Every now and then, especially when I’m booked on workshops, I get frequently asked where to find models and how to approach them.
So, I thought it might be a good thing to write a blog post about this topic.
As this topic is quite broad and long blog posts don’t get read as much, I’m going to split the topic into several sections.
* finding models – how and where?
* approaching them / written communication
* behaving on set
* communicating after the shoot
Today, I’m trying to keep it short and simple concerning the first two points.
Well, times have changed and the formerly well frequented online platforms like model-kartei and modelmayhem are less and less frequented and experienced a fair drop in quality of the work portrayed there.
Which is also why several of the great ones that used to present their work on these platforms now deleted their accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping some pictures up there and checking now and then for some good job offers or for interesting workshops, model sharings, and of course models from your region for example.
Before the decrease, these platforms where a good option to pursue your hobby or passion or even job.
Now, today Facebook and Instagram are more and more present and I consider it fair to say that basically if you’re not present on these platforms, you rarely exist on the internet.
Nowadays only few people go and search for websites if they search for a photographer, respectively a model. (Unless your SEO content is of such a major quality that your website is one of the first three ones popping up when I google “photographer in [insert area]” for example.
I know that especially certain generations have a critical opinion towards social media and that even having a Facebook account is a nuisance to them. And by the way, I completely understand that!
But, I think it’s just fair to say that you should consider the option.
Now, wherever you search, here some general points:
Instead of searching directly for models, here’s another option: Find photographers whose style you like and click through their portfolio. Mostly the models are linked (as they should be, credit to those who deserve it, huh) and then you can check out their portfolio and see whether it matches your wishes and needs. If you’re unsure whether they are the right choice and whether they have the right work ethic, check for their rating or even ask one of the photographers that worked with them.
Read their sedcard text!!! Normally, if not totally devoured by nowaday’s crippled communication, the models show all important information, like range of work (fashion, portrait, nude, etc.), availability (full-time job or student), prices, special features (freckles, tattoos, etc.), impairments (allergies, short sightedness, etc.), measurements, skills (needs a MUA or can do make-up themselves) and so forth in their profile text.
Make really sure that your interest in working with this model is genuine, otherwise you do not only waste their, but mostly your own time as well.
Then write them a message in which you already include parts of the concept you’d like to produce with them.
If possible, have a mood board ready and/or save and like the pictures of the chosen model that you really appreciate and like.
Include pictures of the styling you’d like from their portfolio or in your mood board or if you offer the option of getting the desired clothes, tell them. (nothing more annoying than getting a request for a bridal shoot and three messages into the convo you mention that the model should bring their own wedding dress – which not every model possesses, just saying –)
Let them know, if they need make-up skills or if you provide a make-up artist.
Most importantly: State within the first three sentences if it’s a TFP or a paid shoot!
Make it easy for both you and communicate clearly. No, you don’t have to write a novel, bullet points are fine, but brief them correctly, it saves a lot of time on both sides.
And respect your potential model. If the box for “nude” is not ticked… guess what? It means they don’t do nude shoots!
(I know it sounds obvious, but believe me, you can’t imagine how many people don’t seem to pay attention to the basic info on the sedcard.)
If you visit workshops, ask the photographer who is giving the workshop whether they can recommend models.
If you are a beginner and you want to focus on technical stuff, let me give you an advice: Don’t shoot with a beginner model.
Be willing to pay! Pay for an advanced and experienced model who knows how to act in front of the cam, so you can focus on light, lens, aperture, ISO and all the other things you need to focus on.
You save yourself a lot of energy with that, because it can put pressure on you, if the model doesn’t know what to do and asks “like this?”, “should I do this?”, etc. because they feel just as insecure as you do. (same goes the other way round, but I already talked about that in another blogpost on building a portfolio)
So, once again, in a nutshell:
* search on model/photography platforms
* search on social media
* scroll through other photographers’ profiles and check out their models
* ask the leading photographer at a workshop for recommended models
* read the model’s sedcard text and check their portfolio and their range of work
* communicate your concepts and ideas clearly
* put all relevant information in your message
* state if it’s a TFP or paid shoot
* state what you provide and what they should bring
* as a beginner: be willing to pay for an experienced model
I hope my ideas provided some impulses and inspiration for you.
Let me know what you think or if you have ideas that I missed, shoot me a message.
So long, my dears.