There are several ways to find models for your shoots. Nowadays, there are even Uber or Tinder-like apps that let you do it. However, these aren’t the only ways, and they probably don’t work for some photographers.
Mathieu Stern shares ten tips that will help you find an ideal model for your portrait shoot. It’s not just about finding a pretty girl or a handsome guy, but they need to be cool with your style and requirements, and you need to build trust. Mathieu shares tips on where to look, but also how to do it, how to present yourself and how to make the cooperation successful for both yourself and the model.
1. Be direct
Before you approach the potential model, it’s important to be completely direct and honest. Tell them what you expect and provide the links to your work so they can get familiar with it and see what they can expect.
2. Search Facebook groups
Facebook groups are a great way to exchange ideas and find people to collaborate with. Find groups for collaboration between models and photographers in your area. Ask to join, and post some samples of your best work with the clear description of what you want to shoot.
3. Search Instagram
Instagram is highly popular among both photographers and models, and a great place to find people to collaborate with. Search through hashtags related with modeling and see if there’s anyone you’d like to work with.
4. Be local
When looking for models, keep focused on your area. It’s easier to meet, and you or the model won’t have to pay travel expenses.
5. Be prepared
Personally, I think this is something to do before everything else. Have a clear idea in mind about what you want to shoot. This way, you can clearly explain it to the model. Provide some of your old work as a reference. If you have an idea you’d never shot before, show them someone else’s similar work if you can find it, or make sketches.
6. Be clear
When agreeing about the concept and details of the shoot, be clear what the model will get. Be specific about how many photos they will get and in which form (whether only digital or prints as well). And don’t give them the raw files. They could edit them badly and post on Instagram with your credits, which doesn’t do you a favor. Although, they could do it with the finished files too. I’d add my own piece of advice here – agree in advance about the conditions of posting the photos on their social media accounts.
7. Adult models only
In order to avoid problems with parents or authorities, never work with underage models. Feel free to ask for age, and only work with those who are over 18.
8. Build trust
If your work (or the current project) involves shooting nudes, don’t just ask “Hey, would you shoot nudes?” immediately. This can scare girls off, and trust me, you’ll sound like a creep. Of course, be honest about your work, but be professional and kind. This way you will build trust and keep credibility.
9. Collab means free
Now, this isn’t something I’m too familiar with, but according to Mathieu, you shouldn’t pay the model for the shoot. In this case, it’s a win-win situation for you both, because they get the photos for the book, and you get them for your portfolio. I’m sure there are photographers and models who resolve this differently, but personally, I think I’d also go with this approach.
10. Get a good portfolio
Keep in mind that models get a lot of requests. So, you need to get their attention and make them want to work with you. Therefore, make sure your portfolio is good-looking so you get them to actually browse through your work and want to work with you.
Of course, sometimes you’ll fail, meaning that you’ll get a “no” or won’t get the reply at all.But this doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep looking, be professional and nice, and you’ll find ideal models to help you turn your ideas into photos.
[10 TIPS TO FIND GREAT MODELS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY | Mathieu Stern]