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Independent Modeling section navigation threads and main content area. All content is copyrighted, and may not be referenced without citing, and linking to, the source on our web site. All content, which includes modeling job leads,  is traceable, and we verify web traffic and the source of our information. Independent Modeling is a resource site for independent and agency-represented models who wish to enhance the marketability of their modeling careers, as well as have an advantage over limited models; those limited models being agency-only models who do not think for themselves, do not invest in their career, and allow modeling agencies to manage them, and to tell them what to do. Other limited models include models who try to put together competent professional modeling portfolios for free, using TFP, and who try to compete against professional models with cheap career tools. The independent models who use Independent Modeling are smart, professional models who know enough that to have an advantage over other models, that they have to invest in their careers. Independent Modeling is NOT a modeling and talent agency, and we do not claim to be. We do not directly refer models into modeling jobs for financial compensation, and do not represent models. Independent Modeling is not intended to be used for any advice, which includes legal advice, and any advice which can only be legally given by a licensed professional in a regulated profession. For information, and reference, only! Use at your own risk.

Time For Print, or TFP


Changing the business of modeling

Also known as Time For CD, or TFCD, although there are differences, and that is why we have a separate definition page. Please read both.

This is the main definition page on Independent Modeling for TFP/ TFCD/ SFP/ SFCD. Expanded definitions of these other terms are found on their dedicated definition pages, which we link to from relevant pages like this one.

