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Quick Tip: Where to Find a Photography Model

So you’re all pumped up and ready to start making awesome portraits.
You’ve got your camera, a great portrait lens, you’ve even scouted a
location. Now all you need is someone to photograph.

In today’s quick tip, we look at four different ways to find
yourself a photography model. From encouraging friends and family to
take part, through to advertising and using the Internet to find a
model. I’d also love to hear your tips on the subject!

1. Friends and Family

The
most obvious place to start is with close family and friends. They’ll
likely be more forgiving and patient with you, and you won’t need to
work on building up a rapport with the model. It’s also the least
expensive route—both in terms of time and money.

The downside is
that you’ve probably already photographed these people several times
before. The experience won’t push you out of your comfort zone—if the
resulting photos aren’t all that good, you haven’t lost anything.

Image of two siblings lying in bed together Photo by Pixabay
Image of two siblings lying in bed together. Photo by Pixabay

You
can make the process easier by picking friends with certain
characteristics. Find someone who loves to be the centre of attention,
and is confident with their appearance. They need to be comfortable with
you and, ideall, also have a motive for wanting to have their photo
taken (e.g. head shots, or portraits for their CV).

Image of two friends hanging out lying on the ground Photo by Gianne Karla Tolentino
Image of two friends hanging out lying on the ground. Photo by Gianne Karla Tolentino

Working
with friends and family makes an excellent starting point, but it’s
important to move on from this stage as soon as you start to feel
confident.

2. The Internet

The Internet has a surprising abundance of people looking to have their photo taken. Websites such as Craigslist have
a few potential models in sections such as “creative” and “talent”.
There are also lots of people advertising their photography services
here—usually for a price. If you’re happy to take portraits for free at
first, you may well gather some interest.

A number of other websites such as ModelMayhem and OneModelPlace might be worth a shot, though it could take a while to find someone local and appropriate.

Image of ModelMayhems webpage
Image of ModelMayhem’s webpage
As
ever, it’s advisable to be careful when using the Internet to find
people to meet up with and photograph. Both parties are likely to be
wary, and it might be a good idea to first meet someone casually before
arranging a formal photo shoot.

3. Advertise (With Freebies)

Rather
than go looking for models, why not let them come to you? Granted, this
might not work wonderfully at first, but as you start to become more
proficient, word spreads. Add a notice to your website letting readers
know that you’re looking for models, and offer them an incentive. This
could be a free CD of the shoot, prints, or even a photo book: something
to make it worth their while.

Image of Elena Elisseevas webpage
Image of Elena Elisseeva’s webpage. 

Many photographers do this to enhance their stock portfolio. Check out Elena Elisseeva’s page for an example.

4. Agencies

Once
money exchanges hands and you hire a professional, expectations of your
skill and professionalism are bound to rise. You’ll also feel slightly
more pressure to perform well, as you’ve spent hard-earned money on your
model’s time. It’s also important to weigh up whether it’s worthwhile
financially. If you’re planning to sell the images, use them in your
portfolio, or generally need the experience, it may well be easy to
justify the price.

Share Your Experience

I’m sure some of
our readers have encountered this situation before. Which route have you
found to work well, and at what stage should photographers be looking
to progress to the next stage of portrait photography?

Once you’ve made some successful portraits, why not try selling them on PhotoDune? The world of stock photography always needs a more diverse representation of faces.