TFP / TFCD Photo Shoot Singapore
What is TFP or TFCD photo shoot?
TFCD means Time for Compact Disk (CD) and TFP means Time for Print. Some people may use "trade" or "test" instead of "time" or even reverse it like PFT (Print for Time). Both TFCD and TFP have similar meaning, such that the photographer, model, stylist, makeup artist, hairstylist and fashion designer would work together (trade their time) in a project for free to help building up their portfolios or simply for self interest. At the minimal, the photographer and model would take up all the roles.
In the past, the photographer would give the model printouts (hardcopy photographs) for TFP photoshoot, while a compact disk (CD) for TFCD photoshoot. However, with the improvement in technology nowadays, many photographers would prefer sending the final work through the internet while some simply share via Facebook. Therefore, nobody should expect to receive a printout or CD even though they are doing "TFCD" or "TFP" photoshoot. Some TFCD photographers may be dying to meet up with the models again and thus insist on providing a CD.
The model needs not be a professional/wannabe model nor require any modelling experience, same goes for the other parties. If one party demands for "transportation fee", it is no longer considered a TFCD shoot. The number of photographs given by the photographer is to be discussed between the team. Some photographers may give all unedited photographs to the models but good (in skill) and decent photographers would usually give a couple of well processed photographs.
You may be interested to read: TFP / TFCD Tips for Models & Photographers
This page is very informative but, unfortunately, lengthy (Yes, I know).
Therefore, if I have already agreed to do a shoot with you, at the minimal, you should read and understand the Terms and Conditions section. However, if you wish to build a better rapport with me in order to receive better quality photographs, you should take your time to go through everything.
Hello stranger, please go through everything before you approach me - save both our time and avoid you getting embarrassed.
Purposes of this TFCD page
I have spent lots of time and effort in writing and updating (very frequently) this page even though many half-hearted can't-be-bothered people do not read before approaching me. It only makes them look ugly when they show their true colours during our conversations. The purposes of this page are to:
Through the encounters with all the makeup artists, made-up artists, models and "models" who have approached me, I can see that there is a very unhealthy trend for TFCD shoot. It is likely due to their previous experiences in casual shoots that give them the wrong ideas on the procedure of a proper shoot and their expectations. Many people are not cooperating in the planning phase and they also have many weird and unreasonable requests/demands. I believe most people do not mean any harm but they do insult photographers unintentionally.
I started off with zero knowledge but I'm lucky that a commercial makeup artist has been guiding me on the rights of photographers and proper ground rules.
Reduce number of weird "models" approaching me
I receive requests for TFCD shoots frequently. My time is very flexible but extremely tight, to the extent that I have to turn down clients sometimes. Whenever a "model" approaches me for TFCD shoot, I have to spend a lot of time looking at her photographs and discussing with her while determining her character, working style and expectation. Therefore, everyone who approaches me will take up a lot of my time regardless whether we do go ahead with the shoot or not. Besides, I can get soft-hearted easily and thus I have to "get rid of" unsuitable models before they contact me.
When I mention "weird", I literally mean it, especially in term of attitude. Browse around my website or ask me directly for the stories, and you will understand why I have to defer people from approaching me.
As I pile up with more information, including requirements, here, I have successfully reduced the number of enquiries even though my portfolio and marketing are improving tremedously. Of course, people who approach me through my social media profiles and have not read this page do continue to give me problems. I'm also sure that the length of this page has driven away many potential models who can help me to create very good work - I cannot help it.
Reduce redundant typing work and be consistent
Whenever any model approaches me, I will give the URL of this page to her directly and this has saved me from typing the rules and procedure over and over again. Moreover, this page will prevent me from missing out any important point.
Avoid wasting anyone's time
Since I have stated the rules clearly, the model can go away if she does not agree with them as to prevent wasting of anyone's time. It is absolutely a waste of time for models to contact me and realise we have different views halfway through the discussion.
Avoid any miscommunication/misunderstanding
I try to stay as friends with people who approach me, especially those I get to work with. It is better for us to remain as strangers than to fall out during the process - before, during or after the shoot. One major problem is that many "photographers" have spoiled the "models" and thus they may have ridiculous expectations like as if they are paying for my photography services.
I have vast experience dealing with people and have encountered countless unappreciating ones. Most people will sound enthusiastic when they first approach me but eventually vanish into the thin air after we have happily discussed or even agreed on the shoot, thus wasting my time and effort. Some HMUAs are forever "busy". I'm a talkative person by nature but after all the disappointments I have encountered, I have to put on a more serious tone before the shoot to discourage half-hearted people from wasting my time further. Therefore, do not be shocked when I start cracking jokes during the shoot - you should feel very glad instead.
My goals for doing TFCD Shoot
My portfolio is already sufficient to showcase the quality of my work and thus marketing is the biggest goal for me to do TFCD shoot. While I'm helping potential models to create their portfolios, I'm expecting them to help me to do some marketing. The minimum thing they can do is to help advertising for my social media profiles, such as Facebook page and Instagram page.
For the sake of both marketing value and my interest in getting more varieties of portfolio, I'm looking for more interesting or provocative themes to work on, which will more likely go viral.
Expand portfolio at ease
Everyone can appear pretty in photographs with the help of a very good hair and makeup artist, and good planning of the shoot by the photographer. However, it depends on the looks to determine the effort to be spent. For TFCD shoot, I'm looking for good-looking models so that I can produce beautiful photographs easily, especially without the help of any hair and makeup artist.
Try/practise new shooting style or equipment
There are countless different shooting styles and equipment (lenses and light modifiers). They require hands-on to try out in order to understand and get used to.
Test "new" make-up artists
I practise cautious and will at least have a test shoot with the make-up artists before introducing them to clients. This will help to discover the make-up artists' skill and attitudes.
Help potential models and make-up artists
It is my habit to try to help others within my capability. Of course, I will only help people who really deserve it in term of their attitude.
Make friends of same interest
No man is an island and we need friends who share the same interest. I have enjoyed working with most of the people who have spent effort in creating art work with me. People who have worked with me will understand my true passion in the art. We may not be free to keep in touch but the photographs do remind us of the beautiful moments.
Learn new things (photography and others)
No one knows everything. I have been picking up knowledge of all kind even from new models.
Terms and Conditions for TFCD photoshoot
I learn things through the hard way. Doing a proper photoshoot may seem easy but it actually takes lots of planning, such as the theme, location, time and outfits; no random stuff.
The terms and conditions listed below are created after encountering real problems through my experience. They are included to improve the quality of photographs and avoid any future dispute with anyone. These are mostly common sense but many models who have some experience shooting with other photographers, especially hobbyists, are likely to have disregarded them.
By doing photoshoot with me, you agree to the following terms and conditions:
1. All Phases:
- Cancellation by me. If I fail to tolerate your working style, attitude, uncooperativeness or lack of trust in me, we will call off the shoot at any point of time.
- Cancellation by you. You can cancel the shoot at any point of time as well; however, it will reflect on your character since you already know the rules and my character and working style - all written on this website - before you decide to shoot with me. Remember that it takes up lots of my time and effort to plan, including the initial discussion with you.
- Priority. You place top priority in the shoot and not change the date and time due to your last minute stuff like lesson (piano or driving etc) or your brother wants you to accompany him - unless your mum is giving birth.
