Quality vs. Quantity

When you are working with photographers, especially when you are seeking out "Time for Print" (TFP) shoots, remember the most important rule, which is...


I hate to say it, but I find that "you get what you pay for."

There is a difference between quantity and quality. One GREAT print for your portfolio is worth a tremendous amount more than even 1000 mediocre ones. This is ADVERTISING of your talents... not a "scrapbook."

Unfortunately, many models want to work with those photographers who will give them the MOST prints rather than those who will give them the BEST prints.

From my personal observations, if a photographer is willing to "give away the farm" with lots of prints and not requiring a release be signed -- they are completely amateur and have extremely poor photography. The only way that they can get models to pose "in-trade" is to "give away the farm."

If the photographer doesn't demand a modeling release -- the model should be wary. Often times these "personal projects" are nothing more than nudie-shoots... and the model will end up with ZERO usable poses (because content and quality are both unacceptable for a portfolio). SO... is the photographer more interested in the creating great photography (that he/she NEEDS a release in order to use) or just seeing a pretty girl without her clothes on?


When a photographer has reached a skill level recognized as "professional," then the product and the "routine" are also more professional. No professional photographer I've ever met does a "trade" of prints for time unless they also get a release signed. It is pure stupidity not to get the release -- since legally the images cannot be used even to show as promotional work.

Also, FEW professional give much more than a couple high quality prints per hour of posing. The reason is not because the photographers are "stingy" but rather because these are the VERY BEST shots from the entire shoot, and have considerable worth.  A professional is not going to want anyone to see "mediocre" or poorly created work - because it is a bad reflection on the skills of that professional (whether a photographer or a model).  As a model - you need the best, not the most.  Even if a model walks away with just a few prints from a session with a real-professional, the prints are worth more than their weight in gold... since they build up for a "job-winning" portfolio.

Lots of low quality, unprofessional shots are of no use to anyone, but a few select high-grade shots are extremely valuable to a model, actress or entertainer.


Professional photographers are also more willing to compromise, and do "creative" work for a model. This often means that the session is broken into different pieces where model does some posing for the photographer's needs, and then the photographer does some photography for the model's needs. This way, if the model needs fashion and editorial shots, he/she can a few taken during the session.

The skilled photographer will do a trade with a model rather than hiring a model for his or her needs.  This saves cash out-of-pocket and generally provides both model and photographer with more time during the shoot to explore and to be creative.

The trade must also be "equal." If the photographer has a lot more experience, training, and ability than the model, then the photographer will need to get more of what he/she needs out of the shoot. However, if an experienced model is working with an amateur photographer - then the model needs to have more control over what takes place during the shoot.


Many young aspiring models feel that "because I'm beautiful ... everyone will WANT to take my photo." Well, that's only partially true. There are hundreds of thousands of aspiring models -- and if you can't do the work the professional photographers need -- you'll soon find yourself without anyone wanting to work with you.

This is a give-and-take situation. You should figure out the types of shots that you need to get done for your own portfolio and promotion, and then negotiate those shots into the photo session. That way the photographer gets the shots he needs, you get the quality shots that you need, and you both end up "winning."

The side benefit of doing "trades" in this manner is that many professional photographers also have commercial assignments that they shoot -- and when there is a spot for a model with your looks -- they'll likely "do you a favor" and help try to get you cast in the part. After all, if you are a reliable, well-behaved model at the shoot for "trade" - then you'll likely be even more reliable and well-behaved at a client shoot (which makes the photographer who recommended you also look good).

I think the key here is that there is no free lunch. You have to give something valuable (time, release, & style of posing) in order to get something of a similar worth. If something sounds too good to be true -- it very likely is.

While I would encourage ALL models to shoot as often as possible, I would strongly encourage models to make their decisions based upon the quality of the work (not the number of prints promised).