how to find a model for portrait photography

How to Find a Model for Portrait Photography?

When you're out taking photos, you might feel like you're all by yourself.

Still, photographers who shoot a lot of commercial images share a lot in common with those who specialise in certain genres, particularly portraiture.

How to find new subjects to photograph is a question that comes up frequently among beginning photographers.

Taking pictures of new people on a regular basis is an essential part of becoming a skilled portrait photographer.

Because of its importance in maintaining one's inventiveness, it also encourages the pursuit of novel ideas and the testing of previously untried methods.

Finding new models to photograph is similar to finding success in any other area of life: the more experience you have, the higher the quality of your portfolio, and the more connections you have in the photography industry, the better.

Here are some ideas that could be useful to you.

When you're just starting out as a portrait photographer and honing your craft, it can be difficult to book shoots with willing models until you've built up a portfolio.

Where would a portrait photographer even start if they couldn't find subjects?

This situation seems like a Catch-22, doesn't it? The obvious answer is to hire a model to work with you, but this isn't always feasible, especially if you're on a tight budget. But there is still a chance.

Use your connections, charm your significant other, or simply ask around for willing models among your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances.

There is always someone in your social circle that you can ask (or beg, if necessary) to be your subject. You can bribe them with pizza afterwards if you like.

Unless you plan to specialise in family portraiture, most photographers will want to branch out and work with people who aren't already part of their social circle in order to build their portfolio and add variety to their body of work.

These days, finding models to work with is easier than ever thanks to the widespread use of social media.

Instagram, Facebook, and even sites like Model Mayhem are great places to meet and connect with local models.

In order to discover nearby active models who are interested in expanding their portfolios, researching relevant hashtags for your site is a great place to start.

Ensure that your messages to potential models are polished, brief, and polite.

Having a concept in mind and your availability will help you schedule a shoot with potential models, who likely have their own busy schedules.

If you're a frequent travelling who'd like to work with models in the area you'll be visiting, you can use the same strategy with great success by substituting the name of your destination for your hometown.

If your portfolio is strong enough, models may contact you about potential collaborations.

Having perfected your skills and amassed a solid portfolio, you are ready to take the next step and test your mettle in the professional arena.

If you're looking for a top model, your best bet is to contact a modelling agency; these businesses are always on the lookout for new faces. Those "new faces" who get signed to an agency will have to work on developing their portfolio before they can be considered for paid gigs.

That's where your expertise as a portrait photographer comes in. You can expect the testing process with agency new faces to be very similar to your social media outreach to potential models.

You can find reputable local modelling agencies with a quick Google search, but keep your expectations in check and concentrate on smaller and medium-sized studios.

Having a polished portfolio and a concept in mind when you make contact with the agencies will help you stand out. If there are particular traits of a model's skin or hair colour that you wish to see, please specify them.

No modelling agency can possibly respond quickly to the countless test requests they receive from photographers, so if you haven't heard anything yet, try not to take it personally. Try to keep in touch on a regular basis, and if you don't hear back from us right away, don't give up.

Like most things in life, finding new models to work with consistently is all about fostering relationships that benefit both parties. Remember that the models' time is just as valuable to them as it is to you, and that you've agreed to work together in the hopes of gaining images that will increase the value of your respective portfolios.

Working with different models on a regular basis will do wonders for your photography and your reputation as a professional.

Taking pictures of male and female models is one of the most sought-after and fashionable types of photography. The first step is often the most difficult. Where do you even begin?

Table of Contents

What Is a Portrait Model?

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In the same way that landscape and street photographers find inspiration in breathtaking landscapes and mysterious urban alleyways, portrait photographers find inspiration in their subjects. A portrait model stands as your subject. You won't get very far in portrait photography without any models, despite the fact that there are many techniques for doing so.

Why Have a Model for Your Portrait Photography?

The reason you're a portrait photographer is because you want to take pictures of people in portraits. You can think of them as the blank slate on which you create an entire world.

Even though the best portrait photographers all have their own unique approaches, they all have one thing in common: they only work with experienced professionals as models.

In their absence, the photographer would have a much more difficult time capturing the subjects. In some cases, a portrait taken at Sears will do, but the magic happens when a great photographer teams up with a great model.

Work with models will inform your professional skills, even though you will eventually need to photograph subjects who aren't professional models if you want to succeed in the industry.

You can practise your photographic intuition, hone your improvisatory skills, and become more familiar with your gear by shooting with a model.

Where to Find Models for Portrait Photography

Deviantart

Finding models for portrait photography is a breeze with the help of DeviantART. It has been instrumental in uniting people through art and building community for many years.

It's also an excellent starting point for any budding portrait photographers. Make an effort to become well-known in the online photography community by posting and sharing your work. Communicate with some of the mannequins when you're ready.

Model Mayhem

To find models for portrait photography, Model Mayhem is the go-to place. The website can be viewed as a form of social networking for photographers and models.

It's simple to create a profile, choose a photography genre, and search for models. That's a great place to meet photographers and other professionals in the modelling industry.

