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When Life Gives You Flakers...

(In Nelson, Nevada with photographer Kristoff Lutchman, stylist Jeffrey DeBarthy and makeup artist Sara Adjadim)

“Ugh. I’m having a scheduling issue with the people I’m coming with…let me check and see if I can do those dates at all”.

That’s the message I got from the makeup artist I was supposed to work with last Friday. She sent it after I had booked a photographer and a stylist, for her. I wasn’t even supposed to shoot that day, but when a photographer you respect says, hey my makeup artist is headed to Vegas, can you set up a shoot with her? I thought, yeah, of course. I’m always looking to create new content and go on an adventure.

So I messaged her and told her I was open to shooting if she were available. She assured me she was, and so I went to work assembling a team. Getting a TFP team is not an easy task. TFP means Time For Print, which is another way of saying nobody is going to get paid, but the images will hopefully attract more work for all of us.

One of the biggest challenges of making a bid for TFP online is that every amateur with a camera and a Model Mayhem account wants to shoot outside of Walmart on the railroad tracks. In a teddy.

Most of the people who respond to TFP bids are exactly what you’d imagine: people willing to work for free. So I had to be extremely careful going about the whole process, so that everyone understood the expectations and the goals.

The hope was to attract a photographer that I would actually pay money to meet. Lord knows I’m not the most amazing model on earth. I have limitations, and it’s because of those limitations that I need a great photographer. A truly talented photographer is not just “a guy with a camera”. He is an Artist of Light. That skill can make people of all ages—all shapes and sizes—look their very best.

A poor photographer is pandemonium.

So I made a Facebook post that was designed to scare off the amateurs. It was a drop dead gorgeous photo from six years ago (yeah, yeah, I know) with this text written on it:




*Flaker Mcflake was not her real name.

I wondered if it would work. My Desert Companion cover had just hit the newsstands a couple weeks earlier, so I hoped I wasn’t embarrassing myself or asking too much trying to attract someone who was used to getting paid. Hopefully, someone I liked would respond quickly and I could take down the whole post. It must have looked terribly self-serving.

One of the first comments came in, “Hey Elly, are you wielding your model power now? LOL”.


Then I got a private message from someone I had already been following on Instagram. I liked his work. Looked at his website….really liked that, too! He knew what to do with light.

I can tell very quickly whether I like someone’s work by the way that photographer paints with the light. This guy was legit. It was a great match for TFP—we’d be able to help each other look good.

He was excited; I was excited. He got a stylist to come onboard whose work is absolutely amazing. I was so stoked that these people wanted to shoot with me, and they seemed legitimately stoked that I wanted to shoot with them.

This is exactly how TFP should work, in a perfect world. Everyone was grateful! And the world was beautiful.


“Ugh. I’m having a scheduling issue with the people I’m coming with…let me check and see if I can do those dates at all”.

That was code for I’m going to flake, but I’ll give you a days head start so you can ask around for someone else, because I’d rather hang with my friends on my trip to Vegas than work.

Hey, you know what? I like to relax, too. But then WHY did you commit to it? And WHY would you cancel AFTER COMMITTING? As my momma would say through gritted teeth, “Give me strength, dear Lord, I pray”.

I was SO embarrassed. Now there were two other people involved, with schedules and lives just like me. Everyone who rolled eyes at my Facebook post would think I was such a big talker.

Will I have to cancel the whole shoot? I only had a few days to replace her.

The great thing about Facebook is that people know people who know people. Within twenty-four hours, I had a makeup artist onboard. Not just any makeup artist, but one who so indelibly left her mark on this shoot, it wouldn’t have been the same great results without her.

The shoot was one of the best of my life because of the work of these other artists. Top-notch team, like-minded professionals putting together usable content, and the whole group—photographer, stylist, and makeup artist—has already been hired for a new shoot in May. Definition of TFP Success!

So I say, THANK YOU, FLAKER McFLAKE! If it hadn’t been for you, this wouldn’t have happened.

I wonder if she has seen any of the photos or video flying around Facebook… or noticed that everyone involved is raking in the attention. I have to smile, just a little.

When life gives you Flakers, make Frosted Flakes?

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