Updated: Nov 13, 2020
So you are looking to photograph some models? Maybe its for a bit of fun or maybe you want to get serious into the photography game. Either way; here's my guide to get you up and running.
If this is your first time using a model, unless you have large amounts of disposable income and don't mind paying out for a top level professional model there are ways to get people to model for you for free! Yes you thats right, free! The two ways which have worked for me are using a website called purpleport.com or facebook groups.
Using either of these methods you may struggle a little to get a model because if you don't have any previous photoshoots it can reduce your credibility. Of course if you have already done photoshoots this eliminates that problem. There are two ways you can overcome this.
Method one- do a photoshoot with some friends or someone you know so then you have images to show people.
Method two- go on a facebook group (I wouldn't recommend doing this on purple port), show them your portfolio and explain to people that you would like to get into portrait photography. If you persist you will be sure to find someone. I personally used the second method, posted a some of my landscape shots on a few groups and explained I wanted to start shooting models. Then I was lucky to get some shoots organised the following week.
The kind of facebook group I'm referring to are more than likely to be found in your area. Just type the area you live in followed by modelling. As you can see in the screenshot below, this is an example of the kind of group that will get you people to model for free.
I say free which it is but in the industry you call is TFP. This means Trade for print. Most people will want digital copies of the images so don't take it too literally. However you should make your agreement clear before you begin the shoot.
If you wish to use purpleport you will have to make a profile. I would say its even more important to have a portfolio of images to find people on here. You must also be aware that some of the models are looking for paid work and do not work for free. This site is great for helping you select the kind of people you want to work with. The search engine helps you narrow down the kind of features etc you might want from a model.
Once you have built yourself up using these two methods you can move on to doing test shoots for modelling agencies. Test shoots are what the agency uses to see if new models joining their company are good on camera. There will be modelling agencies in your area and you can get in contact with them showing your portfolio to get some more work. This may be paid or unpaid. I'd advise to start with unpaid and maybe look for paid work after building a relationship with the agency.
Test shoots are usually done with a plain background in a studio, however I have done many location based test shoots too. The image to the right is an example of one of my test shots
So if you are looking to shoot models for fun then these two methods can definitely get you models for free. And if you are looking to start something a bit more serious then getting in contact with modelling agencies and slowing growing from there to getting more serious client. Who knows even fashion brands ultimately! Thats how to get started and I wish you the best of luck.
Thank you for reading!