SEEN Model Management

Escort Etiquette

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As a photographer or an agency the issue of models bringing an escort or chaperone to a photoshoot comes up. Just like watermarks on images it can be a subject of debate. The issue is often discussed when we book a model for either a paid or trade shoot. If the topic hasn’t been brought up or isn’t part of the call sheet or questions remain, we will raise the subject. Bottomline, sometimes a model having an escort or chaperone during a photoshoot is completely acceptable and desired.

What is an escort or chaperone you ask? Basically, it’s a family member, friend or another model who accompanies the model to the photoshoot. They will stay during the photoshoot (either on location or close by).

Why allow an escort or chaperone? The model may be new and therefore a bit nervous, the model may be the youngest person at a photoshoot, having a friendly face on hand can help the model relax and better represent the mood board. This applies to brand new and sometimes experienced models regardless of the development.

As a general rule we ask that the photographer or creative director allow an escort to accompany the model if under 18 years old, is unsure of his / her surroundings, or the model is in development. As an agency we do not make it a requirement that an escort or chaperone is at every photoshoot. We treat each model booking on a case-by-case basis. Model’s are independent contractors so ultimately they will decide to accept a booking before we confirm their availability.

However, IF we ask the client if escorts is allowed the answer will influence our decision. Corporate, established or large teamed clients are obviously treated differently.

Trust me here, I’ve been on the receiving end of some horrible escorts situations. Parents that get involved or sit with the model during makeup or hair styling chatting away with everyone. Escorts that get in the model’s sightline and thus distract. Talking excessively. Bumping into equipment. Making comments about back of camera images. I’ve had to ask escorts to leave. Not good.

Therefore to avoid such challenges we make sure certain rules are followed. They generally are:

  • Escorts do NOT interfere, interact or get in the way of the photoshoot. This includes interacting with the model while in makeup, styling or changing.

  • The escort may not take behind the scenes photos or videos (even for social media) unless given the OK in advance.

  • The escort may help the model organize / setup items brought, but they should not go into the changing room / space unless approved by the photographer.

  • The escort will not ask or be required to assist during the photoshoot.

  • The escort should not bring food to the photoshoot.

  • The escort should be outside of the sightline during the photoshoot portion of the booking.

  • The escort should not talk on the phone while at the photoshoot.

  • Specific requests by the photographer or client are respected.

Essentially, the escort is there but not there.

As an agency we want the photoshoot and booking experience as easy and business-like as possible. We’ve found that allowing escorts or chaperones to accompany the model in some situations works out for everyone. This is why we raise the subject during the booking process so there is zero confusion.

There should be a dialogue during the booking process whether you are booking with us, working with a freelance model, a model asking to work with a photographer, a client working with an agency. It should always be a topic during the booking process.

As always if there are ever any questions, just ask!

TFP (Time For Photo)

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Time for Photo, Time for Print, Trade for Photos, Test for Prints, Test for Photos, etc., etc. or simply “TFP” is commonly used for photoshoots.  However, TFP is often misunderstood or misused.

OK, but what exactly is TFP? Basically, it’s a FREE photoshoot. No one on the creative team is paid for the photoshoot.

Two caveats, first, unless the photoshoot is simply for fun or practice then models, makeup artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist or the photographer EXPECT to be PAID so don't be surprised if your TFP request isn't accepted. Secondly, many DON’T do TFP.

Think of TFP as a collaboration. If a TFP is agreed, ALL parties must receive benefit (mutual consideration) from the photoshoot because there is no payment for their time and effort. Payment is in the form of practice and / or edited images in most cases. All parties need to be confident the collaboration & end result justifies their time.

Examples of collaboration is that the model gets practice and cool images, the photographer gets to work with a new model and his images for his / her portfolio, a MUA gets to try out a new product, a hair stylist gets to use the images for his / her portfolio. You get the idea. 

A third caveat is photoshoots for magazine submission that are not commissioned are normally done TFP.  This is especially true for the growing number of online or print-on-demand magazines.

So now that you know it’s a free photoshoot, what are a few tips organizing a TFP.

  • This sounds simple, but someone needs to initiate the request. Anyone can request a TFP. The photographer, agency, model, MUA, etc.
  • Everyone should contribute to the TFP photoshoot and understand what each party is doing. Don’t make the originator do everything.
  • When requesting TFP, MAKE SURE YOU ARE CLEAR you’re requesting TFP.  There is nothing more annoying than reaching out to someone with a line like “I love your style; would you like to shoot together”. You think it’s a request for TFP, but find out they want to be paid. Be clear right quick.
  • Be specific WHAT YOU OFFER. Example for a model would be, “Hi, I love your portfolio. I would like to know if you are open to a TFP photoshoot. I can arrange the makeup, hair and fashion”? A photographer reaching out to an agency can say “…here is my portfolio, would any of your new faces or models in development be available to shoot TFP. I would provide 5 edited license free images in return”. You get the idea.
  • If you are arranging the TFP then YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for the basics or making sure they are done: call sheet, mood board, what is being provided, how many images will be provided, turnaround time, etc.
  • Don’t be surprised if you are turned down.  Don’t take offense.
  • If you are the photographer then KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS. Don’t be one of those photographers that doesn’t keep their commitment to return edited photos as agreed. That gets around fast. Also, blow off your commitments to an agency and say goodbye to that relationship.
  • Document everything with all the creative members via email.
  • If making a TFP request with an agency you may not get the model you want. The agency may offer models that need the practice or images for their portfolio. This is especially true if you are just starting your relationship with the agency. And don't be surprised if you get no response.
  • A booking agency may respond differently than a mother agency because of different needs. 

SEEN Model Management offers TFP SELECTIVELY.

As an agency, our number 1, 2 & 3 priority is to develop our models, book-out our models for paid gigs / get placed, and help our models develop a portfolio.  TFP fits nicely into these priorities.  However, it’s done selectively.

What can you expect from SEEN Model Management if you request TFP?

  • We will treat your request with respect.
  • Before offering TFP we will ask about your budget.
  • We will request information highlighted in the Testing blog post
  • Unless AGREED in ADVANCE TFP is NOT for submission to any publications.
  • You will need to agree that TFP photoshoots are not used for commercial purposes.
  • Not all models are available for TFP.  If you request a specific model, they may not be available.
  • All communications need to go through the agency. We ask that you don’t schedule a TFP or any photoshoot directly with the model.  Reach out to us at booking@seenmodel.com
  • If you’ve shot TFP with SEEN Model we might ask you to book a paid shoot the next time.

TFP is regularly used in the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask, but be mindful of what is normally required.