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Shooting TF: Expectations and agreements

By Russ Freeman, written 1362323268

What is TF?

TF/TFCD/TFP/Trade/Collaboration is, simply, where everyone contributes their time to a shoot in exchange of images. See our glossary of terms for more industry acronyms.

It is not working for free! It’s everyone’s expectation that they will receive images that improve their existing portfolio and the images are the payment for their time.

Check out How to Arrange A Successful and Stress-Free Trade (TFP) Shoot posted on The Purple Blog. This guide is essential reading with practical advice and essential tips to help you arrange successful trade shoots and get the most out of working this way. 


Good communication is vital. Being clear and leaving nothing to interpretation is probably more important with TF because there is so much variance in "you'll get some images". You need to know what each other wants and expects from the shoot.

Use mood boards, shoot plans to agree on what sort of images you will be shooting. Get each other's phone numbers so if either of you can't make it you can call. Always be as communicative as possible. Don't leave anything to guesswork or assumption!

Please always keep communications on PurplePort rather than using email, text or Facebook. It really helps admin sort out what's going on should things go badly. Here's why we ask you to keep all shoot communications on PurplePort.

What is my contribution?

Be sure you know what your contribution to a shoot is. If you are a photographer and planning to pay the model’s travel expenses then it’s advisable to determine what those expenses will be prior to arranging the shoot.

If you are a model then make sure you know whether hair and make-up will be provided by you or a Make-up artist. Ensure you know who is supplying the outfits and any accessories or props needed.

If you can't make a shoot or change your mind let the others know as soon as possible. There is no shame in changing your mind so don't make excuses, just say you changed your mind. Not turning up will harm your reputation.

How many images are provided, and are they edited?

Be clear and upfront about how many images you expect or will supply from the shoot. It’s best to get some kind of agreement before committing to a shoot because if everyone expects something different then it may result in a bad feeling.

Be sure to agree whether the images will be edited or unedited.

A photographer delivering no images from a TF shoot is simply not acceptable. A model is trading his/her time in exchange for photographs, not working for free, so they need to get some kind of payment and will be within their rights to demand payment if no images are forthcoming.

What size images are provided, and will they be watermarked?

Images can generally be generated in whatever size is needed and it takes almost no extra effort for a photographer to generate small, web-sized images as well as full-sized images. Agree on the sizes of images that will result from a shoot.

Web sized images are practically useless if you want a printed portfolio so bear that in mind when negotiating images sizes. Some photographers will happily supply A4 or larger prints so don't be afraid to ask.

Whether the images will be watermarked by the photographer needs to be agreed beforehand. Some watermarks are barely noticeable and some are incredibly distracting on the images.

Choosing images

As it's a collaboration where everyone has been involved in the creative aspects of the images and everyone expects images they can use for their portfolio it's a good practice to allow everyone involved to select images from the shoot.

This can either be by choosing them on the back of the camera, downloading and choosing the images on a computer or uploading a gallery and sending everyone involved in the shoot a link to it so they can choose images.

Agree on the time taken for delivering images

It's also important to agree a time frame for delivery of images. Waiting for two months for images when a model's hair was red but is now blonde will mean he/she will get images that no longer reflect his/ her 'look'.

An agreement to deliver Images to a model somewhere between a week and 3 weeks after the shoot is typical, however, some photographers will deliver more quickly than that, the vital point is to agree on a time-scale to deliver and receive images.

Are there any restrictions in image use?

Agree on any restrictions for the use of the images beforehand. It’s no good assuming that images will or will not be restricted or allowed to be used anywhere. Confirm it upfront.

Can the model edit the images? Most photographers do not allow others to edit their images and that includes cropping watermarks off! If you have got some images from a photographer then ask them if you can edit them. Do not assume that you can!

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