Free Photos

Test Prints / Trades of Time For Prints

If you need portfolio photos -- the best way to get them is to do a "trade of time for prints" with professional photographers. Rather than paying thousands of dollars for professional quality portfolio photos -- you "earn" these prints by posing for a photographer's projects.


Normally, you get a finished 8x10 or two per hour of posing. These images are the "foundation" of your modeling career -- because your portfolio is the most important part of modeling your modeling talent.

Quality vs. Quantity

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.

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."

When the photographer doesn't demand a release -- often times -- the poses the model ends up doing are pin-up & porn, and at the end of the session, the model likely has ZERO usable poses (because content and quality are both unacceptable for a portfolio). SO... is the photographer more interested in the creating great photography or just seeing a pretty girl without her clothes on?

Skilled Photographers are Business-Like

On the other hand, 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 -- 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 each print has real "worth." Even if a model walks away with just a few prints from a session with a professional, the prints are well worth it -- since they are high quality enough to build up 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. Rather than just a bunch of pin-up or porn photos -- the model gets fashion shots and editorial style shots in addition to whatever the work the photographer wants him/her to do.

Often times professional photographers doing "trades" will want the models to do glamour or nude work. A model has to remember that they are only "acting a part," and that the viewer is seeing the "image" and not "Jane Doe, aspiring model."

If a model is concerned about being connected with "nude" photos -- then I think they are too prudish to be in modeling to begin with. For some models -- being nude is not a problem -- but rather -- being "recognized" is! In this case -- a model can ask the photographer to take the nude images in such a manner that the model's face is not fully shot straight on and fully visible. For instance, a model can be made un-recognizable by having their face cut out of the photo or hidden in shadow, or by partially covering the face with a hand, hand, prop, or article of clothing.


Many young aspiring models feel that "because I'm beautiful people 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 photographers needs -- 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.

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 discourage models from selecting any photographer based on the "number of prints" you are going to get.

Again, quality is much more important than quantity.