There isn’t a model, makeup artist, or photographer in the business who is unfamiliar with the industry acronym TFP- Time For Print. To those not in the industry, time for print represents a professional exchange of services and talents between the various members of a photo shoot’s creative team. Generally speaking, models will pose in exchange for copies of the final photographs, and in turn, photographers go unpaid but are able to build their portfolios. The same goes for the makeup artists, stylists, producers, etc.
The letters TFP may generate a wide array of emotions within those in the industry, as most professionals have had their fair share of “bad experiences” with TFP shoots.
When money is not providing accountability, models may be unreliable, photographers may be sleazy, and agreements can go unfulfilled. However, ideally speaking, proper TFP shoots are indeed professionally secure book builders that result not only in beautifully established portfolios, but also rich learning experiences for everyone involved. How to behave on set, work in a team, refine your technique, contribute without over stepping, and follow an itinerary are all vitally important industry skills that only come with experience. Most importantly, receiving beautiful artwork as the end result, like a wonderful gift spawning from everyone’s combined talents, and utilizing it as a base to generate profitable future opportunities.
TFP shoots are like tryouts for the fashion big leagues, as artwork from the shoots are often sent as “auditions” to major magazines. National fashion publications charge a hefty fee for their contact info, but when you have it, making every shot count is crucial to impress an art director enough to procure yourself a shot at a published ad, spread, or even cover. Most are not aware that VOGUE only pays their models $150.00 to pose for covers, no matter how big of an “A-Lister” that model or celebrity may be. The point of gaining covers is not to be paid well, but the exposure and resulting advertising and credential one procures. Should Anna Wintour’s office call you requesting your participation with a cover, would you turn it down just because you didn’t think the pay was good enough? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Industry standard requires a minimum of three published, for–print editorial covers for a photographer/ model/ talent to be considered “professional.” So a photographer, for example, profits immensely from a portfolio featuring their work on covers as aspiring models will therefore book with their hoping to land a cover for themselves. Likewise, models get paid higher rates when big name clients contact that model’s agency needing a well-known, recognized model to showcase their brand’s products, fashions, or companies. The same goes for hair and makeup artists, stylists, and producers. It’s like a glamorous money machine that runs on fuel called the aspiring and up-and-coming. Money is the last thing anyone makes in editorial work, at least initially, but as the saying goes, “you must spend money to make money.” Once you have established a means of showcasing your talent, and properly networked into the right circles, you can sell that talent to the highest bidder.
As my godfather, Will Shively, always taught me, “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.” The 2012 STALEY DESIGNS BookBuilder shoot brought together a team of 30 Columbus based talents to create editorial worthy fashion photography with the intention of shopping the images to various major magazines, seeking a spread in an upcoming issue. As the shoot’s Creative Director and photographer, it was my responsibility to ensure all parties remained on task, the itinerary was followed, and the aesthetic vision and standard of the photography was maintained throughout. From beginning details to finished product, it is all about assembling, elevating, motivating, and guiding the team. The success of the shoot was beyond the beyond, shooting 18 looks on 6 models in full hair, makeup, and styling changes in less then 8 hours. Here i