It’s something that every photographer and model needs and has in common- a strong portfolio displaying their best work. As each photographer and model grows in their skills, there’s always a need to keep their portfolio as up to date as possible, and that’s where the two intersect and benefit, and the concept of a TFCD session comes in.
A Time For CD (TFCD), or Time for Print (TFC), session is where a photographer and model collaborate on a session, with each giving of their talents and time to create works that benefit both, with no money typically being exchanged. Considering that each of their fees can be quite expensive for tight budgets, it’s easy to see that it’s an attractive option especially for upcoming models looking to build a portfolio.
As a photographer I have certainly done my fair share of TFCD sessions as I keep my portfolio up to date to match my current skill set and style. Needless to say, over the years I’ve gained more experience and started investing more financially into my TFCD sessions, and as a result, I’ve become more selective as to the models I work with.
While I can’t speak for every photographer, here’s some advice for models looking to work with photographers that will help increase their chances of finding a successful TFCD collaboration.
- If there is a particular photographer you would love to work with, there is never any harm in contacting them and offering to model for any TFCD sessions that may have planned for the future, remembering to send some portfolio images of yourself too. Always remember that being professional in your communication does matter and gives them your first impression of you. That said, not every photographer is open to doing TFCD work and if so, will turn you down, so don’t take it to heart but do take comfort in that you’ve set a good impression in an industry that’s run on word of mouth.
- If you find a photographer open to doing a TFCD session- awesome! Ensure you have worked out the terms of your session: location, time, concept, hair/makeup/wardrobe/shoes, how many images you’ll receive etc.
- On that last point, as a photographer I can say that you will not find a professional photographer who will give you all the images from your session, let alone the RAW files. That means: don’t expect to receive them or hassle your photographer for them.
- Your photographer should have a concept for your TFCD collaboration, and this is where you can really shine. Ask them for a mood board or talk to them about exactly what they have in mind in terms of styling, look and mood. Then it’s up to you to take that and interpret it, practising poses and facial expressions, and preparing for your session. This not only ensures you are ready to create the best images possible, but that you’re going to set a good working relationship with your photographer, and they will be more open to future collaborations or even referrals. You can’t be just a pretty face and expect to be a successful model.
- When it comes to session day: Be. On. Time! There are countless stories from photographers (myself included) who have organised a TFCD session, often investing their own money in hiring a makeup artist, organising a location and even buying wardrobe items, only to have their model be hours late or not show at all with zero communication. Don’t be that person- be professional.
- Don’t forget to bring your model bag with, just so that you’re as prepared as possible. Remember that the modeling and creative industry in general is based on word of mouth, so it only works in your favour to put your best self forward.
As a final word, being a photographic model is not about being a pretty face- it’s about having presence and your ability to capture the eye of the viewer with a still photo. Some models are lucky and have that ‘it’ factor come naturally, others may have to work to discover theirs. Whichever it is for you, just remember that it is likely that exact essence that a professional photographer will want to work with most and that the way you conduct yourself as a professional will ensure that they’ll want to work with you again.