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So you're looking for a model for a photoshoot and you don't know where to start?

Whether you're a photographer just starting out, an amateur or professional photographer looking for further advice then this is the guide for you.

Firstly - ask yourself what sort of model you're looking for -
*Is the model important in the shoot?
*What sort of look do you need?
*Special requirements (for example if you're doing a fashion shoot you need to consider height

SO where do I look?
Models are quite easy to access as long as you know where to look and you know what you're looking for.
Top agencies (Storm, Elite etc) are going to want a lot of experience before they feel confident with you using their models. So if you're starting out an easy way is to look at a website called Modelmayhem ( It's a worldwide known website and you can browse people by city/country etc - perfect if you need to organise someone and you can contact the model directly. There's a mixture of experience on the website and you'll find some of the beginner models will begin to grow with you. Remember that building relationships are vital at the start of any photographers career and it will define how successful you are later on.

Remember a model can make or break a shoot, so have an idea of what sort of look you want your model to have before contacting agencies or contacting the model directly.

How do I approach them?
First and foremost - be confident. You don't need to sell yourself for a test shoot if someone is at the same level as you. You just need to be confident about the shoot you have in mind.
Planning is vital. Always have an idea in mind first then book your model accordingly - a model will feel more confident if you already have an idea set up, so they know they can turn up on the day and everything is set up. Remember they will be in front of the camera nearly all day! So making them confident on first approach is a very good tactic into getting them to work with you.

When contacting a model for a personal shoot or a 'test' you need to tell them it's TFP or TFCD (meaning their time for prints or pictures from you) - so no one is paying out and everyone is equal.

TIP - A confident and experienced model will show on your pictures. It may be worth investing in a shoot if you're just starting out and perhaps paying a model a little bit for her time. Unless you have an amazing porfolio already, the more experienced models will continue working with the experienced photographers. Please keep this in mind when looking for them.

How do I know what to look for?
You need inspiration - what sort of shoot do you want to do? Me and my boyfriend who are both photographers always collect fashion magazines and we have a collection of hundreds, it's always helpful to look through and find inspiration and also they are timeless - trends and themes are always circling and you'll find they are also helpful showing to a model on the day - to help with poses.

What websites are helpful?
*Modelmayhem -
*OneModelPlace -
*Net-Model -
*List of Model Agencies -…

I hope this is helpful to all you photographers out there. If you have any questions please note or email me at
Add a Comment:
ParisLynne Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2011   Photographer
willowindawn Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Student Photographer
I would kill for confidence ! :D
KarinaGlamorous Featured By Owner May 24, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much! :D
E1ecTRiCA Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010   Photographer
Thanks Lara :)
oddstalker Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
Thanks very much for this post! Any little bit of information is certainly worth knowing. =)
eduardocassus Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2010  Professional Photographer
Amazing post. I did not know this Modelmayhem site. It made my life so much easier.
Thank you!
leongrafico Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2009  Professional Photographer
Hola Lara, muy buenos tips. Para mi las cosas mas importantes es hacer buena quimica, tener claro el mensaje que deseas transmitir con la fotografia y siempre mantener el respeto. Si creas el ambiente apropiado y hay quimica con la modelo, las fotografias saldran casi solas. Despues de lograr tus fotos, experimenta con las luces, encuadres y angulos. Si hay algun momento de tension, de incomodidad, de cansancio, te recomiendo que descansen 5 o 10 minutos y retomen, puedes aprovechar para pedirle que se cambie de ropa, de esa forma las fotos saldran mas naturales, mas frescas.
Y cuando son fotografias de desnudo, tienes que tener muy en cuenta que el desnudo es algo muy natural y nunca veas a tus modelos con morbo. Saludos, Leon.
JayMbj Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
Do you have any tips on posing as well?
mashnash Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009
thank you very much!

you've helped a lot =D

such an inspiration.. what you do and how you do it! brilliant :)

nash x
dakoo Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2009
A very good guide.. Thanks a lot LARA..
Please do another one on MAKEUP.. That one is much needed too :)
howardbabcom Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009
Good, basic information, but you need to add Miss On Line to your list of helpful modeling websites:
as its on-line facilities simply leave the others standing.

larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
I'm not sure if the content of the site is going to be right for all the viewers that have seen this. No offense, but it seems to be aimed at glamour photography.
This model information was more aimed for up and coming fashion photographers.
howardbabcom Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009
Thanks for the response.

