Finding Models to Shoot

I’m assuming that, if you’re reading this blog, you’re not an established fashion photographer, shooting Vogue covers in between swimsuit calendars in Hawaii. If you want to get there, you need to start shooting some models. Do you know any? No? Sure you do. And, if you don’t, by the end of this post, you will. It turns out that you have plenty of beautiful, compelling models all around you!

Hit up your social network first. Do you know any interesting-looking people? Probably. What about your family? Your room-mates? Neighbors? Co-workers? Teachers? You won’t get anyone to let you shoot them unless you ask. So ask. Do it for free, get a model release, and build your book. Use anything you’ve shot already as a promotional tool for getting further models.

Getting real models. There’s more to modeling than looking good. You have to have a certain body awareness, and how to utilize different lightings, environments, etc. You have to be able to emote. After shooting some of your friends, you may have found that some take better pictures than others. To get to real models, you need to find out where they are going to go to look for photographers. You have a few options. People just starting out head for craigslist. If you’re looking for good models, you are almost certainly wasting your time there. Granted, you never know what you’ll find/discover there, but the signal to noise ratio is not very good. Next up, I might try One Model Place. I am a member there. However, it’s interface is crap, and it costs $10 to join. Considering that Model Mayhem is free, has a better interface, and I think the selection is better, I prefer it the most.

update: I just found a great blog called hexfire, and they wrote up a great rundown of some different modeling directories.

Don’t forget hair and makeup! Hair and makeup are a huge part of a good photo shoot. You should check the same spots for these as you do models. I have had a lot of luck using friends, and craigslist in this department. Hair and makeup can absolutely make or break a shoot, so make sure you get someone.

What about money? Nobody works for free, but that doesn’t mean you need to lay out cash to shoot models. Many will be interested in working TFP, which means Time for Prints or TFCD, which is Time for CD. That means, in exchange for being photographed, you agree to provide the model, make-up or hair stylist with a cd or prints from the shoot that they can use for self-promotion. If you’re broke, this is the way to go.

Now that you can do it, do it. You now have a massive pool of models you can choose from. Get to work and don’t be shy. If you want to take someone’s picture, ask them. If they say no, ask someone else. Don’t get hung up on ‘no’s, be confident, and take some great pictures.


  1. Rbryan Bryan

    That was a great article, I was on the right track with everything but the tfp. That is an excellent idea because photography is not cheap!

  1. 1 How to put together a TFP fashion photography shoot « clique

    […] 20, 2007 Posted by Shaun Krisher in Photo Shoots. trackback Okay, you read my previous post on finding models. You’ve found someone to shoot. Now what? Here’s what you should do when you’re […]

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