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How to find and hire a professional model

Have you constantly begged your friends and family members to act as the front runner for your photo shoot?

Or possibly you’re looking to improve your photography skills, experiment with brand new looks for your portfolio to show to potential clients.

If so, this is the time to hire a model.

Searching for a model for the first time can be daunting. What’s the best way to do it? Straight to a modelling agency, reach out over social media? How much can you expect to pay?

As with so many things in the photography industry, the answer depends on scope, scale and budget.

Make a plan for your modelling shoot

First, envisage and prepare for the photo shoot in as much detail as possible. This not only helps makes your own intentions clear, it helps you explain to a model or agency what you’re searching for. Spontaneity during a shoot is one thing but approaching the project with nothing more than “let’s take pictures for two hours on Saturday” is a harder sell.

The original scope also informs you of where to start searching for a model. If the shoot is informal or low budget, the best option will be using social contacts to fulfil your aim.

Where should you look for models?

You can search for models online. You can also look for a public board for connecting models, photographers, stylists and various creative amateurs and sometimes even professionals.

Look for a website that lists a wide range of people in terms of age, experience, appearance, etc.

Good sites will let you search the page with an advanced options, letting you specify the attributes that fit your idea of the image you want to create.

After you find your potential model, ask for an in-date selfie, ideally with minimal or no makeup, as often hair styles and other appearances may be different than what’s shown in a model’s profile photos.

Furthermore, be specific about piercings, tattoos and other details that might not fit your vision of the shoot.

How much should I pay to hire a model?

Some models are willing to work for free, or in exchange for images, but you then have a high chance of no-shows with ‘free work’. Some models’ profiles note’s hourly rates, but it can be possible to negotiable and you can offer a bonus in addition after the shoot to models you’d like to work with again.

Make sure you get a signed model release for every shoot. “Just because a model agrees to one shoot doesn’t mean she agrees to another” never presume.