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June 16, 2006
Matter Of Definition.
TFP, TCFD, Web Based Model,
Land Based Model, and more are explored here. Yes, I
did do a lot of research and surveyed a lot of qualified professionals
who know what they are really talking about (the ones making a living
in their careers with years of professional experience). Want to know
the real definitions of these terms? You will find them here.
Please note that no serious professional agrees with anything in the misconception
description. In my humble opinion as a professional model, there are way
too many amateurs in the industry today claiming to be professionals and
muddying the water as they spread misconceptions. While none of them can
compete with a professional, especially when their portfolios are built
with TFP, the confusion does not help aspiring professionals who are learning
has been really bugging me the past couple of years. What I would like
to address today are the different definitions that people give to some
common terms. How can you be sure that we are talking about the same thing
if we mean different things for the same term? In some cases, a term can
be either positive or negative depending upon the definition subscribed
to it. Could you imagine how unintentionally hilarious a conversation
or debate could get if the people involved are talking about different
things but think they are talking about the same thing? I suspect that
it happens more than you might think, as people are, by default, notoriously
poor with communication. The quality of communication is especially degraded
when people succumb to their prejudices, opinions, and insecurities. As
professionals, all that we really have to do is to learn the business
and learn how to listen. Listen, and use education to weigh out anything
that you hear. Remember that you must consider who the source is before
accepting any opinion as fact. Either that, you make sure that many trusted
professionals agree with the opinion, too.
Let me start by exploring the perceived and the correct definitions of
several modeling terms. Obviously, the misconceptions are what the uneducated
TFP/ TFCD is where people can build modeling and photography portfolios
for free! In the digital age, it is wrong to charge for any kind of photography,
as film and development costs no longer apply. Models and photographers
can get around getting ripped off by spending time and putting together
cheap portfolios. This is the way of the future.
The consequences: Too many amateur models
and photographers thinking that it is wrong to pay for anything. A lack
of quality and subsequent ineffective portfolios due to too many who do
this not having the skill or experience to do anyone any good. You get
what you pay for here, which amounts to a massive waste of time and the
potential to learn bad habits.
The correct meaning: TFP is short for Time
For Prints. TFCD is short for Time For CD. They are both the same except
for a difference in picture delivery, where TFP gives photographic prints
and TFCD gives image files on a CD-ROM.
TFP, and yes, even back in the film days it existed, is actually a professional
exchange of services between established professionals. What is an “established
professional”? These are people who make money in their careers
and do professional-quality work. These are people who already have great
portfolios and are not in need of starting one. TFP/ TFCD is actually
about adding to an established professional portfolio with the assistance
of other professionals, not beginning one. How would the professional
know if you are even worth TFP unless you have a professional portfolio
to show them? While real professionals do offer TFP (when it means a professional
exchange of services), there is no such thing as a professional who only
works for free, unless that professional is in the charity business.
Professional services for free? More often than not, it really is too
good to be true. How much do you respect freebies? We often assign value
to something comparable to what is invested into it. Now, for the record,
I have known a few models and photographers who have build portfolios
using TFP. This is the exception, rather than the rule. After it was all
done, however, even these lucky few have stated that the process wasted
a lot of time and caused a lot of headaches. If you want a professional
portfolio it is more cost-effective to work with a professional and pay
for the service. Any portfolio or tools worth having are an investment,
and if you really need it done, prepare to pay for it.
I know of a few professional photographers who complain about other photographers
doing TFP. Is it really a threat to the professional when they charge
and others give away services? I would say no. If the false economy of
TFP was really a threat, then TFP photographers would be swamped in work
with professional models seeking them out. For some reason, this is not
the case, and many TFP photographers are left begging for people to shoot
with. You may wonder why this is, but I already know why. Perceived value
and professionalism really do have weight, and most people have no respect
for people who work for free and their work. In this case, perception
A web based model is one who has been turned down by agencies and who
cannot make it in the modeling industry. Web based modeling is not modeling.
Web based models don’t have professional pictures, and use web cam
shots or pictures from TFP.
The consequences: There are too many people
trying hard to separate web models from land based models. In their opinion,
the only real models are the land based ones. This misconception tries
to make any model who uses the Internet “web based”, and therefore
unprofessional by default. After all, if they are getting work through
an agency, why bother at all using the Internet?