Most of my associates (photographers and models) work in the fine art as opposed to glamor field, and have found Miss On Line to be a far better location for inter-action and presenting work than some of the others mentioned.
I had some 250,000 plus viewings of my work on One Model Place, for example, in a single year, but it never generated any viable interest or work. I regularly inter-act, every week now, with people on Miss On Line - who are far more geared to the art and creativity of the genre, not just the commercial dimension.
moesang Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks :D it helps a lot, cheers
riotic-blood Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009
Great article.. completely inspiring...
Dragon168 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2009
Thanks and greeting from china.
PaulChristey Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
great tips Lara ;)
larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
matze-end Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
for german photographer "" :)
ramikin Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Student General Artist
Sorry about this, but shouldn't it be "my boyfriend and I"?

Otherwise GREAT ARTICLE!!!
larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
nitpicker ;)
ramikin Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2009  Student General Artist
:iconimhappiestplz: I know.
AshleyMarie-01 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Professional Photographer
Thanks for the tips. :) At the moment I'm still at the stage where I'm working with friends who are aspiring models but it's the faking the confidence bit that's really difficult for me. I manage, but I still have little private freak-out sessions when I'm on my own. Suppose the best way is to just push forward and do. I'm doing my first studio shoot with a friend in two weeks and really fighting the nerves. But I reckon I've followed most of your guidelines so feeling a bit better that I'm on the right track. :) Thanks!
yadiliz Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
I'm on modelmayhem.
hysterik Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
great help. thank you.
nykfury Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
lara, any chance you could give us just a few quick tips on working in the non-model arena? thanks! :)
larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
unfortunately not, as this isn't my area - i wouldn't be able to give a very in depth guide..
TACrafts Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
I find Net-Model very good for UK models, you did not mention purestorm!
larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
I cannot sit and name every website there is linked to modelling, i am here giving out free tips & its my time taken to help others :)
lugerman Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009   Photographer
Question, which magazines do you collect generally?

I buy the lurzer's archive whenever i can buy it even though i havent took a single frame in nearly 2 years... but thats just a 'getting money for another camera' issue, heheh!
KatMPhotography Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Professional Photographer
wonderful article... so helpful !

thanks lara xx
Picked-Jester Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
Helpful post...thanks much!
iUDEXnCr Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009   Photographer
thanks! easy and simple guide.
christinegeier Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009   General Artist
Thank you, much new information and suggestions.


I still don't know if I will be a human or only nature photographer,
I love both, but I often ask myself if I should concentrate on one?

I often shoot "newcomers" but some professionel models asked me to shoot them,
but I don't have enough time to plan it and I think my work stuff is too basic.

Step by step... :aww:
airielrian Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Student General Artist
Great article Lara, you are one of my favourite photographers. I was just perusing through your site today actually. Now, do you have the same kind of tips applied for models instead?
larafairie Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Professional Photographer
There's a million things I could write articles on and giving advice, unfortunately I don't have the time and some things you can only experience and learn for yourself.. :)
JamesMargerum Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can also use The Model [link]
Tourdumondiste Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a great article, thanks for the tips. Now, I have to found a way to ask somebody I know(I'm a shy guy), but she's not a model...
Hope her boyfriend wont be upset with that.
I was thinking of another tip if the model is not really confident/experienced,ask her to bring a friend along (that will be somebody who could do the make up, for the motivation, etc...).
KisekiPhotography Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009   Photographer
A helpfull feature of news. I like it alot.
It's exactly the right thing to do as photographer.
Sometimes I do modelling too and I love ModelMayhem.
It helps me better to find photographers in the Netherlands etc.
ChristopherFowler Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional Photographer
Fantastic tips.
mandilu Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional Photographer
Thank you very much for your advice! I've heard of modelmayhem before but not the others. thanks!
Vampiressartist Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article! I do want to work as a gothic model someday.
SoulEnslaver Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Very helpful article. Thanks ;)
o--tebem--o Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009   Photographer
thank you so much for this article! :)
lorahh Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
Thanks Lara. At the moment I'm just using my friends till I get a bit more comfortable behind the camera. I will definitely listen to some of this advise as I start to feel better about my work and start looking for models.
3moor1987 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009   Photographer
Thnx sweet Lara :D , amazing info here
Hellfire-Misstress Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Student Photographer
Thanks Lara, great help!
MoneLisa Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm trying a bit to be a model myself, so thanks for linking that model mayhem site :D
CorinneLouise Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
Thankyou. Very helpful :D
TenshiNoTsukiakari Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
This is extremely helpful!
I've been thinking about finding other models to help me, as I'm an amateur photographer and need all the help I can get.
I just had no idea how to go about finding them and how to approach them.
Thanks for this post =)
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