What is a TFP or Time for Prints contract?
Benefits of a TFP Contract
The TFP or “Time for Print” contract is a legal agreement between a photographer and a model, in which the latter agrees to model for the former for no financial compensation except for the free photographs which will be used for the model’s portfolio. The said legal document is beneficial to both the photographer and the model, especially when both are still amateurs in their fields.
For the amateur photographer, the TFP contract is a good alternative to hiring and paying professional models. The rates associated with hiring a professional model can be too expensive for a photographer who’s just starting out. Developing a TFP agreement with an aspiring model costs the photographer significantly less. For the aspiring model, building a portfolio with a professional photographer is expensive; by providing free modeling time, the model can acquire professional photos without spending a fortune.
Common Financial Arrangements of a TFP
Though having a TFP agreement saves a lot of money for both, the photographer and the model, it isn’t free. There are accompanying expenses that must be shouldered during the photo shoot. The typical expenses are broken down as follows:
Expenses for the photographer:
1. Rent and procurement of the studio and equipment
2. Rent and procurement of props
3. Development and printing of the pictures
Expenses for the model:
1. Fees for the hairstylist and makeup artist
2. Rent and procurement of clothes
Besides dividing the expenses for the photo shoot, the photographer and the model should also arrange the compensation they get from each other. For example, they should agree on how many pictures will be provided and how long the modeling session last. The usual arrangement is two medium-size photos for every hour of modeling. But this will vary, depending on the photographer and the model. The model may also indicate the format of the pictures and must insist on high-quality photography paper.
And finally, if the photographer intends to use the pictures for commercial purposes, he or she must decide if the model will be paid upfront with a fixed amount and have an additional agreement, the model release form, or agree on a 50-50 arrangement on the money that can be earned by the photos.
Tips for Photographers
To have a successful photography session and a good TFP contract, the photographer must plan ahead. Here are some tips that will be helpful.
- Have a specific project in mind – The photographer should know ahead of time the kinds of pictures that he/she plans to take in the photo session. The model does not decide the theme, background, and props that will be utilized. Without a specific goal in mind, the photographer may end up with pictures that he/she will not need.
- Explain the project clearly to the model – There are certain projects, such as those that involve nudity and glamour, that must be clearly explained to and discussed with the model. The model needs to be comfortable doing the modeling session and should have the right makeup needed.
- Protect the rights to the pictures – The rights to the picture belong to the photographer but some models want to have copies of all pictures taken. The photographer can provide digital copies of these pictures on a CD, but the pictures should be in low resolution and should have watermarks to prevent unauthorized copying.
- Customize the TFP contract – The photographer should carefully study the TFP contract before having the model sign it. If there are plans to use the pictures commercially, the TFP contract should have a clause, in which the model consents to the commercial use of the photos.
Here is a sample of a TFP contract
that you can modify for your own photography business.
This post is part of the series: Protect Yourself as a Photographer - Legal Aspects to Consider
This article series is about the legal aspects that a photographer must think about when (s)he intends to make a business out of photography. Including information on legal documents, such as the model release form and photo contracts.