Time For Print, or TFP, is the main term for professional collaboration between established professional photographers and models for work with no direct commercial value, and where neither directly made money from because it was not sold to any party. This was in the time before digital photography, where photographers invested in their portfolios and there was overhead into starting a career as a photographer, the barrier to entry being an affective way to ensue that most photographers were experienced professionals whom knew what they were doing, and the market was not glutted with amateurs. Because film and development was involved, and overhead on the part of the photographer, the photographer would spend money on the film and the development, and would pay the model in photographic prints for their time. Because the photographer was a professional who had an established portfolio, and was not in the market to invest in a portfolio, and the model was a professional model, who was established and did not need a portfolio, and both were usually paid for their work, there was not conflicts in their business, and the mutual pay cancelled each other out. Time For Print was neither a substitute for paying modeling work for a commercial client, nor was it a way for an aspiring model who needed a modeling portfolio to obtain one for free.
In later years, when digital cameras became plentiful and the overhead of photography was gone, the market became saturated with amateurs who tried to get into a business which they thought would be easy and low cost, and also models who figured that photography was cheap and expendable, and that they could get an effective modeling portfolio for free. This is common now, and the TFP concept was hijacked and changed from collaboration between established professionals to amateurs trying to get a portfolio for free. More often that not, TFP work became dangerous for models because it was done my amateur photographers who did not really know what they were doing; a lot of TFP offers are by horny older men who use photography as a way to shoot models in inappropriate poses and contexts for their own sexual gratification. Sadly, those pictures are forever, and the model finds out too late, after they are on the Internet, they those pictures, which are often also technically flawed and amateur, crippled their marketability as a model, and the damage cannot be undone. As a result, models who do a lot of TFP work often cannot compete with models who do not make that mistake.
With the advent of digital photography, too, the “print” in Time For Print was not longer digital, as most photographers gave the models their pictures in image files on a CD ROM, which is how Time For Print became Time For CD, and later, both terms described images being delivered in a variety of ways, from being transferred on a USB jump drive to being downloaded on a high speed Internet connection.
TFP should not be a common business practice for any professional photographer or model. It needs to be the exception rather than a rule. If it is a photography project with no financial backing, where no client is paying the costs, and it is not directly generating profit, and the photographer or model wants to experiment or try something new, then they should consider collaborating with other professionals in Time For Print, and only then when it does not conflict with their business, as time itself is often more valuable than money, as it certainly cannot be replaced like money can. Also, the time and energy spent doing TFP projects can take away from resources that can be used to find and book the work which is needed to generate cash flow and keep the business profitable.
Models and photographers who do TFP a lot often run themselves into the ground, working themselves to death with no money being made. Like the photographer who tries to sell photography by being the cheapest, they raise their overhead and run themselves out of business by not being able to turn a profit. There needs to be a balance for TFP to be worthwhile.
As a rule of thumb, TFP only works when it does not conflict with business or with booking paying work, and where both the model and the photographer mutually benefit equally; neither the photographer nor the model should be in the market, or need, what the other is selling.
Most professionals are too busy booking paying work to mess with TFP, and more often than not TFP is offered by amateurs who do not have a lot to offer anyone. As a result, portfolios made by Time For Print cannot compete with portfolios from professional photographers which models invest in, and the models who build portfolios through free work find out the hard way that they cannot compete with professional models who invest in professional, relevant portfolios. You only get out of your modeling career what you put into it, and the blind leading the blind is no way to be competitive.
Models who are independent and who seek freelance modeling work often market their modeling services to photographers, which is a long shot at best when there are models out there who will do TFP with them. Sure, if the model is an experienced professional model with a name in the industry, they could probably get a photographer to pay them if the photographer is new and is building their portfolio, but the bottom line is that no professional photographer is going to pay a model for anything unless they have a commercial job where they are being paid and they need a model, and in that case, the job would pay the model, and not the photographer directly. A professional photographer is going to have an established portfolio, and therefor will not be in the market for what the model is selling. Models who are trying to get professional photographers to pay them directly out of pocket to shoot with them are going to need a lot of luck, and this is not a good business model.
Of course, for high-risk modeling work, such as glamour, nude, fetish, boudoir, pin-up, alternative, modeling in skimpy bikinis, and modeling in provocative poses, where the model themselves are the product, more professional photographers might pay a model directly for shooting with them, but there is a catch, and a cost. High-risk is high-risk for a reason; it’s risky for any model to do. Most models who do high-risk work specialize in it, and accept the fact that it makes it more difficult for them to market themselves as a model, and to compete with other models. In a fashion, high-risk models make money by selling themselves short, or out.
You can see why TFP and collaborative work has no business in high-risk modeling work. Models have the most to lose in such work, and need to get paid if they do high-risk work!
Some photographers will try to get models to do TFP with them because, really, they are out to exploit the model, either literally with high-risk modeling work, or by getting them to work for free in a commercial venture where they are making money off of the model, either directly or indirectly. If they make money, so should you, and this also includes any kind of work done for “charity”. TFP also has no business being done in modeling event or marketing work. Lately, there have been unethical businesses which offer modeling jobs at retail sales events or other events, such modeling runway fashion shows, where “charities” are used as a way to convince the models to work for free. The bottom line is that, charity or not, if they make money, the model needs to make money. If it is a runway fashion show for charity, and the organizer is charging a cover or selling tickets, and they are making money, it’s not right for them to exploit models as free labor. Likewise, if the work is used to market a business, such as a promotional event for a retail store, and the store is making money from the event, the model needs to get paid! Models who are tricked into working for free this way, through “TFP” whether it is really TFP or not, do not last in their careers.
Time For Print is also used as a gateway into non-modeling work. A photographer will convince a model to do high-risk work with TFP to “test” them. They will then offer the model some money for adult work, which is not modeling, and completely conflicts with a modeling career (or, worse, the photographer gets the model to do such work for free, or with promised future compensation). As a result, the model is completely exploited, and their modeling career is destroyed.
There are even TFP offers where a photographer will get a model to work with them, for free, taking pictures of them in bikinis, for example, and the photographers turn around and then sell the pictures, leaving the models unpaid. A dangerous example is a tale of more than one photographer taking supposedly “safe” pictures of models in TFP work of the models in sexy poses and in bikinis, where the photographer then sells the pictures and uses them in a context which the model would have never agreed to. In these cases, the pictures were sold to adult businesses and 900 lines, where the pictures of the models were used to sell services which were not compatible with the modeling industry or a modeling career. As a result, not only did the models not get paid, but their careers were harmed, and there was nothing that the models could do about it because they had signed a release.
Never sign a release enabling commercial use or the sale of TFP images. Be specific about how those images will be used, and get it in writing!
If a glamour photographer is offering TFP, say no. If it is high-risk work, models need to get paid for the risk that they are taking. Don’t get taken advantage of. The results of TFP work should be as safe for a modeling career as possible. Remember: Mutually beneficial.

Evaluating Time For Print Offers
Who stands to benefit the most from the TFP offer? The model or the photographer? If one party stands to benefit more than the other, it is no longer TFP or a professional collaboration, and the party benefitting the most needs to pay the one ending up short.

The Risks Of Time For Print
Besides what we have already gone over, by far the greatest danger of TFP is that is devalues your brand as a business, and can directly undermine your marketability. If you market yourself as cheap or free, you are giving away the store, and your value in the industry is diminished.

See also Sex For Print (SFP) for the unethical, unprofessional, career-killing version of this.

11/02/12 - 11/03/12 - 11/08/12 - 11/21/12


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The agency way is no longer the only way of having a professional career as a model. There is no arguing against common-sense and proven business practices. Modern professional models think for themselves, network, and book work both as independent models and by using agencies as one of many sources of jobs. This is the future of the modeling industry.

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