TFC: Trade for Credit: This is a situation where you are working with someone because you both do decent work. The photographer does not yet have regular paying clients but you would both still like to work together to further your skills and showcase your talent. This may also be a highly skilled photographer that wouldnt normally hire you as their go to artist but you are absolutely freakin stoked to work with. This does not result in you recieving an image of the work. This is usually “submission work” to magazines or popular blogsites (however I try to make sure that at least digital images are provided). Be sure that the credit is one that you actually want and will benefit your portfolio in relation to booking more jobs and making money. (Hint Hint: Credit does not count as them crediting you on FB)
TFP: Trade for Print: This concept is similar to TFC in the instance that you are working with a photographer that may not have set clients or is one that is highly skilled and wouldn’t normally hire you as their go to artist. In this instance there is no credit but you get prints and now a days usually just consists of digital images that are quality enough to print with no logo and social media images that include logos.
Test Shoot: This is when you approach a photographer that you would like to have a working relationship with. You are offering them an opportunity to test how your makeup work shows up on camera by working with them for a one time free shoot, with the understanding that if they like your work they will then hire you for the next gig.
As a freelancer we all know that portfolios are necessary in order to get yourself more clients. Regardless, if you are choosing to get deep into the freelance world and take it seriously as a business or remain a contractor working for someone else you still need images of your work. Having images of your work allows the client to see what they are getting and what they can expect. Whether that client walks into your salon or clicks on your website, they want to see what their possible outcome can be.
When you have professional images of your work, it puts you in a different class. This includes professionally edited images by professional photographers. .This raises the bar and shows that you are serious about what you do. A client respects the fact that you have taken the time and effort to showcase yourself as a professional.
Starting out in this industry you are looking to do trade work. As your skill and credit list increases you then ask to do test shoots. Be sure to ask me any questions you may have about the difference and I can tell you based on your portfolio, work experience and who you are approaching if you should be asking about trade shoots or test shoots.
How do you get images of your work?
Initially, I got images of my work by providing a photographer with a makeup look that he/she needed. I was not concerned about what I was trying to gain or the direction that I was trying to go in. I simply provided what photographers were looking for. This is an ok way to start out. I mean ok if you are literally starting out with no images in your portfolio. Respond to casting calls, ask photographers what looks they are trying to add to their portfolio’s, be genuine, and professional and they will not be able to tell you NO! Here you are offering your expertise for their vision and their goal.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of the expectations of a TFP. How many images does the photographer plan to give you? Will he take headshots, it’s ok to ask or request. When you are offering your services for free they should consider the images that a makeup artist needs for her portfolio.
Always be weary of setting up TFP’s through a model. She cannot guarantee you what a photographer will give you. There are contracts for these types of agreements. I have been lucky enough to communicate clearly and up front about the expectations through email or chat. This still gives you what you need in writing.
What kind of images will you get?
Find out if the photographer is willing to give you images without the logo. If you display the knowledge of knowing to use the watermarked images on social media and the unmarked images on just your website for portfolio purposes most photographers will comply. I would ask for a social media/blog copy and portfolio copy without watermark. This is important to determine prior to touching anybody’s face with your makeup brushes.
When working on a stylized shoot it is always important to ask the photographer or simply remind them that you need headshots. Most of the time photographers are trying to figure out the best angle and best posing they can get out of a model, the location, and the shoot itself. It is easy for them to forget about our simple need of headshot/close-up images that display our work. It is ok to gently remind the photographer or ask before you do a shoot about how many close-up/headshot images can you expect from this trade shoot.
Which photographers should you chose?
If you have an eye for professional work I’m sure you have looked at a photographer’s website and thought, “Oh, I’d love to have his work in my portfolio” or “I wonder how much he charges for his sessions?” Choose photographers that you want to work with. But you must remember there is an industry standard that photographers will want to work with makeup artist that are already doing their level of work. So the trick is not to reach to low and not to reach too high based on the level of work that you have done. But remember never count yourself out. All they can say is no, at that time. There will be a yes later, as long as you are committed to the end goal of you being a professional in your industry.
Now that you’ve chosen a photographer, you have your models, what happens when the images are released to you? Please do share on social media and if you do, you are required to credit each and every person involved in that process
Once you start building up your credits then you can get more clear on what the theme is, how it fits in with the type of business that you are trying to obtain. For example, if you’ve decided that you want to do bridal makeup then you may not want to drive an hour down the road to do tfp for a high fashion creative shoot. It takes discretion and knowing where to place your time and energy in order to get maximum results from your efforts in this industry.