Shooting on train tracks

There have been images that I have liked that were shot on train tracks. I can also see the appeal with the leading lines, the all outdoor locations, and the ‘danger’ that is implied.

However, personally I can’t get past the fact that train tracks are Private Property and it is illegal to be on them. And the railroads do not want you there. Maybe this is part of the appeal to photographers.

And this doesn’t take into account the inherent danger of being on the tracks.

TF* Shoots for Photographers

TF stands for Trade For…   These shoots can allow Photographers to get images for their portfolios that they wouldn’t have otherwise. TF means that you trade something with your Model for her time, posing, etc.  It may be just that you give her prints or digital files, she may have a Wish List on Amazon where you can buy her something she wants or needs to trade, you may purchase an outfit or jewelry for her to use in the images and let her keep them afterwords.  This would all be something that you would need to discuss and agree upon in advance of the shoot.

These shoots are usually done by new, beginner and hobby Photographers working with new or beginner Models to build up their portfolios without having to lay out huge amounts of cash to professional Models to get them.

Full-time or working Photographers can and do use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Model, Make-up Artist or Designer whose work they admire.  However this is usually a rarity as a working Photographers time is usually taken up shooting for their clients and doesn’t allow a lot of room for personal work.

As a hobby, or advanced amateur photographer you will find that as your photography improves and you grow as a Photographer that you will want to start doing more.  Shooting things that you haven’t shot before, like working with Models.  Right at first you may shoot friends and family, but eventually you will want to do more (or your family will just get tired of being asked).  This is when you need to start getting more creative with what you are offering to the Models or start paying them.

ROI –

TF shoots can be beneficial to all parties involved but it isn’t a good business model for someone trying to be a full-time working Photographer.  Yes, you can use TF shoots to build your initial portfolio but once you have worked with a few Models and have some decent images in your portfolio you really shouldn’t expect Models to work for you for trade.

Also, make sure that you consider the Models point of view.  Once she has her initial portfolio built you need to offer something to her besides just images.  She already has those.  You need to offer her something that she doesn’t yet and that she wants or needs.  You also need to understand that there is a very good chance that she is going to say No, and she has that right and you should not take it personally or get offended or mad.  It is just part of working in this industry.

TF* Shoots for Models.

TF stands for Trade For…   These shoots can allow Models to get images for their portfolios that they wouldn’t have otherwise.  These shoots allow new, beginner and Models doing this for fun or as a hobby to build up portfolios without having to pay Photographers to get them.   It also provides them with images that they can share with friends and family, or use on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.

Full-time or working Models can and do use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Photographer or Designer whose work they admire.  Sometimes TF shoots will also allow them to get into publications or have their images placed somewhere that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

ROI –

TF shoots can be beneficial to all parties involved but it isn’t a good business model for someone trying to be a full-time working Model.  Yes, you can use TF shoots to build your initial portfolio but once you have worked with a dozen or so Photographers and have a portfolio of your best 10-12 images (one from each Photographer) you really shouldn’t need to be doing TF shoots on a regular basis.

But – don’t totally rule out TF shoots altogether.  There may be a Photographer offering you something unique and special that can add a whole new dimension to your portfolio that you don’t have.

Whenever a TF shoot is offered to you, take a look at the Photographers work, consider what is being offered, and seriously weigh the options of whether this shoot could benefit you or your portfolio.  There is nothing wrong turning down any offer, whether paid or TF.

Clarifying TF* Shoots

TF stands for Trade For…   Trade shoots can be very beneficial to both Photographers and Models.  These shoots can allow them to get or create images that they otherwise wouldn’t have in their portfolios.  These new looks and styles can be beneficial to each of them.

Models –

TF shoots are a great way for a new or hobbyist Model to build up their portfolio.  These shoots allow them to get images that they can share with friends and family, or use on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.  Full-time or working Models can also use TF shoots to fill gaps in their portfolios or as an opportunity to work with a Photographer whose work they admire.

Photographers –

Most of the time TF shoots will be with new, beginner, or hobby Photographers.  Most full-time or professional Photographers do not have the time or the need to do TF shoots but they will occasionally use TF shoots to fill holes in their portfolios or to a particular look that they didn’t have before.

Payment(s) –

There are many ways that TF shoots can be negotiated.  The most common form is TFP – Time For Prints / Images.  In these shoots neither the Photographer or the Model pays with anything except their time.  Afterwords they both share the images.

Models may have Wish Lists on sites like Amazon.com and Photographers can purchase items from those lists and shoot the models in them are just give them to the Models as payment for their modeling time instead of giving them images.  Allowing Models to keep outfits after shooting them is another similar form of TF payment.

There are also times where groups get together for a particular and they all provide their own unique parts to the shoot.  Example: A Model, Photographer. Make-up Artist and a clothing designer may get together and do a shoot featuring the clothing and/or the Make-up.  The final images are use by all four participants and nobody ‘pays’ any of the others.