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TFP Meaning- What Does it Mean? How Is It For?

TFP Meaning – What Does it Mean? How Is It For?

TFP shoots are a great way for those wanting to try out new photography techniques or to help you build up your photography portfolio. In this guide, you’ll learn all about the TFP meaning, what it is and how you can use it to benefit yourself, as well as everything you need to know about it and TFP photo shoots.

What Does TFP Mean?

TFP is a common photography and modeling term which stands for Time for Prints. It can also be known as Trade for Prints, Time for Portfolio, or trade work, but they all mean the same thing.

TFP is normally something that is offered by photographers that are looking for work but without the cost. This means that everyone involved benefits from it as the model will receive the photos after the shoot, which they can then use in their portfolio. In this situation, nobody pays or gets paid and therefore, the photos or prints are received as payment.

TFP Meaning in Photography

TFP photography is where everyone works for free and the shots are received as payment, to be used in portfolios. It’s where a group of people will collaborate on a project which can include models, hair stylists, and makeup artists too. Not only is TFP good for models to use, but it’s also a great way for photographers to also build their portfolios.

What is a TFP Photo Shoot?

A TFP photo shoot may be offered if the photographer is looking to try out different types of photography and experiment with techniques too. It’s usually something that the photographer will instigate, but everyone involved benefits from it too. Just like any other photo shoot, it can involve a team of people including makeup artists, stylists, and hairstylists.

Even though nobody is getting paid for the shoot, it should still be treated as a professional shoot. This means that the photos should be fully edited, just like they would normally edit their work for any other type of shoot.

Usually, when sharing TFP photos, it’s expected to promote each other. As a collaborative project, that is unpaid, it helps to get the work noticed by people and can be used as free advertisement. This is why it works well for both the model and photographer, as both people in the project can massively benefit from it, as well as use it in their portfolio.

Why Are TFP Shoots Good for Portfolios?

TFP shoots are a great way to not only build your experience and skills and to try out something new, but they can also be used to build your portfolio. Portfolios are very important parts of a lot of jobs and are a great way to show off your work.

They’re commonly used in photography and modeling, as a way to show what you can do and what you have done. Portfolios are then used for future work and jobs, to be able to prove this to them. They’re a great way of showing yourself off and the potential you have. 

So, why are TFP shoots good for your portfolio?

  • By organizing a TFP shoot, enables you to get creative and take a step back from the usual guidelines and paid gigs. It allows you to do what you want to do, get creative and show off your skills in a different way.
  • 63% of clients will judge you on your portfolio, before anything else. Make sure to keep this up to date and add in different types of photography too. By including TFP work, it shows how you can conduct the shoot yourself and shows off your creativity too. Make sure to include some TFP shoots in your portfolio.
  • They enable you to try out new photography techniques too. Get your creative juices flowing and show your passion, through the shoot. TFP shoots tend to be a less-pressured environment, as no one is getting paid to be there and a lot of it, is down to you as the photographer to decide on. So, this enables you to try out different skills and techniques, whilst you have free reign.

TFP shoots are great for everyone involved, you all get to be creative, try out new things and practice your skills too, so it benefits everyone. At the end of it, you both have work you can use for your portfolio and nobody has had to pay out for it either.

How Do You Put Together a TFP Shoot?

As the photographer of the TFP meaning shoot, you have most of the freedom and control over the shoot and how you want it to be. TFP shoots are a great opportunity, so you don’t want to let it go to waste. It’s something that needs some thought and creativity, so you can make the most of it. Below, are some things to consider that you may need for your TFP shoot.

Hair and Makeup

Although it’s not needed, having a hair and makeup artist on set, may improve your shoot. They can help to create different looks for the model, to suit the vibe of the shoot that you’re wanting to achieve.


Again, a stylist isn’t something that is needed, but they can definitely have a big impact on the TFP shoot. A stylist can be used to pick out different wardrobe options, depending on the mood and image you’re wanting to achieve on the shoot.