The correct meaning: There really is none.
The term “web based” is a derogatory term to make models who
use the Internet seem less than professional. Most self-declared models
who post web cam or amateur pictures on free portfolio networking sites
or social networking sites are not really models, so the term really has
no basis in fact.
The Internet is a tool. Using the web and tools such as professional web
sites are only additional ways of marketing a modeling career. The use
of the web does not define the career of the model.
A land based model is a professional model who is represented by an agency.
Since they only do real work in their career, they have no use for the
web, as their bookers get them lots of work.
The consequences: A term used by the same
people who try to define models as either web based or land based. People
who buy into this gross misconception end up believing that the agency
way is the only way, which is incorrect. They become dependent upon model
agencies, and their career suffers.
The correct meaning: The term should apply
to all models regardless of them using the Internet or not. As such, there
really is no correct meaning, as it is a fictitious term used to separate
unprofessional web models from professional land models. There is no difference.
You are either professional or unprofessional, and the use of self-promotion
and marketing tools like the Internet really have no bearing on either.
The bottom line is that all models are “land based”. The use
of the Internet does not define the model or their career. Models who
book work both through agencies and their own efforts of booking work
without an agency are the ones with the advantage.
I book a lot of work by contacting business contacts. I book a
lot of work from my professional modeling web site. I book a lot of work
through several agencies. I cover all of my bases. Does this make me a
web based or a land based model? As you can see, the terms are
stereotypes with no basis in fact. You will get out of your career what
you put into it.
So, who out there is using these terms? Funny enough, it is the people
on modeling message boards and portfolio networking sites. Since, in my
experience, I have yet to book a professional, paying job off of such
sites and most of the members are amateurs throwing around TFP, what does
this say about the source of these terms? Why is it that I book lot of
money using “land” and “web” channels and I cannot
seem to find a single legitimate job on free portfolio networking sites?
I have a definition for you. Could it be the only web based modeling,
as the term is supposed to mean, covers the very source of what started
the term? In my opinion, modeling with amateur pictures on a portfolio
networking site is web based modeling. Everyone else, as long as they
make money as a professional model, regardless of how they market their
careers, would be land based.
We’ll fine tune these terms with our upcoming lexicon.
Guy With Camera. An amateur photographer who runs out, buys a camera,
and declares themselves to be a professional.
The consequences: There are actually guys
who get cameras just to meet pretty girls or to make money taking pictures.
There is nothing wrong with making money taking pictures if someone see’s
value in your work, but it you have to mislead someone to close a sale,
then you have problems.
The correct meaning: Unprofessional photographer
who often lies to get business. Most photographers who have hardly
any experience but mislead others into thinking that they are more professional
than they actually are. As you can guess, the fraud make this a scam and
an outright crime. File under “D” for dumb and deceptive trade
practices. File under “F” for fraud and felony.
Honesty will actually get you both respect and the assistance of professionals
who can help you become a professional.
Most so-called professional photographers on portfolio networking sites
are these Guys With Cameras. They feel that they have to fake it before
they can make it, which is not the case. Many of these guys are insecure
and very defensive, and I can see why.
A way for businesses to manipulate service rates and devalue markets.
The consequences: The negative misconception
alone can make this look like it is a scam. It is not a scam. It not only
works, but inspires competition and value. Many big, legitimate businesses
use reverse auctions to get the lowest rates when they subcontract. Tampa
Bay Modeling was the first in the world to introduce this professional
practice to the modeling industry back in 2004.
Those who think that reverse auctions are scams show their business-ignorance
and lack of research. Simply enter the term in any search engine and you
will find that it is a legitimate business practice and it is perfectly
The correct meaning: Reverse Auctions are
just that. An auction in reverse, where the bidders try to offer services
by underbidding the rates of their competitors. Normally, the lowest bid
wins, but not always; it is up to the hiring party to pick what the best
value is for them (although, in most business transactions where businesses
have subcontractors bid in reverse auctions, the normal practice is hire
the lowest bid).
Our new reverse auction system should be online next week, and it is free
for professionals in the modeling industry to learn and use.
Modeling is working on an online lexicon where terms and their correct
definitions are published. It’s a start to educating those who should
know but really don’t.
Danielle Cooper, Editor
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