This Reddit Thread Highlights a Common Issue with TFP Work

If you plan on participating in a TFP project, this Reddit thread contains some valuable advice that photographers and models should keep in mind.

Shooting trade work (commonly referred to as TFP or Time For Prints/Trade For Photo) can be a great way for photographers and models to collaborate on personal projects. They are also excellent ways for those just starting out to gain experience and experiment with new techniques. TFP shoots are collaborative endeavors, and everyone involved should walk away having benefited from it in some way. Before embarking on collaborative projects of any kind, it’s important for all parties involved to openly communicate their intentions and expectations with one another. This ensures everyone involved is on the same page and helps to avoid misunderstandings down the line. Despite our best efforts, issues can still arise from time to time due to miscommunication. Join us after the break as we explore a Redditor’s experience in one such situation.

As described within this thread posted to the AskPhotography subreddit, titled “Did I ruin my chances of working with this one photographer ever again?“, Redditor/model Substantial-Racoon recounts the misunderstanding between themself and a photographer they worked with:

“Model here. I did a Tfp shoot with a local photographer recently. She is insanely talented, and she has thousands of IG followers, so when I got a chance to do a shoot with her I was so excited. She sent me our set of pics yesterday, and as expected they were stunning.

I posted the pics this morning on Instagram, making sure to tag her, and went about my day. Well an hour ago I open my DMs to see that she messaged me about how I should credit her when I post her pics, as it helps her out. I felt so bad, and wondered if maybe I had accidentally untagged her or something, but turns out I didn’t. I went ahead anyway and also changed my caption to mention her specifically, and messaged her let her know (while also apologizing). She hasn’t read my message yet, but I feel really bad tbh. We were also talking about doing future shoots (though nothing has been solidified) but now I’m worried that this whole situation messed it up. 🙁 Also, sorry if this is dumb, but does tagging someone have a different “effect” from specifically crediting someone?”

original post by Redditor Substantial-Racoon

Although the Reddit thread only details the account from the model’s point of view, it is clearly a misunderstanding that could’ve easily been avoided. It’s important that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what they can expect out of a collaborative project such as a TFP shoot. Trade shoots should be beneficial to all involved and treated with the same level of professionalism as paid projects. This is why I personally treat trade work the same way as paid client work and always have a contract in place. A contract clearly outlines what is expected of me as the photographer as well as what is expected of the model, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

As stated in the original post, Substantial-Racoon hadn’t heard back from the photographer yet after their initial message about how they preferred to be credited. While the Redditor is understandably worried about having potentially soured a working relationship with the photographer, the situation may not be as grim as they fear. Everyone’s schedules are different and it’s entirely possible that the photographer just hasn’t seen the model’s reply yet. This could simply be a case where the lack of a response played out in the model’s head as a hypothetical doomsday scenario. While we don’t know the specifics of the arrangement between the model and the photographer in this particular scenario, a clearly laid out contract/agreement could have easily addressed the issue surrounding how the photographer preferred to be credited.

With regards to why the photographer had a preference for how they wanted to be credited on Instagram, several commenters offered up some insights:

“If you only tag on the photo, the name only comes up when someone taps the photo. When you tag in the caption, its impossible for someone to miss who is scrolling by and they get WAY more eyes on their profile. I’ve worked in social media promotion and the difference in the number of people that navigate to the tag’d person’s account when in the caption vs only tagged in the photo is massive.”

comment from Redditor zerotangent

“As far as tagging vs comment credit.

DO BOTH! Always! Social media platform algorithms are always changing, and tags are not always easily accessable, for example fb tags can be moused I’ve on PC to see who is who in a pic, but on mobile you see maybe 1 name without clicking the list, and it also won’t put a box around who is who.

Plus, comment tags and links are searchable on Google and sometimes contribute search ranking to the person’s page or website, which is of great value and worth getting upset for most models not doing.”

comment from Redditor SilverSnakePhoto

Ultimately, situations such as these are preventable as long as all parties involved in a collaborative endeavor understand what’s expected of them and what they’ll be getting in exchange for their participation. In Substantial-Racoon‘s case, they were clearly apologetic about the affair and addressed the situation promptly. Accidents happen and it would be asinine of the photographer to hold a grudge and terminate the relationship as a result.