Updated: Aug 26, 2018
The Benefits of Pro Bono work
This is mainly for new photographers looking to pursue a career in portrait photography, whether it be full or part time. One way to get some clout is thru TFP sessions. TFP literally stands for Trade or Print, Time for Print, Time for Photos or something to that extent. It's not profitable by any means but, it can be beneficial to your career, especially when you're first starting out. I know what you're thinking, the question probably goes something like this, "Why the hell would I do work for free????" Well I'm glad you asked, please allow me to explain 4 reasons why TFP can actually be a good thing for you.
This reason is pretty damn obvious. You always want to hone your skill, no matter what. Get out there and network with models, work with friends and family and so on. There's always somebody out there looking to jump in front of the camera. I've been shooting for a few years now and I still do TFP session in between paid gigs just to stay sharp. Even when you're on YouTube learning something new, a TFP session would definitely allow you to practice that new skill or technique on someone who's willing to work with you. There's no point in experimenting on someone who's paying you because there is a slight chance you'll give them crappy results; and then they'll end up not being happy, potentially not pay you, and then they'll slander your name possibly impacting the amout of business you could potentially gain. Plus, you never wanna get rusty.
2. Saves Money
So you're wondering how does TFP save you money right? Well the answer is simple. If you're seeking models to work with, be aware that several of them may be established and have made a name for themselves. What does that mean? It means that if you're asking an experienced model to work with them, there's a good chance that they may try to charge you for their time; and it's only fair since they do work hard at their craft just like you. The solution to this is just to find up-and-coming models who are looking to build their portfilio, just like you're trying to do. It can be a learning experience for the both of you, and if the chemistry is right, you could gain a client or a dependable person that you can rely on if you're wanting to get out there to get more practice.
3. Builds Your Portfolio
This is also another pretty obvious reason. TFP is a great way to build your portfolio. As new photographer looking to get booked, you'll definitely need to have something to show to bait in your prospective clients. Words alone proves nothing if you don't have anything to show for it.
Before I go on with this reason, I must say that if you're looking to make money from photography, be sure that it is indeed something that you truly love to do. With that being said, not every opportunity needs to have a paycheck attached to it. If your work is good enough, the fruits of your labor will indeed begin to flourish and line your pockets with the money you deserve. HOWEVER, you always keep your ears open with people who approach you to do photos for free. Allow me to elaborate, so let's say a person or company comes you says that they would like you to do a session overseas. They would offer to take care of your traveling arrangements, lodging, food, etc and all you have to do is take pics. Well you get a vacation, practice and an entry into your resume all in one. You never want to pass up those kinds of opportunities. So just because you don't see the paycheck at the moment, doesn't mean something good won't come out of it.
Well there you have it. There are 4 ways I believe that TFP can be helpful in the advancement and evolution of your photography career. These are things that definitely help me out and I hope that it helps you too! I'm sure there are more, but give this and see how it goes. Thanks for reading and GOD bless!
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