How to Get Models for a Photo Shoot

by D. Laverne O'Neal

When you are starting out in photography, the prospect of a shoot with models, makeup and wardrobe stylists, lighting technicians, and various assistants may seem like an unattainable dream. The truth is it may be easier to organize a shoot than you think. Depending on the pool of available talent, putting together a photo shoot can be a step-by-step process. Even in regions where talented shoot crew members are not readily available, booking models can be one of the easier tasks.

Post an ad on craigslist. Craigslist is a community site that incorporates want ads, personal ads and purely community features. There is a craigslist site for large and most medium-sized U.S. cities, as well as many other countries. The "Gigs" section of craigslist is free to ad posters. Be sure to state in your ad relevant details of the shoot, such as date, time and location. Let potential models know what you are looking for, including age, body type, height, weight, dress/suit size, even hair length, if applicable. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to weed out unwelcome responses.

Network relentlessly. Maybe you don't know any potential models. But your friends and relatives just may. This is an especially good way to go if you are looking for less experienced or "real people" models. "Real people" models are everyday folks who may not have spent much time in front of a camera. Companies often use "real people" models to portray moms, factory workers, doctors or students to add veracity to an ad campaign.

Contact an agency. If you seek experienced models or models with a certain look, an agency may be your best bet. Agencies represent modeling talent by age, type of look (fashion vs. commercial) and specialty. Specialty models include hand models, shoe models, leg models and more. Using an agency may involve more paperwork than finding models on your own, so be prepared.

Contact a casting company. Casting companies charge a fee, but they keep a database of models in their files. Again, you can choose according to age, look, dress size, body type and more. Once you pay the fee, casting companies will allow you to access their databases to search. They can also set up go-sees--auditions for models--so you can see potential models in person.

Post fliers or posters. If you are looking for college students, for example, you may want to place ads on campus billboards. If seeking athletic types, put fliers up at the local gym. To find dancers, dance and Pilates studios are an ideal place to start.

Items you will need

  • Internet connection
  • Telephone
  • Printer

About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

Photo Credits

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