Of course, you will need a model for your TFP shoot, however, you want to consider what type of model you’re wanting. Although they are working for free, you want to make sure you get the right model for your shoot and be able to achieve the looks you’re wanting to.

Networking with all of these kinds of people can help you towards a TFP shoot. It may be that they need your help in a TFP shoot or you need theirs, but there are a great variety of people to have close networks with, within the industry.

As well as knowing the right people to help you with your shoot, you also need to think about the logistics of the shoot. Below, are some key points to remember and consider when it comes to putting together a TFP shoot.

Costs and TFP Meaning

One very important thing to think about is the costs of the whole shoot. You need to remember that you’re not getting paid for the shoot and therefore making no profit from it. Although this is great, the costs of everything else need to be thought about. You have equipment and studios to hire alone, so who pays for all of this?

You may decide that it’s to be split between you and the teams involved, so it’s fair, but be prepared that some may not be willing to pay for it. Depending on how much you make as a model, this is something to check when picking out your team and make sure everyone is happy to do this.


You need equipment when it comes to any shoot, including a camera, lighting, and the studio. Make sure that these are all things that you are able to get hold of, before committing to the shoot. Without these, there is no shoot! Also factor in the costs of these too.

Share Inspirations

Once you’ve got your team in place and costing are all agreed upon, it’s time to think about your inspiration for the shoot and discuss this with the creative team. It’s ideal to let everyone involved share their creative thoughts, to help piece the shoot together. Everything needs to be covered from the theme of the shoot to styles, lighting, and location. Mood boards are a great way to express your thoughts and build the shoot from this.

How Many Images?

Finally, you need to decide on what a fair number of images or prints are going to be done. As you’re all working for free, you need to make a decision together, as to how many images everyone gets and how the images will be chosen.  It’s best to all be open with each other and you can also state that any additional images, can be purchased from you, alongside the shoot.

Remember that TFP meaning and shoots benefit everyone involved as they all use it towards their experience and portfolio, so even though you may be the one running the shoot, there are others involved too. Make sure they’re included in decisions but also make sure they can pay towards the costs of it too.

TFP Agreement

Even though no money is exchanged for the work on the shoot, it may be a good idea to still have an agreement in place for it. This way, it makes sure that everyone is on the same page, expecting the same thing, and agrees to the terms of the shoot and how the images can be used after.

By having an agreement in place, if people agree to this, then you have evidence of it and they can’t say they didn’t know. As the person hosting the shoot, you’re always best to have an agreement in place.

The TFP agreement should reflect the project so you want to make sure it has all the details, that relate to the specific project. This can include things such as splitting the costs and how much these are.

As well as costs, you also want to state clearly how the images can be used. As the photographer, they are your images, and therefore, you can state how you want them to be used. Consider things such as social media usage and a no-filter agreement. 

The TFP agreement is a great way for you to state everything you want and make sure that the rest of the team for the shoot agrees with it. By having this in writing and agreed, if anyone then turns back on it, you have this as proof. You can also get a lawyer to check over the draft agreement too, to make sure it’s all legally in place as an agreement.

Conclusion for TFP Meaning

So, in this guide, we’ve learned about the TFP meaning and how it can be very useful to not only photographers but to others working in the arts too. It’s a great way to build up your experience, skills, and portfolio, whilst being able to have free reign of the shoot and show off your creative side too. It also gives you a chance of networking and meets others, you may be able to return the favor in the future too.

The photography and art world can be very competitive, so doing some TFP shoots can help you in the long run by adding it to your portfolio and showing this off to others. For more tips about learning modeling and building your modeling portfolio, consider joining a modeling course or working with a coach.


Blogger and fashion enthusiast for 20 years. Experienced runway and commercial model located in Los Angeles. I love creating helpful content and sharing with the world. Reach me out for any questions or feedback.

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