WORKING FOR TIME AND HOW TO GET A MODEL PORTFOLIO FOR FREE Working for time is a cooperation for mutual benefit: The model puts in her (his) time, resources and effort and the photographer does the same. No money changes hands. Both, the model and the photographer cover their own expenses and benefit from each other's skills and talents. The model's fee consists of photographic images. Typically, the photographs are supplied as digital files, either on CD (time for CD or TFCD), for download from the photographer's website (TFDL, time for download) or, rarely nowadays, as prints (PFT or prints for time, sometimes also called TFP time for prints). Other terms you may come across are test, testing, test shoot – but this is not the same, so check the details before agreeing to anything. Working for time also means that nobody has commissioned the photographer to take the photographs. The photographer does what is termed personal work. Working for time is meant to be a low budget affair. More often than not, the model will be required to do her own hair and make-up, and supply her own clothes. Approach a working for time shoot with professionalism. It is not just a laugh. Treat it as work, not a bit of fun. Of course, you are allowed to have fun at work. Remember that you are a partner in the project. There has to be a fair balance of responsibilities. Don't expect the photographer to do all the work and do not expect the photographer to treat the shoot simply as a free portfolio shoot for you. You, the model, do not only have the right to digital files (or prints) but also the responsibility to put your best efforts, imagination, creativity and heart into it. The photographer, too, must get something out of a working for time shoot. Inexperienced models are often no good at spotting a mediocre photographer: Aspiring models may believe that it is really attractive to receive a large number of images immediately after the shoot. Think again! Only the very inexperienced or the extremely naÃ¯ve assume that it is a seductive proposal by default. In a portfolio you want quality, not quantity. Lesser photographers tend to produce quantity rather than quality. Lack of expertise is compensated for with the assumption that the more photos you take, the higher your chances are that a good one happens by accident. It is not in your interest to receive a copy of every photograph taken. The photographer should take the time to edit the photos and only give you a selection of the best. You do not have the expertise to select the right images from a large collection. Digital or print, a good photograph requires work after it has been taken – and I do not mean digital trickery on a mediocre picture. If you are presented with a CD immediately after the shoot, the photographer has not had the time to do any post-production work on the images (or could not be bothered or did not know how to). Typical post-production work would include adjustments to colour and contrast, removing specs of dust, which may be visible, and sizing the photographs properly and converting them to the correct colour space for the intended use (usually the Internet). No self-respecting photographer wants to release photos that are anything but very good. From a large number of photographs taken during a shoot, only a few will meet the demanding criteria a photographer should impose on himself. Many photos from a shoot are just not good enough for a variety of reasons – technically, compositionally, pose-wise. I know of people, who think that just because a photograph is in focus and correctly exposed, it is a good photograph. Bless 'em. If you are offered a copy of everything, you are working with a photographer, who does not take (or does not know how to take) pride in his/her work. Not a good idea!