- Slow replies. If you take ages (over 24 hours) to reply messages during the planning phase, you will be blacklisted. It will take "years" for us to do a proper planning anyway and I don't have the time to drag on with someone who obviously doesn't put enough priority.
- Do not tell me to Photoshop. Professional photographers put things correct at the shoot to reduce Photoshop work. If you have a scar or pimple that makeup cannot cover completely, it is fine. However, if you, for examples, use a bra with transparent/translucent straps or wear a shorts under your skirt that will somehow be visible easily, do not waste my time.
2. Planning Phase:
- Providing information. If you refuse to give me information such as your contact number for Whatsapp, you are giving up the opportunity to work with me.
- Judging you. Show me your photographs, preferably Facebook, to find out your style and personality. If I cannot even see your looks (face and full body) to judge properly, it shows your intelligence.
- Restriction. Let me know of any concern and restriction, including the terms stated here. For example, if you are highly allergy to grass or dust, let me know.
- Your escort. If you need to bring a female escort along for the shoot, let me know immediately when you contact me. You can bring along a female friend but she has to be useful enough to assist you at least in tidying up your hair and securing my equipment, such as light stand and modifier from the wind. Do not behave like she is a real escort because that can be an insult to my character and professionalism.
- Theme, date, time, outfits. You are very welcome to suggest some themes, outfits and location but I have the final say. Time of shoot should not fall between 9am and 3pm, unless we are doing an indoor shoot. Preferably on a weekday.
- Building trust. Read about me, this page and look at my portrait photography portfolio to know both my working and shooting style. You are likely able to judge my character through them as well.
- Knowing your taste. Tell me your favourite album(s) of mine and show me some other people's photographs that you like for me to understand your taste. However, do not expect me to produce the exact same work.
- Show your outfit(s). You put on the outfit(s) and snap a full body (including your face) photograph each for me. Don't ask me to visualise how the outfits will look on you. After confirming the outfit(s), the makeup artist (if available) will also need to know what exactly what we are shooting in order to get prepared. It is also to avoid (repeated) cases of miscommunication or last minute lost of outfits.
- Availability of hair and makeup artist. If a hair and makeup artist is available, you have to work with her instead of doing your own.
3. Before shooting:
- Personal grooming. Take care of your personal hygiene and grooming - nails, complexion, eyebrows etc. Sleep early the night before to be in tip top condition and your skin will be able to absorb makeup better.
- Hair and Makeup. If a hair and makeup artist is involved, you may need to go in naked face to avoid wasting of time to remove your own makeup; otherwise, you have to put on at least basic makeup by yourself. I emphasize a lot on eyebrows. Your hair has to be dry for hairstyling - make sure you shower earlier.
- Choice of bra and underwear. Strictly no bras with transparent/translucent straps. Depending on the outfit, if you have a push-up or nude bra, use it. If you are wearing an outfit like a tube top, use a strapless bra. For bodycon/figure-hugging clothes, use seamless bra and panty, nipple tapes or nude bra. Make sure the bra and underwear are similar colour to your skin or outfit. You may consider using stickers instead of bra when necessary. Safety pants may be useful for certain clothes but they have to be very short. If theme/outfit requires, you have to go braless.
- Avoid bra marks. For example, if you are going to wear a tube top/dress for the shoot, you must not wear a bra with straps that may leave marks on your shoulders for hours.
- Full outfits. If it is not intended (eg. lingerie or glamour shoot), no part of your underwear or even nude bra should be exposed because it will give a sleazy or lazy feel to the photographs. This is one of the reasons why you are required to take photographs of yourself in your outfit(s) during the planning phase - to avoid mismatching.
- Presence of third party. I will inform you before the shoot if my assistant and/or makeup artist, if available, will be tagging along. I will try to keep the team to all female to avoid any uneasiness for you (and I), but there is no guarantee to this since most of my friends who drive are male and they can help to carry my equipment. If we are doing any indoor shooting and none of my female assistants is available, I may request you to bring along a female friend of yours.
4. During shooting:
- Duration. You have to set aside at least four hours for the actual shoot, excluding makeup and hairstyling. Of course, we can end the shoot earlier if things go very well.
- Model release form. At the beginning of the shoot, you may be required to sign a model release form, which is mainly for you to acknowledge all rights of the photographs belong to me even though it is a common knowledge that photographers own the rights and agreements in digital form is also a contract. This will eliminate all disputes in future and such that I will not be wasting my time to do the shoot.
- Positive mindset. You have to trust the concept/theme and also be confident of yourself, else your expression will spoil the photographs. If you think the concept/theme is weird and will not work, you have to voice out during the planning phase.
- Your suggestions. My working style is exploring and sharing of ideas. You are very welcome to make suggestion but not demand.
- Be accommodating. You are expected to walk as we find good spots at the site. You are expected to sit, squat, kneel or lie down - do not complain about getting dirty unless you have voiced out before the shoot.
- Sneak preview. You can look at the photographs on my camera if both time and my camera's battery permit. I may even request you to see to improve on your posture/expression or build your confidence during the shoot. However, you cannot make any request, demand or whatever term you would use to make me send you any photograph just because you think it is nice or whatever.
5. After shooting:
- Third person viewing of photographs. Photographs may be vetted through by my post-production team (could be a commercial makeup artist) even if she is not involved in the shoot.
- Wait for final photographs. You do not chase me for the photographs if you are not paying me. It may take up to a month or longer to process the photographs, especially if no professional hair and makeup hair artist is involved or if you do not have good complexion. I will not give any promise that would make me rush out some unsatisfactory work. Obviously I also want to finish the photographs fast and move on to collaborate with other models. Unfortunately, it is difficult to schedule shooting projects and thus some may fall into same period of time - do expect to wait longer. I have my work and other paid shoots, which will take higher priority than TFCD shoot. Do not ask me to make exception to send you one or two photographs soon for whatever reason.
- No expectation in quality of products. Do not have any expectation of the products - different people have different taste in arts. Do not tell me to re-edit any photograph to your liking when you choose to trust me in the first place by working with me.
- Number of edited photographs. Around one to six. This is roughly around one to two photographs for each outfit if we are doing fashion shoot for three outfits. I will try to provide more photographs if the quality (not too much editing work is needed) is good and time permits. In cases that your makeup, hair or expression is not up to standard and beyond my limited Photoshop skill to touch up, I will try to give you a few "behind-the-scene" photographs for your personal keepsake instead.
- No raw photograph. Only the edited photographs in JPG format with watermark (copyright) embedded will be given to you, via online download.
6. After receiving photographs:
- You do not edit/crop any photograph. You do not edit or crop any of the photographs in any way. You may be a designer or somehow have knowledge in Lightroom or PhotoShop, you do not insult my work. If you are going to post them inside Instagram, do click on the feature to upload picture of the original ratio and do not add any filter.
- Copyright. I own all rights to the photographs and will put them up online, such as this website, as my portfolio, or submit them for competition. You have no rights to reject or make me remove the photographs at any point of time.
- Credit to me. Credit to me (my Facebook page, Instagram page and this photography website) when you post your photographs anywhere.
- Tagging you. Marketing is my top priority in doing TFCD shoot. I will upload the photographs into my social media profiles, such as Facebook page and Instagram, and tag you on the photographs.
- No mention of TFCD. Do direct all enquiries about prices to me.
- Referral. If you have a very good model who may benefit my portfolio, do suggest to me.
