Oh Joy Oh Bliss, I wonder where the model is? (First published in 2014)
I recently decided that I needed to shoot some pictures for a website with some new models: as if I hadn’t already lost enough hair. Now the internet is a wonderful place as long as you remember that 90% of it is made up by people who have no idea what they are talking about whilst only about 10% is actually useful. (Oh and since you wondered only 4% is porn *). At this point you should be saying ‘How does he know this? Actually I don’t; I just made up the first two statistics based on my personal experience and bias. The third statistic actually comes from a reasonably creditable source and if you follow the * to the bottom of the page you will find a link to where this came from.
So what has all this to do with finding photography models? Well the first place most photographers are going to look is the internet. A search for “Photographic Models ‘your area’” will yield some interesting results and is a good way to waste an hour. The answer is to use the dedicated modelling sites. Again there are loads of these that are useless but the big ones, in order of my and most of the models I work with preference, are PurplePort, Pure Storm and Model Mayhem. The great thing about these sites is that they provide a feedback facility, similar to that used on eBay, so that photographers can write references for models and vice versa. These references are credited to source and you can view the photographer’s portfolio and make a judgement on their accuracy the same way I provided you with a link to the statistics source in the opening paragraph.
Viewing a models portfolio will show you whether they have worked with a variety of photographers, do they have different looks, poses or are there just a couple of selfies. The sites also provide you with a lot of useful information including;
Last Login. If this was more than a month ago forget them.
Location. Ideally you want to work with local models.
Stats & Sizes. Useful if you need to provide clothes.
Work Preferences. There’s no point booking a fashion model for art nude.
This information helps you reverse the original statistics so that 80% of the models you are looking at are sensible, professional and reliable and 20% are time wasters (another made up statistic but based on personal experience).
There are two ways to contact models on the site. The first is by direct message. Explain briefly what you want to do, where the shoot will be, whether you are offering paid work or TFP/CD (Time For Prints/Digital Images) . The speed and standard of the reply is a good indicator of the models experience and commitment. A sensible model is going to look at your folio and ask a few questions. If all you get back is the equivalent of ‘Yeah OK,’ proceed with caution. The second method is to put out a Casting Call. This is the same format as your e mail but everyone can read it. Always put the type of work and location in the subject line. This is an example of one of my castings.
Looking for models to collaborate with on fine art location shoots in Norfolk and Suffolk UK
Hi, I am looking for some new models for fine art work on location in Norfolk and Suffolk. Although some of the work is clothed I’d prefer models who are happy with at least figure nude so we have the option to shoot a wider variety of pics if the location is suitable.
Ideally I’d prefer models reasonably close to my location so that we can do several and/or regular shoots and work on ideas. Initially I’m looking to work TFCD but subsequent shoots could be paid or we could shoot something specifically for your portfolio.
I’ve updated my profile with some of my existing work to show the style of pics I am looking to shoot and you can see loads more here
You will notice that I have put relevant pictures on my portfolio on the site and provided a link to my own site. Remember the models will be checking you out as well.
If you are starting from scratch and don’t have any pictures you can use in your folio you have two options. Either persuade friends to pose for you; even if it is only a few portraits it will still give an idea of your competence as a photographer or book a studio which can provide a model. Don’t be put off by having to use lighting as many studios are very user friendly. Be honest with them when you book and ask if there is someone who can set everything up for you. Many models quite sensibly prefer to work in the safety of a hire studio when working with an unknown photographer.
The title? Oh Joy Oh Bliss I wonder where the model is? I’m writing this as I have time on my hands after a model cancelled a paid shoot with less than 24hrs notice when it was obvious she knew she was not going to be able to work well in advance of that. I should have realised she was one of the 20%, in spite of the glowing references, by the three word e mails.