Photographers, models, makeup artists, and stylists can all find each other and work together through Model Mayhem.

You can showcase your work, connect with other artists, and find work in the genres you're interested in by making a profile on that site. You should give the site a try if only to see what all the hype is about.

Facebook

Using Facebook's powerful local search, you can quickly and easily locate local models by conducting searches for individuals or communities based on a wide range of contextual criteria.

Meeting new people in your area is as simple as joining a few photography groups, making some small talk, and going from there.

Using Facebook groups to network and form partnerships is highly beneficial.

Find local groups where models and photographers can work together. To join, simply ask to do so and provide a detailed description of the kind of photography you intend to do alongside examples of your best work.

Instagram

For photographers and models looking to work together, Instagram is a great place to connect with like-minded creatives. Take a look at the people who have been mentioned in posts with #modelling hashtags to see if there's anyone you'd like to collaborate with.

Your Friends

If you don't already have a friend who models, you should probably start by asking your friends if they'd be interested in shooting with you.

For your first few attempts at photography, you might try just shooting friends. You'll feel more at ease doing so, and you'll also learn to better compose your shots.

It's a great way to hone your skills and avoid looking like a complete amateur when working with a real model.

Keep in mind that the people you already know could be used as potential models for your photography. Your close friends and family would probably feel honoured if they found out you wanted to take their portrait.

The best part is that if you set up a session with someone you know, you can probably fake a "quid pro quo" arrangement.

Build Your Reputation

If you've already found some models and started publishing your photography, you're probably building a good reputation in your community.

In the near future, you could start getting offers for gigs. To the point where you become "the photographer" for a particular demographic, you could easily corner a niche market. You're in for good if you enter.

You can expect to book a few photoshoots after attempting at least one of these strategies.

In the event that you have a number of successful shoots with friends or models you have previously shot with, word will spread, and you should begin to receive opportunities as a result.

Avoid underestimating the power of tagging on social media as a means of increasing the exposure of your photos and, by extension, your name. It's clear that meeting new people is essential if you want to increase the likelihood that other people will want to shoot with you.

How to Approach Them

Great, but how do you actually go about working with models? How can you improve the possibility that they will join you in the shooting? When approaching a model for a collaboration or test, the first question you can expect to be asked is, Do you have a portfolio I can look at?  If you don't have a solid portfolio to begin with, you might get stuck here. You can get a photo shoot if you use these tips.

Professionalism

Maintaining an air of professionalism is essential from the very beginning. I feel obligated to at least bring this up, as I have heard horror stories from models. Maintain a level of professionalism from pre-shoot planning to final photo delivery. You won't get very far if you don't have any experience.

Be Direct

Always think things through and be forthright before approaching a potential model.

Explain your requirements and give them access to your previous work so they can see what they're in for.

Have a Plan

Saying something like, "Hey, let's shoot" or some other passive-aggressive enquiry will not improve your chances.

Tell them who you are, where you're from, how much you admire their work, the kind of project you're hoping to collaborate on, some sample concepts, and anything else that will help them get to know you better. You should approach this as you would a job search: by being well-organized and ready for anything.

Mood Board

You can start to differentiate yourself from the sea of amateur photographers by putting together a mood board. Model, location, design, and concept all on one board will make a strong impression.

Images that served as motivation for me can be found on Google Images or 500px. Create an 8.5 x 11-inch Photoshop collage of images that serve as inspiration for the shooting concept after you've culled the photos together.

Inviting a model to receive this email demonstrates that you put in time and effort into planning the shoot and may have even chosen the model based on the concept.

It's also a great way for teams to communicate and hone their skills, as everyone can see the same thing and work towards the same goal.

Tips for Finding Ideal Models for Your Portrait Photography

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Be Local

When scouting for models, stick close to home. You won't have to cover the model's or your own travel expenses, and it'll be much simpler to arrange a meeting.

Be Prepared

In my opinion, you should do this first. Determine exactly what it is you intend to capture on film. In this way, you can give the model a thorough explanation.

Give us a sample of your previous work to look at. Show them similar work by other filmmakers if you can find it, or make rough sketches if you have an idea you've never shot before.

Be Clear

Be specific about the model's compensation when agreeing on the shoot's concept and details. Let them know how many photos they will receive and in what format (whether only digital or prints as well).

Not only that, but you shouldn't share the unprocessed data with them. They might mess them up in Photoshop and then upload them to Instagram under your name. Of course, they could also do it with the finalised files if they wanted to.

I'd add that they should all agree beforehand on how the photos should be used on their respective social media pages.

Adult Models Only

Avoid dealing with irate parents or the law by passing on any potential young models. It is acceptable to request proof of age and to hire only adults over the age of 18.

Build Trust

Do not immediately ask, "Hey, would you shoot nudes?" if your job (or the current project) requires you to shoot naked people. Trust me, this will make you sound like a creep and may deter potential dates with women.

Maintain a level of professionalism and goodwill while being forthright about your efforts. In this way, you can earn and maintain your audience's confidence.

Collab Means Free

You shouldn't pay the model for the shoot, according to Mathieu. This isn't something I know much about.