I'm a professional freelance photographer who gets paid by taking up photoshoot projects for/with my clients. I do, however, take up selective TFCD shoot with people who can benefit my photography and portfolio, and mostly for marketing purpose.
You request for a shoot with me only if you are (1) fascinated by my portfolio, trust my (2) professionalism and (3) ability in delivering excellent and unique work. If you think other photographers can produce similar or better work, kindly not waste my time because you are likely not going to put in enough effort even for the long and tedious discussion. Many time-wasters have trained me very well in judging people due to the frequent request.
If you are going to request for TFCD shoot with me, do bear these in mind during discussion to ensure better communication.
- I'm a professional photographer who makes money through photography; every portrait shoot is worth minimum of $360, and usually, much more.
- There are many "photographers" out there and many can please you even at the cost of the quality of the photographs - I don't and I can't. There are also "photographers" who may even want to pay you to "shoot".
- I don't owe anyone anything; be respectful and don't be demanding.
- I hate people doubting my professionalism; work with me only if you trust me.
- I hate people taking me for granted; if I'm helping you, you better make sure the shoot will benefit me as well. If you're not a model who can "wow" everyone just by showing your face, don't ask me to do shoots that my clients will be paying me to do, unless your "casual" clothes are very special.
- Even if you are popular among guys, it doesn't mean your fashion sense and self grooming knowledge and skill are acceptable.
- I'm not interested in taking advantage of your body; don't even offer.
Steps/stages for the shoot
The simplified steps...
- Read the Terms and Conditions (most important)
- Contact me with the details I need from you
- Discuss and plan for the shoot while I continue to monitor your character and attitude
- We confirm and do the actual shoot
- You wait for the photographs
- Once the final photographs are ready, I will give you a web link to download them
- Market for my services - tag me at wherever you upload the photos at without cropping (especially in Instagram) them
TFCD team-mates I'm seeking
Due to time constraint (I'm not born with a silver spoon), I'm only doing limited and selective TFCD photoshoots with good people when I'm free or decide to take a break from commercial work. I usually work with my friends or friends' friends, with reasonable amount of IQ and EQ, who can benefit my portfolio and are more mature-minded (age doesn't define maturity) for ease of communication.
I will rope in people who have worked with me before (and can click) for any commercial project in future. Of course, if I were to get paid for any project, I will not let my team-mates go home empty-handed. As for TFCD shoot, no one should demand for any remuneration, not even for food or transportation.
- Appearance: Good looking - subjected to my preference
- Easygoing and accommodating
- Reasonable amount of IQ and EQ
- Have the time for discussion and follow up
Everyone has different taste; you may look better than you think you are.
Will be a bonus if you...
- are a dancer, gymnast, cheerleader or yogi
- are sexy, elegant or charismatic
- are creative
- are confident
- are popular / have many followers
- own varities of clothes
- know basic makeup and hairstyling
- have an interesting or unique personality
- can fit into the themes that I wish to create
- make extra effort to find out about me
Note: I'm only doing one or two themes of my choice for each shoot. For models who are looking to own a full professional modelling portfolio that can show different styles, do engage my photography services instead. Nevertheless, some new models are able to secure jobs after just a single shoot with me.
Hair & Makeup artist (HMUA)
For makeup artists and hairstylists, I'm looking for passionate and committed ones to work on a long term basis. Since I do a lot of outdoor shoots, the HMUA has to be able to work in harsh situations and not demand for air-con room with comfortable seat and a big mirror. She should have a certain level of EQ to ensure smoothness in the collaboration.
As much as I would love to help amateurs, I hope after they have built up their portfolios, they can still occasionally sacrifice some time to help my future potential models in TFCD photoshoot.
I usually carry my full equipment along for shoot just in case they may come in use. Therefore, my bags are usually heavy and bulky. I would need an assistant to share the load with me as we travel from places to places, and also to help securing the lighting from strong wind during the outdoor shoot. The female assistant can also assist the model like positioning the hair since a male photographer should refrain from having any physical contact with a female model, although, adjusting of hair should be fine, given permission from the model.
A third party's presence during the shoot may cause uneasiness not only for the model but also me (I'm self conscious), and affect our performance. Therefore, the character and attitude of the assistant matter a lot. Since I'm working with female models most of the time, I'm also keeping my assistants' gender to female only, in order to lessen the impact of the female model feeling uncomfortable.
Find out more at photographer assistants needed.
I'm only looking at one to three pieces of outfits that may suit my future shoot. The advantage is purely marketing of the brand - I do not do free catalogue shoot for any designer or business - engage my photography services instead. If the quality of your wardrobe is poor, you should just skip me.
I'm fortunate that there are a handful of girls approaching me for shoot every month. Unfortunately, most of them have wasted my time somehow. For example, some girls have very packed schedule at the point of time when they approach me and they eventually go MIA after our discussion despite showing their enthusiasm throughout. Perhaps, they are just half-hearted.
There are also a handful of HMUAs who have approached me as well but our schedules can never match. Most HMUAs who are available for TFCD work have a full-time job that has occupied her weekday slots.
Self checking by models
- Are you pretty, sexy or do you have an interesting personality?
- Are you open-minded?
- Have you seen my portfolio and do you think I can produce better (tasteful, interesting and good quality) work than most other photographers?
- Do you trust me that I won't take advantage of you during the shoot?
- Do you have your photos (close-up and full body) ready to send me to decide whether to shoot with you?
- Do you have the time and patience to discuss and reply me fast?
- Do you have the time and patience to take selfie photos in your outfits to show me?
- Are you available within a week from now?
- Are you able to wake up to take the first train to do an early morning shoot if necessary?
If you answer no to any of the questions above, do not contact me for TFCD shoot. You can engage my photography services instead.
Details required from models
- If I can't get a clear picture of your looks (figure and naked face), I can't confirm you.
- If I don't get to see (not imagine through your description) your outfits, I can't confirm the theme/style.
To understand your physical looks, your character, your need, your availability and whether you can fit into any shoot that I'm looking for, please provide me with the following details/items immediately:
(You may copy and paste them and include your answers by the side of each item.)
1. Your purpose of doing the shoot (e.g. just for fun or for modelling portfolio).
2. Your age.
3. Your height and weight.
4. Your full body vital statistics.
5. Your home location.
6. Your makeup and hair-styling skill.
7. Themes that you are interested in (if applicable).
8. The portrait album(s) of mine you like most.
9. Your restrictions (e.g. no nude, implied nude, lingerie, swimwear, low-cut, short bottom... etc).
10. Your recent full body and closed-up photographs (both with and without makeup if possible).
11. Links to your social media profiles that are viewable.
12. How would working with you benefit me in my photography. (eg. you're pretty, versatile, easygoing, popular... etc. There's no right or wrong answer.)
13. What do you like and hate about your looks?
If you approach me without providing the details/items above, I may mistake you as a weirdo and ignore you. You can carry on with your compliments for me but it will not help in determine your eligibility.
If you're not the kind of model whom I'm looking for, we can still make friends, given that you have good attitude.
Why do I reject models' requests for shoot?
Most of the time, I do not reject requests - they (models and model-wannabes) are the ones who have rejected themselves. Arrogance, half-heartedness, low self-esteem, lack of trust are the main killers. Photography is my passion and it means having fun for me; thus I need not put up with people who are not paying me any cent. I seek not to waste any time and effort and thus I will want to make sure every shoot is properly planned to a certain extent.
The girl approaches me and when she says her phone's battery is going flat or she is going to bed, she does not get back to me again.
