TFP etiquette

Trade for Print, or TFP, is becoming increasingly popular between cosplayers and photographers recently and as a result I thought I would give you my thoughts on TFP and etiquette that I believe should go with it.

Etiquette between cosplayer and photographer is very important. My friends have told me some horror stories both as Cosplayers and as photographers about nightmare shoots and disrespect from the other party, so here’s my post of do’s and don’ts.


  • It’s good to have an open dialogue and set out what you want to achieve from the shoot, costume(s), location, etc
  • Discuss how many photos you want and time frame of when the shoot starts and finishes.
  • It helps that who ever planned the shoot actively helps out with the planning, research on the location, poses, props needed, transport, etc.

During the shoot

  • Do make the day as relaxing as possible, do take a few silly photos or have a nice general chat before anything starts.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, think about the cosplayer in spandex, or skimpy armour keep in mind the weather, the population, accessible area, etc.
  • Do consider getting/buying the other party a drink or a meal during or after the shoot.  This goes a long way building a better relationship.
  • Keep sexy/body related jokes to a minimum and if anyone seems uncomfortable DO NOT use sex humour as a way to relax everything.
  • If the photographer/Cosplayer is new give them time to mess up, don’t be hyper critical about what they do and DO NOT compare them to other photographers or cosplayers.
  • Allow each party to bring someone (if needed) for either companion or helper.

After the shoot

  • Please give the photographer time to edit the photos.  Regardless of if they have a full time job or not, (if possible) give 2-3 weeks before dropping a communication for an update.
  • UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE, do not edit further a photographer’s work.  The rights to the photo still belongs to the photographer and they have the final say about the use of the photo.  Should you want further changes, you must discuss it with the photographer.

Things to also consider

  • Always be professional.  Even though no money is exchanged, the word gets out if you are a good person to work with.
  • Though no money or contract may have been signed, both sides still need to carry out what has been agreed as its communication via email/messenger is a certain legal obligations formed when agreeing to a TFP shoot.
  • Please honour the agreed time and location or give plenty of notice if you wish to cancel, especially try and not cancel on the day.
  • Communication is key. If there is a delay in making the costume/arranging the shoot/editing photos please let the other parties know.

About Eddie

Creator, founder of FnC and kidnappers of cosplayers at comic cons. Someone who stalks....*cough*...admire all forms of cosplay. And generally sees the fun side of things. Also have a slight obsession with Harley Quinn, only slight.