Death by TF

Posted: 09/04/2013 in Uncategorized

In the last two weeks we have seen numerous models state that after their current arranged shoots, they will no longer be able to travel outside of a certain area for shoots.  They can’t afford it.  Why?  Death by TF.

They’re not getting paid for their talents, just as a lot of photographers/designers/MUA’s etc.  Everyone wants something for nothing, they’ve been getting it too.

The circle that used to exist has been broken.  ‘Back in the day’ *cringe*, a model would pay professional photographers to build a portfolio, if she was any good she would then go on to paid work, often where new photographers would pay for an experienced model to build THEIR portfolios, if they were any good they would then go on to be paid by new models… and so the circle completed.  The bad got weeded out, the good went on to make their money.  Collaborations would, of course, occur too but only those which were mutually beneficial.  So what changed?

A few things actually.  Semi-professional equipment became affordable and pirate copies of image editing software became easily obtainable; anyone who took a fancy and had some spare cash became a photographer.  Models were few and far between but every girl whose mates told her she should be a model, suddenly decided she was one; it’s now the ‘fashionable’ thing to do. These people didn’t spend any time at all finding out about the industry they were shoving themselves into, so the new photographers and the new models all worked together on TF to ‘help each other’, thus helping to create the “I don’t pay, I get paid” attitude.  Sadly that only works if you have something to offer that someone wants and is worth paying for.  We can name off the top of our heads 20 models who are good enough to be paid, but generally aren’t being.  We can name a whole lot more that aren’t good enough, they have no clue on how to use their bodies, posing…expressions.  Same deal with photographers. You see painfully bad shots on crumpled white sheets with terrible lighting, and badly posed model, chronically bad editing (as a professional retoucher for the advertising industry, this is a massive irk for Shaun. Everyone with Photoshop thinks they’re a graphic artist or retoucher) and you cringe.  Yet these people want to be paid.  Many times we have seen the amateur model state “I only accept paid shoots.”  Really?!  You’ve been doing this six months, on aforementioned rumpled white sheets and suddenly you’re Mosh?!

So now it has become an industry where (almost) everything gets done by TF, because if everyone wants paying, that’s not happening, so how about no-one gets paid, then somehow it’s ‘fair’.  It’s got as far as people asking for TF shoots, then asking whether you provide a stylist and MUA, because they just expect it all for nothing.  We recently did a special offer price on shoots, immediately we were asked if we would provide MUA’s.  For the stupidly low price we were offering and yet still people expect more, for free.  Magazines want content, it used to be that they paid to get it, now they ask for submissions.  Everyone dives in to get the exposure, the magazines get inundated with content that they can pick and choose from, and still no one gets paid.  This is only acceptable if the magazine itself is free to read, in it’s infancy.  For magazines that charge, it’s really not acceptable that you expect free content to be thrown at you.

We have raised the point before about how people in this industry provide a service, let’s reiterate…  If you are approaching someone else, asking them to work for you then you pay them.  It really is that simple 90% of the time.  A model approaches us with an idea/outfit that they want shooting, they’re asking us to work for them.  We have an idea and see the perfect model, we approach her, we are asking her to work for us, see?  There will always be grey areas, unpaid test shoots were a legitimate thing once upon a time; or for example it’s something you REALLY want to shoot but you have no one in mind; well ok, put it out there and offer it at a reduced price.  This applies to BOTH models and photographers though, people seem to think only photographers can do that.  If you’re an established model with an awesome idea but don’t know who best to shoot it, reduce your rates and let the photographers come to you if they want to be a part of that idea; you choose the best one for the job.  This will only serve to discourage the TF onslaught and perhaps help bring the industry back to what it used to be and weed out those who just want everything for free.

  1. I fully agree as from my experience a large percentage of models I have contacted wanting to work with expect payment which is fair enough but after you have worked with and paid them they contact me wanting me to shoot them in whatever new item of clothing they have purchased but then expect it to be on a TF basis or even worse expect me to pay them as well as provide edited high quality images. These same people later post on social media about how it is photographers not wanting to pay that ruined the industry whilst not wanting to contribute financially to maintaining it. I know as somebody who is trying to get experience as a photographer whilst being a carer on only just over £60 a week puts me at a disadvantage it’s worsened by those who only see photographers as a cash-cow to milk dry and this applies to both “professional” and amateur models.

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