- Too busy The girl approaches me but she is not available until the next month. The girl replies me a few lines after a few days. The girl does not have the time to take photographs of her outfits to show me.
- Alien The girl does not have any clear and recent photographs of herself to let me judge her looks. The girl claims to be an ex-model but she does not have any portfolio or modelling photograph to show me.
- Unflattering appearance The girl has major flaws physically or simply below average looking, and will never produce good photographs without extreme makeover and that the angle of shoot will be very limited.
- Lack of self-grooming knowledge/skill The girl looks average but has poor self-grooming skill when it is difficult to get a HMUA for TFCD shoot.
- Over-confident / arrogant The girl thinks her makeup skill and fashion sense are excellent and needs no help when she is actually wrong. The girl does not heed any advice/feedback because she is flawless. The girl thinks she can produce any kind of good expression but she is actually very stiff inside her portfolio and casual photographs.
- Poor fashion sense The girl has only very boring clothes that limits the shoot to normal fashion shoot that clients will be paying me to do, even though nice/stylish clothes do not need to be expensive.
- Lack of trust The girl has trust issue and doubts my professionalism just because there are many black sheep out there. The girl thinks I want to stalk her when I try to find out her residential address to plan for a suitable shooting location. The girl subconsciously knows most photographers shoot with her just because of her boobs and not looks, and she thinks every photographer only wants her to do porn.
- Low EQ The girl thinks the shoot is going to be sexual when she is being requested to use a set of clothes found in her Facebook photographs, taken besides her mum, that are covering her almost fully. The girl is simply not very good in communication. The girl suggests doing certain themes and rejects them.
- Unfairness The girl rejects certain types of shoot that can help me more in marketing, such as swimwear, when she has already done with other photographer or friend, and obviously I can produce more tasteful and professional work.
- Selfish The girl is only interested in doing themes that she wants that will not benefit my portfolio. The girl is making use of me so that she can showcase her sponsored items or even own apparatus for sales.
- Over-conservative The girl can do very limited themes while her looks and fashion sense do not help me much in my portfolio.
- Poor taste in judging photographs The girl does not know how to differentiate between good and bad photographs, and she will approach any person with camera to shoot - she will never make special effort for any good photographer because she can get any random "photographer" easily. The girl thinks she has done a photoshoot for certain theme or at certain location just because her previous "photographer" was using a DSLR, and thus reject the idea directly.
- Inflexible The girl has issues with timings, location, outfits...
- Low self-esteem / over-sensitive The girl thinks I'm rejecting her when I have not. The girl thinks I'm saying she is fat and rejecting her when I tell her she still has many days or weeks to tone up her body before the confirmed shooting date.
- Postponement of shoot The girl has something on that is more important than the earlier arranged day and time for the shoot.
- Spoiled by other photographers The girl has worked with "photographers" without proper planning and thus she ignorantly assumes a good photoshoot needs only agreement for the date, time, venue and "style of clothes" (without showing any picture).
Unfortunately, not everyone will show her true colours immediately. If it happens that I suddenly realise I cannot handle anyone's attitude or working style, I will call off the shoot even at the very last hour. I'm too exhausted to handle these people and also having the quality of my work being discounted due to their uncooperativeness.
For example, the most common bad attitude from models is that they do not show me the outfits that they are going to wear for the shoot. I have had enough of wardrobe malfunction, mismatch with the theme or location and last minute apologies that the outfits are missing or no longer fitting. It also causes me to be unable to visualize/plan the shoot just because the models think too highly of themselves, being unprofessional and indirectly disrespecting me as the photographer who is supposed to oversee everything.
Read: Good Models, Bad Models
Shoots / themes that I'm looking at
I do TFCD shoot mainly for marketing purpose. If you have the killer looks or figure, or have an interesting personality, it is easily achieveable with most kinds of theme and outfit. Otherwise, the only way to benefit me is to do either creative/unusual theme, art shoot, sexy fashion or glamour shoot. The usual kind of Garden Shoot with a normal model smiling at the camera will not benefit any professional photographer, except those who are simply looking for a date with the model.
Obviously, for every kind of shoot, I will keep them tasteful as seen in my existing portfolio; my reputation is at stake.
I can't describe my ideas in full details in my modelling casting calls because I do not want others to pick up and do before me. Some of the creative themes I have already done are a basketball theme, posing with musical instruments or even toy figurine. I have also tried to shoot at unusual places like abandoned houses although most of them are already being cordoned off by the authority.
Although I have never learnt dancing, I do appreciate dances a lot. Gymnasts, cheerleaders, yogis can also do very artistic moves to capture the souls of the viewers. Other kinds of art shoot can be like for examples, an elegant girl in dress floating in the water or even an emo girl on the street while I play with my lighting to create the mood.
Feminine/Sexy fashion shoot
Sexiness will usually attract more attention, which will help a lot in marketing. A sexy fashion shoot usually involves outfits like bodycon dress, bareback dress, short dress, bikini or low-cut top that will show off cleavage. Unfortunately, many "photographers" have produced low quality photographs that have printed negative thoughts on the shoot.
My style of doing sexy fashion shoot is different from most "photographers" - I keep my work very stylish and tasteful - not sleazy at all. The photographs will be leaning toward high fashion style.
While fashion shoots are about showing off of the wardrobes, glamour shoots are more about showing off of the woman's body. They are, for examples, lingerie (boudoir) or unbuttoned shirt with or without wearing bra; sky is the limit. Glamour shoot does not refer to simply nude shoot. Of course, for my shoot, all private parts must not be shown in pictures.
Many clients who have the real spending power are young or middle-aged adults who want to do glamour shoot to keep the photographs as memory before they turn old. A couple of potential clients have approached and complimented me on my work, but they think I do not have enough glamour work to showcase to them. Therefore, I'm giving higher priority to models who will take up glamour shoot.
Benefits of shooting with me
My styling mentor, Tricia Lee, is an experienced professional commercial makeup artist who has taught me to look out for flaws in the photographs. Both of us have a high standard for artistic/tasteful photographs, and thus no sexy theme will become porn-like.
Quality of photographs
I will be doing FULL editing to the photographs to what I will do for commercial standard, which will take hours for each individual photograph. Therefore, it requires lots of time and effort, and I'm not able to give you too many photographs.
You will be able to get some decent quality photographs if you can cooperate fully with me. You can judge the quality from my portfolio and compare them with other photographers' work. I may not have the equipment and assistants to create award-winning photographs yet, at least, clients are willing to pay me to have their photographs taken by me.
I do not force any model to do anything that is obviously dangerous.
You want to feel safe no matter how much or little you are going to wear during the shoot. I have heard stories from models about what many "photographers" try to do during the shoot. I'm a guy but I know how to respect my models. We are likely to be doing outdoor photoshoot in the public, unless you can provide an indoor location for the shoot or the theme requires us to be in indoor. I do not even touch my models to pose them during the shoot - you can verify this with the models who have worked with me before. What I'm eyeing for is to produce good art work.
I will send you the photographs, as a form of respect, before I upload them anywhere, unless you do not reply to my text fast (within a day) or even go MIA somehow.
If you happen to shoot with any blacklisted photographer, people who see the photographs may be wondering what may have happened during the shoot and your reputation is at stake. I may not be the best guy on earth in term of character, but I'm better than most people.
