Monday, February 28, 2011


The Infamous TFP.

I first heard about these terms on and this is what they mean:
TFP= Trade for Print
TFCD= Trade for CD images

For people that aren't aware of what this means:
In the world of the arts, and when you don't have a lot of money, someone, somewhere, somehow came up with this 'TFP' idea. 'TFP' is an inexpensive way to 'trade' your services with someone else for photography prints that will benefit everyone involved. For example, if you are a model and you like a certain photographers' style, you could approach that photographer and let them know what concept you'd like to create with them on a 'tfp' basis. It's always a 50/50 chance. They could say yes, could say no: All you have to do is ask.

TFP helps you build up your portfolio with images that will benefit your portfolio while you network and collaborate with new people within the industry. Whether you are a makeup artist, hairstylist, model, wardrobe stylist, videographer, photographer, dancer, artist, etc., every one in the arts is capable of building their portfolio with this method.

Every one has the capability to do 'tfp' but not every one wants to participate.

Some people in the visual arts industry are more interested in working their passion full time so they charge for their services. TFP may not be to their liking. Some people trade for prints simply for the love of the arts, for the passion, and to better their skills each time they work with someone new.
Either way, you do what works for you to get your portfolio correct.

For me, tfp is the reason why my portfolio is slowly looking more to my liking and it is the reason why I have become a perfectionist with my craft. Working with different photographers has helped me as a makeup artist understand light values; when to increase the opacity in concealing blemishes on skin, when to decrease the tonal value in contouring for certain skin tones, how to create the illusion of obliques on untoned skin, when to work with gold reflectives or silver reflectives in certain lighting; soooo much is in this itty bitty head of mine after practicing and practicing for years with different people.

One photographer I worked with linked me up with a hairstylist, that hairstylist linked me to a film production, the producer of that film production linked me to an artists agency, and badda bing, badda boom. TFP can get you connections you didn't know existed all simply from taking a chance and working with new people.
I don't look down on tf, it helped me grow as an artist and as a person.

In tfp, you also have the right to say NO if the concept makes you uncomfortable or if the concept does not work for your portfolio. I have had a few people ask me to help them on a tfp basis. I honestly don't mind helping people but I don't say yes to everyone and I don't feel obligated to anymore. If people ask me to apply makeup for over 20 models alone, or asking me to apply makeup on certain body parts, or is asking for a complete body paint makeup that may take me over 3 hours to complete, or if the concept just doesn't excite me, I will say no and I am ok with saying no.

There are times when you need to know and show your value and worth as a budding artist; saying no to a potential client does not make YOU a bad person no matter what other people may say to you. Even if it is someone you have been DYING to work with them for years, even if that person may take you alittle bit closer to your ideal career, even if it is your best friend, you always have the right to say NO and you should always put yourself and your best interests FIRST.

At first, I thought 'TFP' was a Chicago thing;
later I learned 'TFP' is a global thing.

When I travled to New York, people I encountered were happy to do TFP all day, all the time; they understand that the pay will come when it's meant to come and it's nothing to really worry about. Now don't get me wrong, I still love Chicago! Some fashion people in Chicago need to understand if the concept will benefit everyone's portfolio's (mua's, hair, wardrobe, photographer, etc.) then there really is nothing wrong with tfp. The GREATEST people in the fashion industry STILL do tfp all around the world. I've been recently talking with talents over in the UK, they understand the concept of TFP and have no qualms about it.

All careers are a learning process but you have to be willing and open to trying something new if you'd like to mature in your career. It's better to try new things on a freelance/free basis rather than to discombobulate a paid shoot and never hear from a client again.
Never stop growing.
Never stop learning.

In my opinion, tfp is a benefit; it's the time to try new things, work with new people, try new concepts, build teams, build friendships and network.

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