What is TFP and what is a Test shot?
When a model collaborates with a photographer and neither are paid, that is known as trade or time for print (TFP) or test shot. Both the photographer and model get to experiment and perfect our skills. In return we build our portfolios. Free to subscribe to us!
The key to a successful TFP trade is for the photographer and model to bring equal value. You want a photographer willing to and able to provide you with quality work. Look at all of their work and ask yourself: do I want to look like that? Are these photos going to further my career or just gain me a few more likes on Facebook? Will this help me obtain an agent or modeling work?
You may get a lot of offers from photographers, but beware, as many will be amateurs and provide poor quality. A lot of times working for trade (TFP) with the best photographers comes at a price. They may have a very specific concept in mind that concept may not benefit your portfolio. Before you set an appointment, make sure you clearly state what you want out of the photo shoot and request that the photographer do the same.
To avoid uncomfortable situations be clear about your limits. I’ve only encountered one awkward situation where a photographer wanted to shoot something that I wasn’t comfortable with. Don’t comprise yourself, even if he is a great photographer.
Fortunately, when I started working I was able to locate a good photographer and become his “muse.” We would shoot four times a week from 11 a.m. all the way until 10 p.m, which helped me create a well-rounded portfolio. Free to subscribe to us!
I had limited resources, so I would do my own makeup, hair, and styling. I went to the Goodwill every Thursday for “Dollar Day” to buy my wardrobe for shoots. Months later I developed confidence, technique and a portfolio, so I could get an agent. Then I submitted to the Bella Petite Model search!
Versatility is key so you will want to create many looks from high fashion, and commercial to editorial and lifestyle images.
Final Thoughts on keeping your book fresh and up to date!
Once you have invested in yourself with sufficient time, effort and money you should have a well-rounded portfolio. At this point, it’s important to always approach modeling with realistic intentions have a plan. Educate yourself about the business and what you can do to become a petite model. Petite models have a tougher road ahead, so lay a proper foundation. Your portfolio is the first step!
The next step is to promote yourself and develop a network of resources. Get advice from those you know and trust in the business by networking. Continuously remove your weakest photos as you replaced them with stronger ones and, ultimately, tearsheets.
Narrow down your selection to a variety of looks, including high fashion, lifestyle, editorial and beauty. Select your strongest pictures and proceed to get them printed. Get a 8×12 size portfolio or book. You can find them for about $9.00 dollars at Michael’s or online.
Ultimately, you are responsible for creating a well-rounded portfolio, so select your photographers wisely. Strive for the next level. Treat modeling just like any other career.
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