So, you want to get serious about portrait or fashion photography. But alas: you still don’t have a portfolio, and your budget is tight for professional models. In this video, Chelsea Nicole shares some tips for finding models even if you have no budget, so you can start building a portfolio and get your career going.
It’s probably the easiest to start with friends, friends of friends, co-workers, or family. This is something I do when I want to practice photographing people and break my awkwardness when directing them. When you make at least 6-8 awesome photos like this and create a part of your portfolio, it will be easier to reach professional model for collaborations.
2. Model websites
You can also look for models on websites like ModelMayhem. At the point where you’re just starting to build a portfolio, you can connect with new, aspiring models and collaborate with them. They are looking for someone to help them expand their book, and you’re looking for someone to help you create a portfolio, so it’s a win-win situation.
If you opt for this method, Chelsea recommends two methods. The first is to put out a casting call and make sure to include these elements:
- The compensation: note that it’s TFP (trade for pictures) and that you don’t have a budget
- The look: if you’re looking for a specific look, vibe or style in a model, make sure to note it
- What’s included: you can offer wardrobe, hair, and makeup, or you can note that the model should provide their own
- What’s required: note some specific things you expect, like clothing, nail color, makeup and here (if they’re providing it) and so on.
- Mood-board: if it’s possible, also add a mood-board to the ad to show the general mood and vibe of the shoot and make sure everyone’s on the same page.
The second method Chelsea recommends is using the Browse feature. This can be more time-consuming, but it lets you filter the models by very specific parameters and choose the perfect ones for your shoot.
Another way to look for models is Instagram, and it can be pretty convenient. You can search for models by using hashtags. For example, type in #losangelesmodel if you’re looking for a model in L.A. You can also contact fashion bloggers: they always need new content and it can be a win-win situation for both of you.
When you find the models/fashion bloggers you’d like to work with, engage with their content and contact them with a proposition for collaboration.
4. Facebook groups
There are a lot of Facebook groups for all kinds of stuff – so it’s logical to assume that you’ll find some for connecting models and photographers. You can easily find them by typing, for example, “Los Angeles model” and browsing through the “Groups” tab.
5. Facebook ads
If you run a Facebook page to promote your work, you can also use Facebook ads to search for models. These ads are pretty cheap and you can target very specific groups you’d like to collaborate with. Make sure to include the link to your website where people can find more information and apply for the shoot.
Although I love portrait photography, I rarely photograph people because of the awkwardness I feel when I need to direct them. But precisely because of that awkwardness, when I decide to do some portrait photography, I reach out to my friends and family. But if you’re more serious about portrait or fashion photography, I believe you can find all these methods useful for helping you build your portfolio and jump-start your career.
[HOW TO FIND MODELS // with no $$$ or portfolio | Chelsea Nicole]
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