I work with up and coming, aspiring models, and if there is one question that I'm frequently asked, it is probably this one; "Why do I need a Professional Photographer?"
It is a common falsehood amongst models and indeed many photographers that anyone can photograph model portfolios. Really!
However, when you get married - are you going to accept the first photographer who comes along simply because they are free and available and has a camera? Or are you going to use a professional who is experienced and enjoys a reputation for competence in their particular field?
It doesn't take much thinking about really, does it? But how many models actually bother to get professional portfolios done? Take a look at P#**storm and the likes and you will soon see that the answer is not many actually - which is why most potential models get off to a less than flying start and quickly fall by the wayside even if they have potential.
Why would any serious photographer or client want to book a model who has a few amateur snaps or even camera phone pictures (yes, a lot of "models" do!) on their portfolio? Exactly!, they wouldn't.
People will tell you that the best way to get into modelling is by doing TFP/CD (time for print/CD's of pictures) with any photographer who will give his time and that you should spend 6 months doing this before you even think of asking for payment. Now, in my opinion, this is a piece of good, sound, advice. Its through this way, that you can see if you really have any real potential as a photographic model and get a portfolio into the bargain. However, when you pay a professional photographer you might think you'll be getting a decent professional portfolio done by a competent photographer, and generally that is the case. However, always be sure what you getting into, and be sure of the quality of the finished images, because bad photographs on your portfolio are worse than no photo's at all.
But a professional portfolio costs a fortune. Does it? That depends. And this is where you can really make TFP work for you. Take a look at some of the published images here on TFPModel, and find a photographer who showcases images that you empathise with, that you aspire to be in, because some good photographers are here as they are also happy to exchange their time for yours.
My own policy is that if I can use your images commercially, that may be enough to cover the cost of your folio, so it may not cost you anything other than your time. Obviously this is only possible with a small number of potential models, but who knows, maybe you fit the bill.
Again, just my thoughts, please feel free to contribute your thoughts and lets discuss?!