Both parties benefit from this arrangement: the book publisher gets the photographs they need, and you get new clients for your portfolio. I'm sure there are photographers and models who find a different solution, but I agree with this one.

Get a Good Portfolio

Know that models typically get quite a few requests. So, it's up to you to grab their interest and inspire them to join forces with you. Make an effort to present your best work in a polished portfolio so that they will be interested in reading more about you and potentially hiring you.

Of course there will be times when you fail, either because you receive a negative response or because you hear nothing at all. However, this is not an excuse to stop trying. In order to find the perfect models to help you bring your ideas to life through photography, you need to keep looking, be professional, and be friendly.

Portrait Photography Can Take You Anywhere If You Let It

The only models many amateur photographers need are likely to be a friend and the family cat.

But if you want to make a name for yourself as a portrait photographer, you'll need to hire a model. Model photography is a great way to display your skill and demonstrate your ambition.

A sincere, kind, and polite demeanour will get you far in the modelling industry, and if you play your cards right, it's not hard to break in. Make sure they feel their best and have something tangible to show for their efforts.

Conclusion

Taking portraits is crucial if you want to develop your skills as a portrait photographer. Until you have a portfolio under your belt, it can be challenging to book shoots with willing models. As you gain experience as a photographer, your portfolio will improve, and you'll make more professional contacts. The best place to start looking for a top model is at a modelling agency. Some of the most popular and on-trend photographs are those of male and female models.

Do not forget that the models' time is just as valuable to them as it is to you. Like their counterparts who photograph the landscape or the streets, portrait photographers can often find motivation in their subjects. When a talented photographer works with a stunning model, breathtaking results can be achieved. Model Mayhem, DeviantArt, Facebook, and Instagram are great places to find models for portrait photography. Joining a local photography club or two is a great way to get to know people in your area.

It's extremely useful to use Facebook groups as a place to meet new people and establish working relationships. After implementing even one of these methods, you should have no trouble getting booked for a few photo shoots. Find other artists who share your passion for creativity on Instagram. Keep your cool from the time you start planning the shoot until you hand over the final images. Creating a mood board is a great way to start standing out from the crowd.

Teams can better communicate and develop their abilities through collaborative efforts because everyone is working towards the same goal. The book publisher gets the photos they need, and you get new customers to add to your portfolio. To succeed as a model, you need to present yourself as genuine, kind, and polite. Taking pictures of models is a fantastic way to showcase your abilities and impress potential employers. Put together a well-formatted portfolio of your finest work to pique their interest and encourage them to learn more about you.

Content Summary

  • How to find new subjects to photograph is a question that comes up frequently among beginning photographers.
  • Use your connections, charm your significant other, or simply ask around for willing models among your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • These days, finding models to work with is easier than ever thanks to the widespread use of social media.
  • If you're a frequent travelling who'd like to work with models in the area you'll be visiting, you can use the same strategy with great success by substituting the name of your destination for your hometown.
  • If you're looking for a top model, your best bet is to contact a modelling agency; these businesses are always on the lookout for new faces.
  • Working with different models on a regular basis will do wonders for your photography and your reputation as a professional.
  • A portrait model stands as your subject.
  • To find models for portrait photography, Model Mayhem is the go-to place.
  • Meeting new people in your area is as simple as joining a few photography groups, making some small talk, and going from there.
  • Using Facebook groups to network and form partnerships is highly beneficial.
  • Find local groups where models and photographers can work together.
  • Avoid underestimating the power of tagging on social media as a means of increasing the exposure of your photos and, by extension, your name.
  • You can start to differentiate yourself from the sea of amateur photographers by putting together a mood board.
  • Be specific about the model's compensation when agreeing on the shoot's concept and details.
  • You shouldn't pay the model for the shoot, according to Mathieu.
  • But if you want to make a name for yourself as a portrait photographer, you'll need to hire a model.
  • Model photography is a great way to display your skill and demonstrate your ambition.
  • A sincere, kind, and polite demeanour will get you far in the modelling industry, and if you play your cards right, it's not hard to break in.

FAQs About Portrait Photography

Most people think a portrait is a photograph of a person that only depicts them from head to shoulders. But a portrait can also be of your cat or your brother's feet on a skateboard. It should say something about the person you photograph or the person you are creating with the camera.

As with all photographs, the main photographic components of a portrait are light, composition, and moment. By focusing on each of these in our portrait photography, we'll stand a better chance of making great images.

Portrait photography is one of the most popular genres of photography, with good reason. Good portrait photographers are able to capture the personality and emotions of people around them, along with earning money via wedding photography, senior portraits, family photography sessions, and so on.

The seven principles of art and design in photography, balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity and movement, form the foundation of visual arts. Using the seven principles allows you to take greater control of your photographic practice. This will lead to better photos and more photographic opportunities.

Portraiture can tell us about how we see people. Portraits often show us what a person looks like, but they can also capture an idea of a person or what they stand for. Portraits can also tell us how a person wants to be seen and capture a particular mood the sitter is experiencing.

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