No blaming game
There're many factors contributing to the success of a shoot and often, unforeseeable problems may surface, including bad weather. Even if our photoshoot doesn't turn out well due to you lacking modelling experience, you won't be blamed if you've cooperated with me. That means you should have done things such as sending photographs of you in the outfits during planning phase and turning up on time for the actual shoot.
Reasons you should not work with me
I'm not sure what other photographers can do to please you for TFCD photoshoot, but I have my limit and I'm not going to "spoil the market" (set bad trend, kill the rights of photographers... etc) even though it is already in a mess now. I'm a person who is endlessly trying to make every friend happy and satisfied, but please be mindful that I'm not trying to bed you.
I do not just count on luck to produce good work; I do my best in planning. Even if the final product turns out to be less pleasing than expected due to unforeseeable problems, I will be glad that I have tried my best. That means my model has to cooperate with me during planning phase, including discussion of the exact outfit(s) to be used. It just takes a few minutes to snap photographs and send me to make sure we are on the same and right track and that I can visualise the shoot better. From my experience, models who give excuses not to show me the actual outfits beforehand are over-confident and lack of real experience and likely not easy to work with.
I will not blindly say you are pretty when you are not, and I may point out flaws for you to improve/hide. If you have low self esteem or is doubtful of people (their intentions), you will probably feel offended. Furthermore, your admirers must have been worshipping you in social media without pointing out your flaws that may make you unable to accept the reality that no one is perfect.
You do not get a free chauffeur to fetch and send you home. You are expected to walk with me to find good spots for outdoor shooting. If you are lazy, do not force yourself and end up feeling frustrated. Just do not forget that photography gears are over 10kg and you do not have the right to complain if the photographer is not.
Have only a small makeshift studio
Most of the themes I tend to be interested in are more suitable for outdoor shooting. To put it simple, you are likely not going to have the comfort of having air-con or clean chair during the shoot. If necessary, I can borrow indoor places from friends to act like a studio.
For TFCD shoot, I may work on my own because my assistants are likely not available. Even if a makeup artist is present, I would avoid asking for assistance, unless I need to secure the lighting equipment from the wind. I do not like to abuse people. Therefore, I may need more time to set up my equipment, including securing them somehow. If you need someone to carry your stuff, do get your female friend along.
Low or no budget
I'm not born with silver spoon. I would rather spend the money for a TFCD shoot on buying equipment. If the item is very "small" and can make a big difference, I'm fine with it. I will persuade my team member(s) not to waste money as well. So, renting of studio or hotel is a no-no for my TFCD shoot, unless we have a sponsor.
Small number of photographs
If you weigh quantity over quality, you are going to be disappointed while I'm going to be even more disappointed in you. Even if you are lucky enough to get a good makeup artist to work together, your face will still be required to be touched up. It takes time to filter and edit photographs. I have experienced spending five hours just to touch up one photo to the extent that my wrist started aching. If I were to work on more photographs, I will not be able to keep up with my patience and there will be many photographs that are under-satisfactory despite you may not be able to tell the flaw(s). Lastly, if you are the type of person who wants a lot of photographs in the same outfit and location, trust me, you do not know how to appreciate photographs.
No raw photographs
If you are someone who knows a bit of PhotoShop or Lightroom, you still do not have the right to insult the photographer by implying that you can do the same or better post-processing job. The actual taking of photographs together with post-processing work represents the photographer's work. No good photographer will allow you to do editing work and credit to him; you are only going to tarnish his reputation. Of course, there are some "commercial" photographers who do this to please the "models" because they aim to enjoy the process of shooting naked models instead of creating additional art work for their own portfolios. Every shoot I do will be for my portfolio, although I'm trying to enjoy myself during the shoot, in a clean and decent way.
You do not get to choose the photographs
I may allow you to view the photographs on my camera and highlight which photographs you like a lot. However, the final decision lies with me. Firstly, photographers hold the rights and secondly, different people may have different opinions. You work with me because you trust my taste.
You are not allowed to edit or crop any photograph
Phototaking and post-processing (editing) come in a package, just like a baker who bakes and adds toppings at the surface of his cake. The final photographs that are sent to you are edited to my liking and you believe in my taste and skill as a photographer, or otherwise, pass a camera to your grandma to help you take photographs instead. That means if you like certain filter of an application or prefer the photograph in square dimension, you are still not allowed to edit.
I cannot return you the photographs fast. I have my life and work, and I have my clients to answer to. Some photographers can promise you to give you the final photographs, with or without editing, within a day, a week or a month - I cannot give any empty promise. At least I know my final photographs have certain quality.
This is actually very good for new models, but in case you are socially awkward or just want to keep a super duper low profile, you should not work with me. The main reason for me to shoot with you is probably for marketing and thus I will post the photographs online and even submit for competitions. Therefore, there is no way I'm going to shoot for you as collaboration and not upload the photographs - remember that I do not owe you anything.
I do not take down any photograph
In future, if you somehow regret having your photographs taken due to whatever reason (eg. your mama or boyfriend not happy), I will not entertain your request. I do not let anyone make use of me when they are happy and then kill all my effort when they somehow change their minds. Note that I do not even entertain any client who does not want me to publish any of the work - I have even turned down shoots from big companies.
Symptoms that you are not interested
"If you are not serious, people can feel it through your actions; no sweet words can cover up your lack of interest."
Besides for marketing purpose, I'm always on the lookout for suitable TFCD models to accomplish various shooting themes and concepts that not many paying clients would be suitable for. Unfortunately and fortunately I have met uncountable number of time-wasters. This is the main reason I try not to plan too much until I confirm the model is serious and I'm sick of model approaching me and asking me for ideas for the shoot. Ideas are valuable, especially customized ones.
I have been dealing with many fickle-minded girls who have always sounded chatty and delightful during our initial discussions. I suppose they have also messaged a few photographers at the same period of time. Obviously, they cannot tell the differences between professional and amateur work, or at least they do not foresee the photographs I'm going to produce with them would make a difference to them.
Here are some tips to find out if you are really interested and serious about doing photo shoot or NOT:
- You take ages to reply my messages
- You reply with any unconstructive message (e.g. "lol") and stop
- You cannot confirm the date and time for our shoot
- You dare not promise me that you will shoot after confirming our shooting date
- You take ages to prepare photographs of your outfits to send me
- You postpone our shoot because of your newly scheduled tuition or driving lesson etc
- You do not sleep early for the early morning shoot
Q. Can you do TFCD shoot with me?
A. Just read the entire page and provide me with the details in order for me to judge and decide. You need to have a little bit of IQ and understand that no photographer will work with you without knowing your exact looks. He will also not be able to think of a theme for you without knowing what kind of wardrobe you own.
Q. Can I don't reply you some of the sensitive details?
A. No, I don't earn anything from doing TFCD shoot and I have limited time in taking up projects. Thus, I expect to qualify every model properly and have proper planning in order not to waste my time. Most of the details that you think are sensitive are likely to be on professional models' comcards and online modelling profiles. Let's just stay professional.
Q. Why do you need the details?
A. To judge you and plan the shoot, including the types of clothes that will fit you and the theme. Different clothes suit different body figures.
Q. Why do you even need to know where do I stay?
A. To be honest, given your level of intelligence and trust, there's a high chance we will have conflict even before the shoot. It's obvious I will try to plan a shoot not too far away from your house if possible - I won't want to make you travel to Pasir Ris if you are staying in Boonlay. I also want to consider the time of the shoot, given how convenience is the mode of transport from your house to the shooting location. You don't even have to tell me your house number and I'm not interested in doing housevisiting to meet your parents.
