaning. This is not just a simple giving up of photographer’s time for running and clicking the shutter button. It is a process of creation. Creation of some results that could potentially be pleasant both, for a photographer and a model.
TFP is a two-way process. A model gets some shots, a photographer gets images for his/her portfolio or art project.
In order to get pictures for free you can simply ask one of your friends with a smartphone. If you do not understand the result of a photo shooting, you can’t pose or you just “want some great photos, but do not know of what type” – the results will be the same as taken by your friend (in almost all cases).
And what about working for exposure?
This request is growing in popularity, especially from business owners. And this is even more outrageous.
If you are going to make money out of someone’s photos, why you do not want to pay at least some money to a photographer, even to the beginner, to make it properly. To make it comfortable for both parties.
Remember, in case of “exposure” shootings the photographer has the copyright in pictures that he/she took. Why I’m stressing on it, just because many of such “cooperations” have no agreement or release signed.
And for a photographer. Being exposed on a business page or a website will not bring customer to the photographer. First of all, because people visit those places to make shopping of goods. They will not pay attention to the photography. Or Instagram page. I doubt that it will bring you some benefits.
Why I’m covering this issue?
Just to clarify, some TFP or “exposures” are great opportunities for developing of skills, getting portfolio shots or some advertisement. But only few opportunities can exist among a huge variety of such requests.
You need to understand that photographer invests not only his/her own time, but also photography equipment. And such equipment is usually not cheap. For example, camera itself can cost USD 1000-3000 (or even more). Then goes the lens – USD 200-4000 (again, depending on the type). And flashes, accessories and so on. Each of those components has some resource or lifespan that it is capable to withstand. Some of it can fail even before.
After the shooting the photographer need to sort out your images, edit and/or retouch them. This is also a whole working process (especially if we are talking about portraits, fashion or product photography).
To edit photos photographer needs a computer or a laptop. Again, adding some extra value for the cost.
Also, there is no (and it shouldn’t be IMO) any 100% guarantee in regards the terms of delivery or some other things.
For example, if you’re placing a “free order” please do not expect that it will be delivered in a day or in a week. Photographer will either prioritize his/her current commercial work or a main job (if this is an amateur of beginner photographer).
Do not expect to get world-class quality of images. Especially if are talking about beginners or non-PROs. And you should not complain. Because you’re getting this job for free (if only you have agreed some specific terms or this is for the photographer’s reputation).
For models and business owners. Let us respect each other, and value our time and efforts.
All thoughts expresses are solely my own opinion and they can be different from yours. Any comments are welcome.