as the discussion about „TfP-Shooting” never really stops and I myself get confronted with it from time to time, especially when I publish a new series of pics (as it is the case right now), I want to write a couple of lines about it again. The last blog I’ve written was back in 2014 (Link) and I want to give you my current view on the matter and the things that have changed for me since then.
Please read about the definition, the comparison of input and output, etc. in the blog I’ve linked, I don’t want to make this blog any longer as it has to be ... 😉
I’m very well aware that some of you might take some of my statements in this text personally or think I’m arrogant for it, but be assured it isn’t meant that way. For those who believe it is, please consider my point of view for a moment.
In the 4 years that have passed since I’ve written the last blog, many things have changed. The commercial side of my photography has gotten way bigger, which means I’ve less and less time for my personal projects ... and at the same time the quality and with it the necessary input increased as well. As I’m shooting TfP only for my personal projects (it would be unprofessional to do so during payed work), the possibilities to work that way get less and less too.
If I find time for some personal projects, it is a priority for me to use this time well and do something “special”. That means, I take some time to plan the shoots, look for some great ideas, outfits, stylings, locations, ... and of course take enough time for the post-processing as well.
Along with all that additional input, my quality and my expectancies have risen as well, which led to me being more “finicky” with my team. One of the most important things is reliability (as I want to really do the shoots I plan), which is a problem with newcomers and/or “TfP-Models/Visas” sometimes. I don’t want to bitch around, but almost any photographer can tell you a story about a model or visa “whose grandma just died” or the “dog had an accident” ... experienced people are more reliable in general (at least that is my experience).
Another major point is, that I expect my team-mates (model, visa, MUA, stylists, ...) to be about as good in their field (posing, expressions, makeup-techniques, preparation, ...) , as I am in mine. That said, I think it is pretty clear that I don’t work a lot with newcomers anymore ... except if I really see something special in them ... maybe you’re just looking special, have some unique skills, have proposed a great idea, ... something. Another fact that reduces my shootings I do with newcomers is, that more and more professional people agree to work with me on free projects (and on a TfP-basis) ... which are opportunities I am more than happy to seize. As anyone can guess, it is way easier and gets mostly better results if you can do your work with an experienced and professional team.
How do you get your chance to shoot with me on a TfP-basis?
As I’ve stated before, I’m getting requests to shoot TfP mostly when I’m publishing a new series of pics. The lion-share via facebook and Instagram (as personal message or as comments to the pics) and mostly something along those lines: “hi, nice pics .... I’d like to shoot with you, cheers XXX” ... regarding this “bad habits”, I’ve already written a little blog (Link), and this is still the way I think about that.
I just expect someone who wants to work with me to take their time, really think about it, view my website/my portfolio, think about if my style is fitting their wishes, read a couple of my blogs (like this one) and write me a message in a way, so that I don’t have to stalk their social media channels in order to find a link to their page or portfolio (if at all existent).
And as I’ve written earlier as well: please think about what you want to shoot with me and let me know ... I don’t have time to come up with about 5 brand new shooting-ideas a day in case it might work out ... besides the fact that I don’t want my ideas done by another photographer in case it doesn’t work out (and yes, that happened to me already) ... 😉
Another possibility to work with me is of course if I find you. This is mostly the case if you’ve done some great pics with another photographer which catch my eye. My network is relatively good and I’m present on most common social-media channels, which is why I see (no exaggeration) hundreds or even thousands of pics a day. If I see something special and/or great, chances are good I’m writing to you and put you on “my list” ... another way to get on that list is if you’ve written me and I am basically interested to work with you, but it hasn’t worked out yet.
How I shoot
Most of the time (more than 90%) I shoot with a concept in mind. Of course there is enough room for improvisation during the shoot, but basically I want to work along the lines of the concept. This concept is made in advance with the team and everybody is invited to throw in their ideas (which I expect from everyone) ... most of the time this is done with moodboards or pics from other photographers as examples.
I almost always shoot with a team which at least consists of a VISA/MUA, sometimes a hairstylist, other stylists, assistants, ... which means spontaneous requests (like “free next Saturday?”) almost never work out ... 😉 If you want, you are free to bring a companion with you, as long as she/he doesn’t interfere with the proceedings ... and of course she/he runs the risk of being used as an assistant ... 😉
I only shoot with a shooting-contract with ALL teammembers. First and foremost I want to be on the safe side regarding the law, and secondly it is important to me that all the teammates have the same rights and possibilities to publish the pics made during the shoot ... those rights are basically non-commercial publishing-rights with the exception of self-promotion (which of course has to be commercial the second you are a professional). If you want some special additions to the contract, we can discuss them in advance. Of course you get a copy of the contract ahead of the shooting.
In a matter of a couple of days after the shoot you’ll get a rough selection from the shoot for you to preview. You then have the opportunity mark and comment the pics in my online-gallery and let me know which ones you like and which ones you don’t like ... and of course what is important for you to fix in certain pics. I grant you a right to veto any pics you don’t want to see published in advance (which I won’t post-process and publish).
Sometime later (and that can take a while – 3-4 months are a good estimate at the moment) I’ll publish the pics and provide them to you for your use according to our contract. At that point I’ve put in about 2-3h of post-production, which leads me to the newest addition to my contracts: Since the EU has implemented the Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the model has the right to demand the deleting of the pics with no reason at all. As this would not only cost me the time it has taken me for post-production but a damage in advertising-value as well, I’ve added a withdrawal clause which means, if you demand that the pictures have to be deleted you’ll have to pay me for it (at the moment this would be €450.—per pic).
As you may have guessed by now, it is (sadly) not possible for me to do lots of shoots on a TfP-basis ... and I mean “sadly” as I’ve been really lucky with newcomers a couple of times in the past and I lose those opportunities. On the other hand I really value my time and I don’t want to do projects which don’t result in the pics I expect.
If you want to influence the topics I write about, please drop me some lines and let me know what you want to read about, or which questions you want to have answered!
And as always, please let me know if you like this blog, like it, share it ... every feedback and all the help is very welcome and much appreciated!!