Q. Do your friends need to provide the details as well?
A. If I have already met them, most likely no. However, I will still need to know the outfits and some of the details.
Q. I'm just a teenager, am I eligible for TFCD shoot with you?
A. Yes, as long as the shoot benefits my photography. Models usually start from young. However, young models usually give more problems - limited clothes, extremely conservative, lack of communication skill etc.
Q. Do you only shoot young girls?
A. My expertise is working with girls and for TFCD shoot, I only work with female models. I don't go for young models and instead, I rather go for more mature ladies who are likely to give less problems. However, most girls who are inspired to become models are younger girls and that's why there are much more young girls who have approached me. My female adult friends are not interested in photography while clients prefer to keep the photographs private.
Q. I'm married, am I eligible?
A. I do professional shoot and I'm not trying to date you. Therefore, your relationship status isn't a big concern - if you have a boyfriend or husband, you better make sure they are agreeable to you doing a shoot with me.
Q. I'm very short, am I eligible?
A. Height does not matter too much in still photographs as long as your body proportion is good - body VS legs. Of course, you may be at disadvantage compared to taller girls with good body proportion.
Q. What kinds of shoot are you looking at?
A. I'm doing TFCD shoot (limited) mostly for marketing purpose and thus I'm looking at themes that are more artistic or creative that can increase viewership. I do have many interesting ideas in mind but they require suitable wardrobe, props and location and I don't expect to pay for a non commercial shoot.
Q. For fashion shoot, what kind of clothes do you want me to wear?
A. You show me what you have instead of me racking my brain and then you tell me you don't have it. By doing it, I'm also able to judge your taste.
Q. Do I need to wear the clothes to snap photographs for you?
A. If there are too many of them and you are lazy, you can take photographs without wearing them. After we scale down the number, you have to put them on because it is difficult to judge the design, length and the "feel" without you wearing them. However, I may miss out some nice clothes since I won't know the actual design and cutting. This is why fashion shops have mannequins.
Q. Do you only do sexy shoots for TFCD?
A. It depends on individual model. If the model doesn't have the look or aura of a supermodel and there's no interesting theme I have in mind for her, the easiest choice is sexy or art shoot that can help in term of marketing value. Unfortunately, most of the girls who have approached me for TFCD shoot can't fit into anything.
Q. Do you do nude shoot for TFCD?
A. Not at this point of time, although it's a form of art that I wish to show others nude can be done tastefully as well. I don't want to upload any nude work into my portfolio and thus, there's no point in doing it - I don't use photoshoot as an excuse just to see boobs. For TFCD shoot, my limit is implied nude that the private parts (nipples and vagina) mustn't be shown inside the photographs.
Q. Why do you do sexy shoot?
There are various reasons. However, do note that it's just a portion of my work and I'm not focusing on it.
- The Impact - Marketing
The most important reason I'm doing TFCD shoot is for marketing. I need to draw attention from people to look through my entire portfolio to understand me and my talent. From my years of experience, photographs that are leaning towards glamour and sensual do attract more reactions and thus serve the purpose best. Of course, other types of shoots such as conceptual shoots may also create quite good results if they are nicely done - I don't rule them out and, in fact, I do work on them when I have suitable model.
One obvious fact is when my friends of all genders chat with me, they would always mention about the sexier albums. They tend to overlook the other albums even though the sexier ones are just a small portion of my portfolio - this is how strong the impact is. Another fact is that whenever a hot girl posts any sexy photograph (not taken by me), no matter how distasteful or poor quality it is, it can easily receive many times more reactions (LIKEs/comments) than the professional work I post.
The most essential task for me to continue and improve on my photography is to attract more clients. I need them to pay me so that I can upgrade and replace my damaged equipment, and also to make ends meet. The clients with higher budgets to engage photographers for private shoots are ladies who have quite stable income. Most of these ladies are of a certain age and they want to keep memories of their bodies before they grow more wrinkles. They will also prefer their photographs to be kept private, such that I will not be able to put them into my portfolio, which is a big problem.
When my portfolio was limited to normal fashion shoots, a client approached me for boudoir shoot and we chatted over the phone for an hour. She had no issue with any amount of money and was pleased with my honesty. However, she pointed out that I had too few sexy shoot albums to showcase in my portfolio and thus she had to decide again. She did not get back to me again.
Therefore, it is necessary to include more sexy albums inside my portfolio and TFCD shoot does the job.
- Quality of people approaching me
At the start of my portrait photography journey, I was stuck in a vicious cycle for many years because I had done too many Garden Shoots. I was warned by a few good friends who were related in the trade but I was helpless when I did not have a strong portfolio. The fact is if you have done mainly fashion shoots with models who are always smiling at the camera, most of the people who will approach you for shoot, whether is a friend or stranger, are people who are eyeing only at fashion shoot. Then, more similar type of people will continue to approach you when they see your portfolio.
The worst thing is not just about the boring type of shoot but the quality of people. The people who want to do only Garden Shoots are mostly not of the model quality in terms of looks, (interesting) personality, maturity and confidence. They come in all kinds of shapes, they are boring and they think modelling is simple. Most of them simply want to become a "princess" as they know I have the ability to fulfil their dreams. They are unsure of their abilities to take on the modelling path and obviously lack the confidence.
There are, of course, some people with better standards who have approached me every now and then, and thus I'm able to improve my portfolio with more interesting albums slowly. However, the number of people whom I have rejected, directly or indirectly, is way higher than the number of models I have worked with.
- Fewer open-minded models
From my years of experience of being approached by model-wannabes, most of the "models" are conservative. Therefore, it is more difficult to "find" a model who is open-minded. Who does not want something more unique?
- Demonstration of skill
Sexy shoots are much more difficult to work on because there is only a narrow line between art and porn. It is a big challenge to get it done well.
- Competitive mind
As I have many freelance model friends in social media, especially Facebook, I have been seeing sexy photographs being posted almost daily. I frown at most of them since they are usually badly done but there are also some good works. I'm an easygoing person but I actually have a competitive inner soul that wants to do better than others.
- Prove that decent photographer exists
Many photographers who do sexy shoots have their secret agendas and obviously they wish to bed the models. Some of them are already being "blacklisted" but I'm sure many victims just want to keep their stories to themselves and thus many black sheep are not being exposed. Through my interactions with freelance models, I have also heard of black sheep who take advantage of models because of their (the photographers') popularities. It is my wish to prove to the world that photographers who do sexy shoots can also treat their models with respect - at least, some of these photographers are decent enough.
- Enjoyment of being trusted
I'm an open-book. As honest as I am, I also hope for reciprocation, in term of trust. I'm easy to be pleased and the full trust the models give to me during the sexy shoots make me feel very appreciated.
- Love for art
I'm taught to be an artsy person since young due to influences by teachers and my elder brother. However, reality is always cruel. Born in a less well-to-do family, there are many things I cannot do. I used to admire pianoists but my family was too poor and thus I did not even mention about buying a piano or taking up piano lessons. I had interest in drawing and handicraft work but the stationary was not something my family could easily afford. I did take up calligraphy during primary school but the cost of the brushes, ink and papers made me give up soon, partly due to my schedule. Martial art was a dream but the school fee would be a huge damage (to my parents' pockets). Since young, I had to restrict myself for the love of art of all kinds. Even for photography, as films and developments were too pricey for my family when I was young, I started professional photography only after I started working and being encouraged by my good friends.
