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Photography Notes: How to find and contact models

I believe everyone feels a little tension when trying to find a model and when reaching out to someone new. I'll share some of my  advice to finding and contacting models for your awesome, new photography projectscontact models

The search

My go to place to find models is Model Mayhem. This is where I was first contacted by a model, and the first place I look for people for my projects. It could be familiarity but it's also the fact that it's an awesome resource with a large network of creatives. I used to spend hours reading their forums a few years ago and learned a lot from this community. The website is not the most intuitive but it does offer the opportunity to browse for different people depending on location and  experience and also allows you to post a casting call for a specific photoshoot.A similar website is Purple Port. I joined Purple Port a year ago and I feel like a lot more things are happening on it and people seem to be more active in arranging events and photoshoots. Most of the castings, events and models are looking for payed work so if you are looking for Time for Print definitely check the model description first.A few things to consider when looking for a model on these resources:

  1. Last active date - make sure the model is active on the website you then avoid waiting for an answer that might not come.
  2. Read their profile. It's great to know a few things about the person who you will work with. You might also discover the type of work they would be excited by or if they recently had a change of haircut.
  3. Can you afford the fee? Do they accept TFP (Time for Print)?
  4. Does the model go with your photoshoot theme? Make sure you have an idea about the photoshoot you want to organise.

The third resource I would recommend is Instagram. If you don't have an Instagram account yet ..then ..what are you doing??!?! It's my favourite social media platform and the app I am most active on. It is also a great place to look for models and be found by models.Finding models on Instagram is a bit more challenging than with the other two platforms. Here are some tips:

  1. Tags! search for the right tag! I live in Cardiff so I would search for: #cardiffmodel #cardiffmodels #cardiffportrait #cardiffactor #cardiffphotographer etc. You get the gist..
  2. Other photographers in your area. If you follow other photographers in your area check out their profile and see who they worked with. Most photographers tag the model in the image and this way you can find their account.
  3.  Call for models. Use appropriate hashtags in your posts and stories to advertise that you are interested in finding models in your area. You might get lucky :)

 Instagram Models

The message

Now that you have a few models that would be great for your shoot it's time to reach out. This is the moment when I get a bit sweaty and nervous: what are they going to say? What are they going to think? What if I make a grammar mistake? Ahh what if my work is not good enough.. (yes indeed we all have those thoughts)But what I say to myself is: I can never really grow without challenging myself, the model is just as nervous as me when working with someone new. We are all human and we all try to figure this world and this life out.Ok back to the message. A simple introduction and enquire should be enough."Hi [pretty model name], I really like your portfolio! Currently I am interested in doing a [style of shoot]  in [location] and I believe your look would be perfect for this. I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a TFP shoot. You can check some of my work here: to see my style. Let me know if you would like to have a chat about the opportunity of working together.Have a great day,Diana "Message Tips:

  1. Be nice but be yourself. Don't be too formal, don't use words you wouldn't normally use, talk about your excitement about working with them (that's the whole reason you are reaching out right?!)
  2. Add a link to your work and even to a personal account - the model will feel more at ease knowing who you are and what your style is.
  3. If you can't pay the model make sure you ask for a TFP or test shoot from the start.

Follow-up discussion

If the message doesn't come back it could be for a multitude of reasons .. but I guess you'll have to try with another model ..and let it be.Now let's say the answer comes back.It's a NO - Great! We have an answer, not the one we want but .. we don't have to wait around anymore, we know a reason. Best to say thanks and keep an open link for future collaborations (networking is key in the Photography Industry)It's a YES - Awesome! The discussion is open now it's just about finding a date, a place and explaining your vision as best you can! I recommend making a Mood Board on Pinterest. Here's an example of a project I am hoping to work on soon, and a good tutorial from Kayleigh June about Creating a Mood Board.It's not a bad idea to go for a coffee beforehand if the project is more complex. If your project is minimalistic and it doesn't need much preparation make sure you let the model know what style of clothes to bring and how to do their hair and make-up on the day.For example regarding the makeup and clothes I could say: "The style of the project is urban/street. Basic idea: a casual look, minimalistic (no crazy patterns tongue) something like jeans and a lose jumper/tshirt. For the make-up a day look/natural colours with accent on the eyes and glossy lips. As for the hair I love it curly and full of volume as I can see it in your portfolio" (and yes I did actually sent this in a message).Contacting a model  After this don't forget pointing out the dates and times you are free and keep in touch. Also make sure you check a couple of days before the shoot that everything is still on schedule.There you have it!Good luck with your new photoshoots :D