As a photographer, I would like to know what you consider fair, to provide a model for their time in a Time For Prints (TFP) shoot.

  • How long does the photoshoot go for?

  • How many images do you show the model to select from? All of them?

  • Do you edit your shots you provide?

  • How many final edited images do you agree to provide to the model?

  • What if the model wants all the images?

  • Would you charge a fee for additional edited images?

Just to let you know, I have shot a number of outdoor TFP shoots with models. I am struggling to make it fair for them and on myself, as I edit all my images. I usually say 6-10 images, but find the model is wanting a lot more images and sometimes all of them. I have suggested to the model, if they want more than that, they would need to pay a fee per shot, for the edit.

As a photographer, I like to control the look of the final result for all my images.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Fair is whatever the model and the photographer agree on. Two prints, ten prints, 10 or 20 edited jpg files ?? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 8, 2019 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


You need to set those terms before hand, and it's always best to set a reasonable minimum expectation and overdeliver if the shoot went particularly well. What is a reasonable number really depends on the nature of the shoot. If you do something with heavy post work, maybe compositing images and such, then 1 might be reasonable.

In most of my own shoots, I have typically picked and edited my choices and given the model (and MUA if applicable) anywhere from 5-10 images.

I have also had models that wanted to be able to choose, so in those cases I have made a contact sheet of the images that I think are worth actually editing. That could be 20-40 shots depending on the shoot. I ask them to pick 5, then I can edit those plus any others that I prefer. This will likely get me in the 5-10 range, but the model is only expecting 5 anyway.

I would say most of my shoots last from 2-4 hours, with 2.5 being the norm. If things are going well and we're having fun (and noone has any prior commitments) then I just play it by ear.

Noone but me sees all the images.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I think that seems to be around the norm. I was asking some photographers on Insta. They say, they allow the model to choose about 5 images per hour, of the shoot. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2019 at 6:24

Make it clear from the start - your time is yours.
It takes far longer to edit the shoot than it did to shoot it. You are already investing more time in this exchange than they are.

Secondly - no-one gets all the shots. Tell them your job is to take a mixed bag of lemons & peaches & separate out the peaches*. The lemons go in the bin, the peaches get worked on further.

The ones finally used for the presentation 'peach melba with cream' have had all the work done. The ones that made it past the lemon cut but not to the final product are unlikely to be worth their time, no matter how keen they are to see them.

You will send them 6 - 10 images you personally think are the best ones; fully edited & in high rez.

You would be prepared to give them low-rez jpgs of some of the also-rans, just to demonstrate why you picked the ones for the 'peach melba'; but they are not to publish them without prior approval &/or further editing [you might take a punt at trying to charge if they want any of these working on - up to you**]. Otherwise, this batch is for them only.

*If they get argumentative on the lemon/peach distinction, point out to them that you may take 20 shots just checking your lighting, focus, composition [make up some techno-babble if necessary], before you even care what expression or body-presentation they need to do, or whether their hair looks right. That's a big bag of lemons necessary to the process that even you will never look at again.
That's before you even get to the one where they blinked, or sneezed, or their hair blew the wrong way, or they asked you a question right as you snapped… or you missed your focus, or they picked lint off their left boob/scratched their crotch [dependant on gender assignment], picked their nose, turned away, laughed too much, had a funny stare that made them look slightly mad… yada yada…
Tell them lemons are lemons & no-one ever needs to see them out in public. You will quietly & discreetly discard all the ones that don't make them look their best. They did their job, now let you do yours.

**I'd weigh that up against the fact that everything so far on a TFP shoot has been 'free' & wouldn't bother pushing too hard.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your comments :) Yeah, I usually say 6-10 images. I discard about a 1/3 of the images and show them the rest to choose from. But they always seem to want more than 10! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7, 2019 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ You broke down when you showed them too many ;) You choose the 'peach melbas' & send them some also-rans. That will already predispose them to the 'melbas' & only if there's one they prefer the facial expression on, even if you didn't like it so much technically, then that's their 'can I just have one more from the rejects folder please?' moment. Reducing choices reduces the potential for argument. This is why you reinforce the 'lemon theory' early on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 7, 2019 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it is actually easier, if I seek a model to do a TFP shoot with, and can therefore be the one who sets the terms. I did one recently, where I posted an ad on a modelling site and specified I would provide about 6 edited images. I didn't even show them the other images. Although they were really inexperienced at modelling, they were happy with that. I think I need to be more upfront and specify my terms of TFP. Although in doing this, I think this has discouraged a few models to shoot with me. So, I am really trying to understand and strike a balance as to what is fair for both sides. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7, 2019 at 23:22

I think what you do can vary, but the important thing is to act in good faith.

What I would do is to say they can have good copies of all the images that you consider good, and undertake that these are all the images you consider good, and in particular that you are not sneakily going to make use of any other images, or are holding back the best images. 'Good copies' means you've done pretty much all the work on them you're going to (this is in your interest, because other people will see them), and that they're not somehow crippled (low resolution or whatever).

Given how I work – with film – what I actually do is to say that if I get anything printable I will give them good prints of those frames. Here 'good prints' means that they're either good work prints or essentially final prints, but often they are smaller than what I might make to show (most people don't really want 12x16 or larger prints, and they're a pain to post). I would not mat prints I gave people as it takes ages to do that. People tend to be quite happy with this, especially as a reasonably nice handmade print is not that usual a thing nowadays.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your thoughts. I just noticed an ad for a photographer on a modelling site, from a model I previously did a TFP shoot with, and to whom I said I would not provide her with any more of my images. Her ad specifies she wants the photographer to provide "50 images per hour" during the shoot, so she can post to her Insta account. I guess you can only have 2 out of the 3: quality, quantity, and free. :P \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7, 2019 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ross - That's obviously someone who has no appreciation of the value of your [or anyone's] time & effort. Avoid. Run, don't walk away ;) I think it's probably spelled, e.n.t.i.t.l.e.m.e.n.t \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 8, 2019 at 8:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually thinking through the logistics of her expectation there. I work in film/TV so I've seen some serious work being done on set to get the director rushes when there's a lot of CGI compositing to be done to check shots line up etc… so - you're shooting tethered to your editor's computer. He's rough-sorting & feeding anything half decent to a NAS. Your touch-up artist grabs them from the NAS to edit [might take 2 artists to edit 50 pics an hour] They feed their results to the model's personal assistant, who vets & hands off to her aide to keep the images posting in a timely manner. LOL \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 8, 2019 at 9:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @RossDuggan: I'm experimenting with large-format street portraits (or trying to). 50 images in an hour is some kind of fever dream for me: I might get one per full day of work. \$\endgroup\$
    – user82065
    Sep 8, 2019 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ tlb - take your phone instead - that might just keep up with her expectations ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 8, 2019 at 9:09

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