A photographer s guide to getting TF shoots

A photographer s guide to getting TF shoots
Posted on Thursday 30th of March 2017
Written by 0 comments • Read 2625 times • 5 minute read

The key word throughout this article is QUALITY if your work isn't good enough in the eyes of models and your peers you will not get TF work. 
If you cannot accept this simple fact - sell your camera NOW

What is Time For (TF)?
Quite simply, it is an exchange of time and skills between two or more parties where the objective is quality images for all concerned.

Why can't I get models to work TF with me?
First read this article which deals with your online identity - [a href="https://www.madcowmodels.co.uk/articles/78/A-photographer's-guide---What-do-I-need-to-do-to-get-experience-in-model-photography?.html"]Getting experience in model photography[/a]. Make sure you have addressed all the points in there before reading on...

Common Misconceptions
TF is a "free" shoot
NO, it's not and never will be free for anybody; to believe that is to devalue the skills of everybody involved.
TF shoots should be used to help a photographer build their portfolio
Not anymore, those days are long gone - if your portfolio isn't up to scratch you are going to have to pay for models.
All new models must work TF until they become established
NO, NO and NO again - if you can offer quality images and the model wants to work with you then fine. If not, take it as read that your work is not currently good enough and you will have to pay to work with them.
A TF shoot can be used for you to test your new camera/lens/lighting or can be used for you to experiment with a new style
NO - until you have demonstrable experience with that equipment or shooting in a specific style you will have to pay for a model's time.

How can I get TF shoots?
First off look at your own work with a critical eye and compare it to others who shoot similar genres
Is your work as good as or better? Ask for critique, message experienced models and other photographers and ask them to review your work. Practice, practice, practice and, until you can consistently take good quality images in your chosen genres do not read past this point.

Develop a recognisable style
Anybody can shoot glamour in a studio; set two lights at 45 degrees and blat away in machine gun mode... Boring, boring, boring and very few models will give up their time to have those images in their portfolios.
When I look through the image uploads here I can instantly recognise the work of 6 or 7 individuals without clicking on their images, why? because they are very good at what they do and their style stands out... It is no surprise that the very same people rarely pay for shoots; they work collaboratively with models and MUAs to continue producing quality work.

Is your photography good enough?
Are you sure?
100% certain?
Then read on...

Castings rarely work unless you are a well known photographer. Do a search on any modelling site and you will see every man, woman and their dog who call themselves a photographer are casting for TF shoots to build their own portfolios, test equipment, try a new style (all of the things mentioned above that I've said not to do). Your casting will just get lost amongst all the dross.

Reply to castings
OK this may seem obvious but - before you do hit the reply button, read the casting carefully - can you shoot the style being requested? Look at the model's portfolio, do they have "the look" to carry off the shoot requested? If you shoot glamour and they shoot art nude it is doubtful you will be able to deliver on your promise; conversely if I see nothing but glamour shots in a portfolio I stroll on by because I know I won't get the emotions for "my style" to benefit their portfolio (or mine).

Direct messaging works...
Use the search facility to find models looking for TF shoots in the genres you shoot, read their profile notes and look at the model's portfolio.
Can you offer them something they haven't already got? If you shoot cosplay, the model has ticked that genre and they don't have examples then that is something you can discuss with them.
Compose a message and tell them what you can offer, invite them to view your existing work, be polite.
If you get rejected make sure you respond to say, "Thank you for getting back to me". Do not take it as an insult and do not be insulting in return.
Go back to practising your craft and get better. I have been rejected (many times) by models over the years who have since messaged me asking for TF shoots.

Use the forums
Promote your images in "Share a Shoot", join in discussions, get yourself and your work known. At the time of writing the forums aren't the most active but there are plenty of lurkers - models and photographers - who read the threads and don't actively participate, more often than not these are your target audience.

I make no apologies for repeating my opening statement...
The key word throughout this article is QUALITY if your work isn't good enough in the eyes of the models and your peers you will not get TF work.
No amount of complaining or whinging in the threads will change that one single fact.
Get out there and GET BETTER!

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