Throughout my life, even with the deep passion for photography, I have never dreamed or thought of doing any sexy/artsy kind of portrait photography, until after interacting with more models and the exposure to more art work. I'm a shy guy by nature but art is a way of life.
Models from hell
With some fame and a reasonably satisfactory standard of portfolio that lead to quite a number of "models" approaching me to request for TFCD shoot often, I do get abused.
Below are just a few of the stories of girls approaching me for TFCD shoot that have not turned out well. I do not mean to insult anyone but some of the "models" are never the model quality in terms of looks and body, and most importantly, EQ.
This model had some nice tattoos on one side of her body, which made her suitable for art shoot. From her Facebook albums, it seemed that she had been doing a lot of implied nude or even nude shoots. However, all of her photos were weirdly edited, such that nobody could judge her looks from any of her photos - her face was flat and seemed to be made of plastic like some "talking" dolls in horror movies. Some photos was watermarked with the copyright logo of photographers but all of them look similar and obviously she had disrespected the various photographers and added in her own horrible filter, tarnishing the reputation of the talents.
Supermodel: Hi can u help me photo shoot
# I made some pre-judgement of her based on her language - my bad but I'm usually very accurate
Me: hi, do you have a recent close-up photo of yourself without makeup and without filter?
# I focus a lot on expression on face and thus need to know her real look
* She sent me 2 photos with her usual filter applied, showing flat face
Supermodel: Sorry i only have this
Me: oh.. i see.
# I confirmed she was lacking of intelligence
* 4 or 5 days later...
Supermodel: So can work wif u
Me: can you take a selfie without makeup and filter?
Supermodel: I ard send u
# No, she didn't send me a selfie WITHOUT makeup and her weird filter
Supermodel: I working everyday wif make up de
# Does she mean that she sleep with her makeup too?
Supermodel: Nvm if u can't make it nvm
# It's not that I can't make it - she cannot make it
Supermodel: I will find other photographer
# She has finally shown her true colours that she's not that keen
2. Supermodel - NOT
This "model" did not have the look and shape, and was unlikely going to make it big in any entertainment or modelling industry. No clear-minded professional photographer would want to use her as a model since her looks would not value-add to any portfolio. Of course, desperate amateur photographers might do TFCD shoot with her, especially for sexy themes. Later on, she seemed to be doing a lot of lingerie shoots anyway. I had seen her spam posts in Facebook and I knew communication would be tough.
I am keen for collaboration for creative theme photo shoot.
My Fb page....
under this link https://www.facebook.com/pages/xxx
Thanks a million....
I am a Freelance Talent based in Singapore,
Willing to travel ASIA (Malaysian/Hong Kong/China/Taiwan if budget and schedule is suitable)
I am also looking forward for(Paid Assignments).
-TV Commercial/Corporate Video assignments in Singapore/Malaysia/Hong Kong/Taiwan
Theme such as Wedding/Fashion/Sexy Fashion/Hi-fashion/Blog shop/Bikini/Cos-play/Fantasy...
STRICTLY NO :(No Lingerie/Artistic Nude/Nude theme)
-Student Short Film
-Event Ambassador/Product Ambassador
-Road show Emcee/Game Host
Kindly Pm for any new ideas as well.
# It was probably a copy-and-paste spam with lots of unimportant information
Me: Hi xxx,
Thanks for approaching me.
I hope you have read http://skaichanphotography.com/tfp-tfcd-photo-shoot-singapore.php before messaging me.
# Anyone who has read through my page would have instantly provided me the details I need to qualify a model
Supermodel: Sure. Actually I do Media industry such as acting, hosting, event for a living. However occasional modeling like stock photo and Photoshoot for additional income as my height and age hard seldom could do runway. However I am only doing TFCD for creative theme, such as high fashion, floating, special effects theme. I believe with collaboration with hmua, wardrobe from your side it can benefit both the parties. However I got another group of friends not looking to earn money instead looking to pay Photographer which is good for personal portfolio.
# She was "sure" but did not seem to make the effort to visit and read. She was neither pretty nor had any x-factor and yet she had demands.
* She sent me three photos that were quite badly done
# She could have sent me better samples to show she has better taste. Anyway, the shoot would require extra effort and time, and definitely not worth it to do it with just any model - she did not worth the shoot
Supermodel: Keen like this type
3. Not helpful
This plain girl is not of a model quality.
Supermodel: Hey do u need a model for pictures? Just to promote Ur shooting skills? If yes pls contact me I'm interested
# I already have enough portfolio to showcase my skill, and most importantly and obviously, her looks would not help.
4. Cheapo and desperate
Supermodel: Dear Skai Chan,
As a female model in Singapore working for a startup swimwear brand, I would like to collaborate with you on a shoot if you have any free time over the next week (until the 14th). I have a full wardrobe of swimwear and would like to shoot a few models (I can help style as well).
My number is xxxxxxxx if you would like to meet up and discuss a collaboration.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Me: Hi xxx,
Thanks for approaching me. Will you be able to provide me with more information and perhaps, the plan to go about doing it?
Supermodel: Thank you for your reply
Supermodel: I was hoping to do a collaboration so that we can both brainstorm and think of a concept that we would both like to shoot
Supermodel: I was thinking to do a glam style swimwear shoot
Supermodel: do you know any good locations?
Me: You're welcome! May I know what will be the use of the photos?
Supermodel: I will be using the photos for the swimwear social media
Supermodel: and possibly our website depending on how the photos turn out
Supermodel: would you be interested?
Me: I see!
For normal collaboration with model friends, I'm pretty fine with anything.
However, if the work will eventually benefit a third party or a commercial company, we probably need further discussion.
# There's no such thing as free commercial work from professional photographer!
Supermodel: I would be modeling as well
# She still didn't get it
Me: If it's just for your personal portfolio, we can work something out together.
Supermodel: It would be for the startup
Me: Alright! I will have to give this a miss then!
Supermodel: ok! Maybe we can collaborate on something else in the future Thanks for your time
Me: No problem!
* 1.5 months later...
Supermodel: Hi I am interested in collaborating
Me: How long will you be staying in Singapore for?
Supermodel: 6 months
Supermodel: why do you ask?
Me: I thought you would be leaving soon
Me: Anyway, is there any specific theme you are looking at?
Supermodel: Yes can I send you an email?
Me: You can email me at email@example.com
# After reading the email, I realised the shoot was for her company again
Me: I think we have discussed before that I won't be doing a free job for any company.
# Probably too embarrassed to reply me
5. True colours
This very open-minded model messenged me and sang compliments of my portfolio website that also provided many tips. So, she wanted to collaborate with me. I found her interesting because in her old photos, she looked very much like "ah lian" in her makeup and she had actually made lots of improvement over the years, including slimming down. Flattered by her nice words and that she had bothered to go through my lengthy website, we had hours of chat in Facebook. I shared some bad stories about models to her and she assured me she was nice.
As my very talented Japanese HMUA friend was coming over to Singapore, I was looking to get some models to collaborate with her to create some astonishing work again. On the second day, after confirming with my HMUA friend, I wanted to create a Whatsapp group for discussion.
Me: what's your number?
Supermodel: Why do you need it now?
