Trade shooting, is it worth it..
TFP, TFT, collaboration, creative shoot, etc. It goes by many names, but in general it means a photoshoot, between a model and a photographer, (as well as others on occasion, i.e. Hair/makeup, designer, etc) Typically no one makes any money or charges, with the (sometimes unspoken understanding) that both parties get to use the pictures for their respective portfolios. When all goes well everyone involved benefits from the shoot, and ideally have fun as well. Another overlooked benefit is by collaborating and then sharing the images socaily on FB, IG, etc. Each collaborator is exposed to other fans/followers/clients. Which is the reason that tagging and crediting everyone involved is important. Recently there have been some discussion / controversy over people not showing, canceling last min, or bad communication. (among other things).
We are all biased to our respective discipline. Photographers blame models, Models blame photographers. Whether it's on account of flakiness, scheduling, Slow delivery of final images, bad communication. Making it is difficult to set up a effective trade shoot. Endlessly going back on forth with messages, in the hopes that it will actually happen. The result becomes planning multiple shoots, where only a fraction of them come to fruition. Or after partial planning nothing set and never hear from them again. It can be taxing and frustration. Who is at fault, and is all the back and forth worth it???
Everyone's time/talent is valuable. Some of us take time off work, or schedule other obligations to accommodate a shoot. When it falls through for whatever reason its normal to get jaded, angry, or feel wronged. Rightfully so. It sucks to plan, schedule and look forward to a shoot (or anything for that matter), then be left hearing crickets. Stuff happens, we forget, but in a day and age where we always have our phones it's hard to claim that you couldn’t let the other parties know. In fact as I am writing this, I am 30 minutes away from when I was supposed to meet a new model and shoot. This morning never got a confirmation, exact location, and now no response. It is likely that I will have a no call no show. It's far from the first time, and it will not be the last.
Advice: thoughts on how to act, what to bring, what not to do, etc will have to wait for another day. My advice for now is to read. Specifically reading and understanding peoples linguistic style, how people talk, what they say, and how they say it. Does the other party sound excited, offer suggestions, ask questions. I have been able to achieve a far better % of shoots that follow through. By simply picking up the signals of those who are likely to cancel or are not as interested as others. If I think someone is not interested, asking a question about what they think about the concept, or any question that requires more than a yes or no response. (Its not a guarantee, but it can help)
So with all the trouble, headaches, and problems, will I be doing trade shoots anymore?. Simply YES!!
I easily have had 5 or 10 times the cancels or flakes on me, then I have had shoots, and I have had a lot of shoots. With all the bad experiences why bother. If it takes 10 failed attempts to get one success, that's a lot of headaches. My answer is, because of that one. Over the years i have met some amazing people, many of whom I call friends now. The experiences, fun times, amazing images, and further working/hanging out with those friends are more than I could ever ask for. Starting as a random message about shooting, to a like minded friend, muse, confidant. Those people easily make all the trouble worthwhile. It's still not fun to be left in the dark, so I commend people who communicate, are honest, and have made this journey so amazing. I wanted to list names, but I don't want to leave people out. However you all know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.