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Author Topic: Is this a dumb idea?  (Read 3884 times)

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« on: June 06, 2008, 15:05 »
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I have about 400 packages going out next couple weeks, mostly kids 12 and under - but their parents are who they ultimately go to.

(Edit - those are photo packages, btw)

- Part of me thinks this is an opportunity. 
- Part of me thinks it is super cheezy.

Would it be super cheezy if I put a line on the receipts that says

We are now recruiting models of all ages and types for summer sessions to add to our portfolio of stock photographs.  Sessions are free and you will be compensated with a cd of at least 5 shots from each costume or theme.  A model release is required.  Please see (link) for more information.

I've been super busy and I'm taking July off.  I wouldn't mind shooting stock though a few days a week and editing over a couple months. 

But, is this is a professional line that I shouldn't cross?  If not, anyone have some better language I could use?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 15:08 by Pixart »


« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 15:14 »
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I'd be more selective than to send out something with every package. Choose only the most marketable kids that live fairly close by, and use a hand-written note. Something like "I really enjoyed taking these photos of Jennifer - she's an adorable little girl and a very natural model. Would you be open to allowing me to work with her to make some commercial-type of photographs?" would probably flatter the parents and open the door for you.

With the right approach there may be lots of "happy girls in sunny wheat field" shots in your future ... and lotsa cash, too.

« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 15:19 »
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"Recruiting models" implies that you are paying them, which I would.  Offering a couple of shots for people to give you their time and likeness is unprofessional, imo.

« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 15:52 »
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"Recruiting models" implies that you are paying them, which I would.  Offering a couple of shots for people to give you their time and likeness is unprofessional, imo.

TFP or TFCD is actually quite a common practice.  It's a fair trade for individuals who want to build a modeling portfolio.  There are plenty of parents who would like to build a modeling portfolio for their child.  Trading a model release and time for free images is a good bargain.

« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 15:59 »
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TFP or TFCD is actually quite a common practice.  It's a fair trade for individuals who want to build a modeling portfolio.  There are plenty of parents who would like to build a modeling portfolio for their child.  Trading a model release and time for free images is a good bargain.

That may very well be, but most pros (certainly accredited ones) only use TFP/TFCD non-commercially. The proper place for this sort of arrangement is when the photographer needs test shots and/or is building a portfolio.

I'm with sjlocke - if you're going to require a model to sign a release (i.e. you're going to use the images to make money), the ethical thing to do is pay the model for his/her time.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 16:00 by sharply_done »

« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 16:58 »
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TFP or TFCD is actually quite a common practice.  It's a fair trade for individuals who want to build a modeling portfolio.  There are plenty of parents who would like to build a modeling portfolio for their child.  Trading a model release and time for free images is a good bargain.

That may very well be, but most pros (certainly accredited ones) only use TFP/TFCD non-commercially. The proper place for this sort of arrangement is when the photographer needs test shots and/or is building a portfolio.

I'm with sjlocke - if you're going to require a model to sign a release (i.e. you're going to use the images to make money), the ethical thing to do is pay the model for his/her time.

I see your point, but it seems calling the practice "unethical" is a bit strong.  If the model agrees that it's a fair trade, then I guess I don't see the problem.  That is as long as the photographer is up front about what he/she intends to do with the images.  If the photographer tells the model he/she intends to only use the images for a portfolio and not for stock, then I would certainly agree it's unethical.

« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 17:23 »
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I see your point, but it seems calling the practice "unethical" is a bit strong.  If the model agrees that it's a fair trade, then I guess I don't see the problem.  That is as long as the photographer is up front about what he/she intends to do with the images.  If the photographer tells the model he/she intends to only use the images for a portfolio and not for stock, then I would certainly agree it's unethical.

I agree, but I will never do that with kids that may have over enthusiastic parents.
I will work for TFCD with adults that know what I'm shooting them for and agrees to work that way.

« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 17:29 »
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Sharply, your "selective" advice is great.  And my "cheezy" instincts were probably correct.

Here's the next connundrum.  How does one determine a rate for amateur models?   A kid would likely have a working threshold of about an hour.

Do you still give a cd?

I have no strong desire to use kids over adults, but the opportunity might be there for me.

« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2008, 17:33 »
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TFP/TFCD is a common practice in photography all over the world.  Its done every day by professionals and amateurs alike.  I have done a PAID session with a large cooperation and asked one of the people there if they would like to be a part of my stock portfolio.  I fully explained my intentions and where their image might be found in the future.  He agreed and was flattered to be asked.  Its not like a one time sitting with a model is going to pay much money even over time unless you can take hundreds of useable shots in an hour or so.  At current microstock commission rates youd better be careful paying anyone to model unless youre in the league with Yuri.  On the other hand if after the first session the model makes you money then you might want to invite them back for a second paid session.  I have never paid a amateur with no experience money for photos.  As far as that goes the last 3 I shot paid me.  Now granted, none of their shots are used as stock.  I did offer to shoot the photos for TFP/TFCD but they wanted total control over their images so that was fine with me. 

Since you have a relationship with the people youre going to solicit, I dont see a problem at all with adding a line or two to the paperwork.  Youve already shot their photos and you want to take it to the next step.  If youre selling packages rather than prints thats the bottom of the portrait business barrel.  (No harm intended)  I shot families for years and sold packages.  But you sure wont be using any of those package shots as stock.  Meeting an interesting face and making an offer to shoot for TFP/TFCD is perfectly okay IMO.

In my 30+ years as a photographer Ive never heard of TFP/TFCD being unethical for what ever reason.  The only unethical thing would be to mislead someone by not telling them what you intended to do with their images.  If youre up front and spell it all out I see no problem at all with TFP/TFCD for stock.

« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2008, 18:07 »
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...
Here's the next connundrum.  How does one determine a rate for amateur models?   A kid would likely have a working threshold of about an hour.

Do you still give a cd?

I have no strong desire to use kids over adults, but the opportunity might be there for me.

You should arrange a test shoot before doing a commercial shoot - giving them a CD of the untouched images will be enough for this. Try to include the parents and family pets and shoot on location if possible - the more the merrier!

The purpose of this first session is to see how comfortable your models are in front of the camera, how long their "window" is, and how well they look in the untouched image. There are people who you just *cannot* take a bad picture of, and there are people who always look "funny" in photos, no matter the setting.

As far as what to pay goes, this is a very regional thing. You should telephone a few commercial photographers in your area to determine what the fair hourly and day rates are for inexperienced models.

« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2008, 18:19 »
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TFP/TFCD is a common practice in photography all over the world. 
...
This argument shares much with giving away your imagery in exchange for credit or mention: just because it's common for people to do it doesn't make it right. By not paying a model you are taking advantage of his/her ego in the same way that the photographer's ego is misused by unscrupulous/cheap photo "buyers".

If you don't believe that it's right to give your work away for free, why is it that you expect someone else to give their work to you for free?
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 18:45 by sharply_done »

« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2008, 18:44 »
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TFP/TFCD is a common practice in photography all over the world.
...
This argument shares much with giving away your imagery in exchange for credit or mention: just because it's common for people to do it doesn't make it right. By not paying a model you are taking advantage of his/her ego in the same way that the photographer's ego is misused by unscrupulous/cheap photo "buyers".

If you don't believe that it's right to give your work away for free, why is it that you should expect someone else to give their work to you for free?


Then I suggest you don't do TFP/TFCD.  What's right for you is fine with me.  We don't have to agree.  However a open mind helps to see both sides and let the one who asked the question decide how they should proceed.  For me, my answer to the the original question is "YES" with a fill disclosure of your intent.  If both parties agree then no harm is done.  "And the photographer will make a few bucks for his efforts.  How is that bad?

P.S.  I've never given a TFP/TFCD model untouched photos on a CD.  I also shoot shots just for them during the session.  I always provide them with 100% touched-up ready to print or put on the web images for their portfolio.  I treat every TFP/TFCD model as if they paid for the shots they get.  In return for my hours spent shooting and touching up images, I can make a few bucks over the next year or so from their likeness.  Run the numbers my friend, you will see that in this business of microstock no one session for an hour or so is going to produce so much money that you've taken advantage of anyone if you consider all aspects of the process.  TFP/TFCD is fare and ethical to do so long as you fully disclose your intentions and give the model images they can really use. 

« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2008, 18:51 »
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If you can't pay someone $10/hour and get something that can make that money back within a month, then you're not very good at this.  I expect to make money, and I feel it is fair to appreciate the model for their effort.

« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2008, 18:59 »
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TFP/TFCD is a common practice in photography all over the world. 
...
This argument shares much with giving away your imagery in exchange for credit or mention: just because it's common for people to do it doesn't make it right. By not paying a model you are taking advantage of his/her ego in the same way that the photographer's ego is misused by unscrupulous/cheap photo "buyers".

If you don't believe that it's right to give your work away for free, why is it that you expect someone else to give their work to you for free?


Actually, it's not for free. I charge 600 $ for a book. Actually I use and  prefer to pay, abut 100 $ for a three hours session, and when I do TFP is the model who gets a good deal.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 19:02 by loop »

« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2008, 19:20 »
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I appreciate the debate this has presented and I think I am developing my own plan here - but don't let me stop the debate just because I'm the OP.

I guess I shouldn't feel bad offering $10-$20 per hour for a first trial session.  I would expect that if I find that a model works quite well with me (and I see a return - that part is important) I would be very happy to pay that model a more reasonable sum.  Maybe I'll develop some kind of scale along this line.

And - if that model wound up on - a herpes medication billboard - I wouldn't feel as bad if they had been paid for the session and signed the release plus an additional document explaining what RF is and where their image may appear.  Even though a herpes billboard would likely be defamatory and require special permission - could you imagine the razzing a student would get at school?

And TFP.... I would think that someone who needs headshots or a book would be thrilled with a TFP arrangement.  It just don't know if it's a good idea for someone who wants to earn a living modeling to spread their face around RF.

Thanks for the lively discussion guys.  I'm diggin it!

« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2008, 19:23 »
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Quote

Actually, it's not for free. I charge 600 $ for a book. Actually I use and  prefer to pay, abut 100 $ for a three hours session, and when I do TFP is the model who gets a good deal.

That's what I'm saying too! TFP is good for everyone involved.

« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2008, 19:30 »
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Quote
And TFP.... I would think that someone who needs headshots or a book would be thrilled with a TFP arrangement.  It just don't know if it's a good idea for someone who wants to earn a living modeling to spread their face around RF.

Thanks for the lively discussion guys.  I'm diggin it!

Actually quite the opposite for the model.  If the model can get a few tear sheets from the stock images they go from armature to at least semi-professional.  Tear sheets get models more work than a portfolio alone will any day. Even if it is a herpes ad.  Just ask one.


« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2008, 19:33 »
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And - if that model wound up on - a herpes medication billboard - I wouldn't feel as bad if they had been paid for the session and signed the release plus an additional document explaining what RF is and where their image may appear.  Even though a herpes billboard would likely be defamatory and require special permission - could you imagine the razzing a student would get at school?


here in the above quoted para. you've mentioned  a rather touchy situation which may occur. i feel that since you are dealing with children
and parents, you should point that out too.
better to lose a model before a shoot, than have some angry parent come back at you for "you never told me my kid will be on a herpes ad!"

i would definitely make this well understood during the signing of the release.

« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2008, 07:58 »
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when something like this comes up, we seem to forget that microstock is all about volume. It isn't about the big bucks for a single photo - that's the other guy's game.

« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2008, 09:42 »
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TFP/TFCD is a common practice in photography all over the world.
...
This argument shares much with giving away your imagery in exchange for credit or mention: just because it's common for people to do it doesn't make it right. By not paying a model you are taking advantage of his/her ego in the same way that the photographer's ego is misused by unscrupulous/cheap photo "buyers".

If you don't believe that it's right to give your work away for free, why is it that you expect someone else to give their work to you for free?


But...time is not free, i.e. time to edit to edit those pictures.

« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2008, 17:45 »
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By not paying a model you are taking advantage of his/her ego in the same way that the photographer's ego is misused by unscrupulous/cheap photo "buyers".

And in this case, the parents' egos.  Some parents would have no limits in the dream of making their kids the next top model. 

In any case, I think the right thing is to pay them.  Real money or some fine prints of their photos (how much would that cost in a photo studio, shooting and printing included?)

Regards,
Adelaide


 

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