# I was taken aback from her response to someone she's supposed to appreciate and trust and was seeking help (for shoot) from
Me: for whatsapp
# Whatsapp is the most common chat messenger in Singapore and I use it to communicate with my Japanese HMUA friend all these while
Supermodel: No need la just talk here
# She suddenly didn't seem to be very interested in shooting with me or maybe she thought I was trying to stalk or harass her over the phone?
Me: Okay then I will have to tell my Japanese HMUA to use other models instead
# She has given up the great chance
Supermodel: You're not paying me anyway right?
# Speaking the obvious when she was the one asking me to shoot her
Me: I have never paid any model in my entire life
Supermodel: Mmm ya lor
# Now she recalls only clients pay me
Supermodel: So, I am not desperate to shoot with you
Supermodel: Let the other models have their chance
# Totally a changed person in such rude replies
My TFCD journey
This session is more for people who are interested about my journey and you do not need to read for you to set up a shoot with me. The most important section is the terms and conditions.
I have managed to catch up with good friends and met new good people through my TFCD shoots. However, there are many more hard truths in this trade.
Attitude over looks
When I started doing TFCD photoshoot, I was not looking at any particular look. What mattered most to me was the attitude of the model. Some shallow people thought only girls with "perfect" features could and should do portraiture photoshoot. However, most of the models I had initially worked with were girls-next-door who were not into modelling at all. Most of them did not even know how to do basic makeup and they also cared little about trimming of eyebrows. To me, girls who did not bother about impressing others in looks were likely to be more sincere and genuine. I personally did not dress to impress others and thus I felt connected with them.
Difficulties of new photographer
I did not have a smooth photography journey as I faced major problems along the way. The main issue boiled down to I was not working with professional models. Many non-professional models, including freelance "models", were usually not as enthusiastic as they sounded. Some of them had given me very bad timing where lighting was at its worst because they were very "busy". Slow replies and lateness were common. Another major and common problem was their personal grooming (hair and makeup), which resulted me in spending endless time on PhotoShop. I also got reprimanded by clear-minded good friends as they thought I should be collaborating with models who could really help me in my portfolio, and not just trying to please everyone who approached me.
Reality told a different story from my fantasy of a beautiful world. As time went by, I accepted the difficulty of judging a person via online. People who approached me would always sound polite initially. After working with a girl who turned out to have very bad attitude, I came to sense that less-than-average-looking girls did not necessary come with good attitude. I began to harden my stand and be more selective of models I would work with for TFCD shoot. This would mean less retouching work in PhotoShop and more presentable photographs. I also tried to reduce the quantity of photographs to work on, which also helped me to spend more time on just a couple of good ones. Of course, not every model understood the logic of quality over quantity.
There was once after collaborating with a freelance model who gave me a bad timing for an outdoor shoot, she childishly and ungratefully commented in Facebook that the photographs looked bad. Apart from the harsh sun, her makeup and outfit were problematic. Her lateness and shortening of shooting duration stopped me from setting up my lighting gears as well. I began setting more ground rules that would help to create better photographs, which could have frightened off many spoilt or lazy "models". However, to mature or experienced models, the terms and conditions were simply common sense. Besides, I was learning with an ex-commercial makeup artist who enlightened me on the importance of proper planning, at least for the styling of the model.
Nonsense increases with popularity
When my portfolio was strong enough to captivate the interest of more model-wannabes. There were a few requests for TFCD shoot per month and sometimes per week. This created another big problem - having to spend more time to entertain and discuss about the shoots. Not all models knew how to judge photographs though and sometimes I did feel insulted. Many of those who had approached me were actually half-hearted. Even among girls who had been doing freelance modelling, there were many nasty ones who were already being spoilt badly by hobbyists or even commercial photographers. I had been trying to filter and work only with those girls who were really easygoing, showed great interest and in the same frequency as me. Occasionally, reality would remind me that no one was perfect as even kind girls could turn out to be insensible and over-demanding.
Down with marketing, especially Facebook
I realised I was struggling in Facebook marketing. As Facebook started reaching out for advertising fee, they had decided to show users only news/feeds that they thought were popular. Rumours stated that only 10-12% of the followers would get to see the new post, which seemed to be quite true. The importance of LIKE-ing and sharing of photographs and albums by fans and friends were so important that "less popular" photographs would be "buried" before others got to see my work. Reality had become so cruel that a well taken photo might not be shown to others in Facebook if most of the fans were trying to keep low profiles and not "LIKE-ing" and sharing it. I started my Facebook page way too late when Facebook marketing was already about paying the company money for promoting any page or photo. Most of my models did not help me with marketing. Some of their privacy level for their profiles were so high that even their friends could not see the photographs that they were tagged on.
Long term photography
By year 2014, I started getting worried about the life of my equipment that would eventually wear and tear. I also faced great limitation because I could not afford to purchase more essential equipment like lenses and light modifers to create different feels and lighting. Due to photography, I had not been spending time on my tuition agency and I was running it too honestly to make enough money to cover even my daily expenses in certain months. Therefore, I began taking up freelance jobs, which had ended up taking more of my time. I also tried very hard to add and improve contents on this website. I was badly stretched and had to limit the number of TFCD shoot to models who could really benefit me. The only logic that had not changed since the beginning of my journey was that I had to have fun during the shoot while meeting good people.
Types of work
My initial portfolio was filled mostly with fashion, lifestyle and conceptual shoots that were too conservative to attract attention; moreover, it drew only admiration from models who only wanted to do the same genre and most of this type of model were not model-material. The models who had worked with me knew I was too obsessed with producing good photographs to take advantage of them. Some of them sang compliments of me, like as if I was the only photographer they would trust. Slowly, they stunned me with their new photographs taken by random photographers in their new wardrobe, picturing that they were too broke to buy clothes with more cloth, and somehow the "budget" clothes would drop during the shoot. I was not sure if I should feel sad for them or myself, or both. Eventually, I felt hurtful when I knew my models had done the type of shoot with other photographers that they had refused to work with me simply because I was not very insistent and I would not sweet-talk them.
In year 2015, after doing a boudoir shoot with a client, I realised I was still very shy and thus could not produce work to my best ability. Later on, another potential client approached me and after we chatted happily over the phone for an hour, she told me she would consider because I did not have many boudoir albums in my portfolio. Thereafter, I tried doing more sexy shoots and always kept them tasteful. However, I could not find very suitable models who could really help me to shine.
Work and friendship
I got to experience the reality that "models would come and go" no matter how hard I tried to create decent images for them. Most of them would not bother about friendship but getting decent quality portfolio from me while not losing their modesty and integrity. I started to admit that I was far too soft to get things done.
Instagram in year 2016
Another big regret was to begin my photography Instagram account late - in early 2016 - only after Instagram released the feature of multiple accounts on a single phone. By then, many people, especially potential models, had earned a large number of followers. It was very difficult to get users with large number of followers to follow my account back because they were likely being spammed with excess notifications to even know my existence; even if they happened to see my account, they would not bother about me - big accounts usually would not follow smaller accounts. Even though I was quite good with online marketing, I was still struggling hard and could not win the older accounts.
Eventually, I realise I should focus on getting what I want (type of shoot) instead of what the models want. I should not have cared too much about how far the model would need to travel because some of them would turn suspicious when I prompt more about the location of their home. I'm also trying hard not to be too over-protective to models, which will limit the potential of my work. Of course, I'm still learning and continuing to make the same mistake because it is my character.