Man behind a camera

Time for Print (TFP) is a term used in many online photography communities describing an arrangement between a model and a photographer, whereby the photographer agrees to provide the model with an agreed number of pictures of the best photographs from the session and a limited license to use those pictures in return for the model's time.

This term is sometimes called Trade for Print, Test for Print or Time for Portfolio (abbreviated the same TFP). A variant of this arrangement is Time for CD or Trade for CD (TFCD). With TFCD, the selection of images is provided on a CD in lieu of prints. Sometimes communities use term TF* as a general referral since the same accepted rules apply.

However the most widely used term is Time for Prints or TFP. It is up to the included parties to agree in what form the results are issued to the model (as well as any other terms and conditions).

TFP benefits

If you want to become a model, TFP is a good place to start. It helps you to build up your portfolio, to get relevant experience, to acquire contacts, etc, etc. Whereas it's also advantageous for the photographer who can't afford paying professional models' rates.

Generally TFP is the domain of amateur photographers and/or beginning models, although many pros will do a TFP shoot with an amateur model (or vice versa) whose look or previous work the professional finds intriguing. That doesn't mean that outstanding work can't be produced at a TFP shoot: many amateur photographers are "amateurs" only in that photography is not how they pay their bills, and have talent and equipment equal to most professional photographers. Images obtained through TFP sessions are in many a model's portfolio and have earned many a callback from an agency or pro shooter.


All the terms and conditions should be agreed before a photo session. It should be clear what each party could expect from it. You could agree to do strictly TFP or, for example, a mix of TFP and pay shoots. It's also important whether model gets makeup, hairstyling, and fashion styling on a TFP, or not.

The number of pictures which the photographer will deliver to the model can range from a single photograph for the shoot up to six A4 prints for each hour that the shoot lasts. Speed of delivery can vary widely as well, from a CD burned at the end of the shoot before the model leaves up to several months. Unless such a delay has been specifically discussed and agreed prior to the shoot, finished pictures should be delivered within two weeks.

Modeling levels (i.e. whether the modeling is to be done clothed or will involve a degree of nudity) also need to be fully agreed before the shoot starts. Once the shoot has started, the photographer should not "push" the model's levels.

A model should expect from photographer:

  • A friendly, professional demeanor from the photographer. Even if the photographer is an amateur, or a beginner, that's no excuse for not treating the model as the valuable contributor to their work that she is.
  • Work that is a reasonable approximation of the photographer's talent and expertise. TFP is not "second-class" photography and it should be of good quality.
  • A signed release specifying what the model is to receive as her compensation in the form of prints or digital images. This protects both the photographer and the model by making their rights and obligations clear to each other. You can download an example of a model release from our site (Microsoft Word format). CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AN EXAMPLE OF A MODEL RELEASE FORM.

A model should NOT expect from photographer:

  • Any money. That includes revenue from later sale or license of the photographs in most cases. Many photographers have a policy of giving the model some percentage of revenue from such sales or licenses, but unless the model is a pro and the photographer is not, this is not something the model usually demands. It is more in the nature of a pleasant bonus.
  • Unlimited rights to the photographs. It is the law in most countries that photographs are the property of the photographer. The model may have the right to have some say in how they are used, but the photographer is the primary rights-holder. Most TFP releases provide that the model may only use the photographs for self-promotion and may not sell or relicense them. However, some models, especially models who are already under contract or hope to submit photographs to a specific user, will specify that certain uses (for example, print use of nude shots) are not allowed.
  • Unlimited prints. Prints, especially portfolio-quality prints, are not cheap. The photographer should offer a reasonable quantity, perhaps based on the total number of usable images captured. If the model wants more prints than are agreed upon before the shoot begins, she should expect to pay a reasonable price for them.

Some suggestions for the models

Approach a TFP with professionalism. You should of course have fun but a good photographer doesn't want to waste his time. He might be using very expensive equipment exclusively on your shoot. There has to be a shared balance of responsibilities. Don't expect the photographer to do all the work and do not expect the photographer to treat the shoot simply as a free portfolio shoot for you.

Think about make-up, styling before the session (and discuss these things with photographer).

Think about safety. Bring your friend with you (especially when dealing with unfamiliar photographer). It would not only make you to feel safer but could also help you with a make-up. In fact, most photographers insist that EVERY model under age bring an adult. If possible try to arrange meetings prior to the shoot.

Discuss what you want and expect before the actual photo session.

Be happy, positive and easy to get along with. Build you portfolio and care about you reputation. And one day you'll notice that your name is renowned in this industry.


Simple model release form. Download.