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Working with a model can create some of the most engaging, impactful and powerful photography; but, choosing the right model is critical to your success. However, you might be asking how you can go about finding the right model for your photoshoot, particularly if you’ve never worked with a model before.
Start with a Mood Board To Clarify Your Vision for the Photoshoot. Making a mood board is one of the best ways to start the process of selecting a model for your photoshoot. A mood board is a collage of pictures, photos and images that portray the feeling, atmosphere and concept that you want to create in your photoshoot.
You can scan through fashion magazines and other publications and tear out a selection of pictures that help you to pre-visualize your photo shoot and the type of model you might want to use for it.
Traditionally a mood board was a physical sheet of paper, usually fairly large, however you can also make a digital one using Pinterest, Juxtapose or photo editing software. Once you’ve made your mood board you can share it with any potential model to see if they like the feel of what you’re trying to create. This will immediately give them a glimpse into what you’re aiming to achieve and will help them to get into character for the shoot.
6 Tips To Help You Find a Model for Your Photoshoot.
It’s never been easier to find a model to work with although despite that fact, it can be daunting and you may not know where to start. Here’s a list of the best ways to find a model for your photoshoot, and whether you’re looking for an experienced professional or an amateur, with the right strategies you should be able to find the perfect fit for your project.
- Work with a Friend: The first way to find a model is to ask around your friends and contacts to see if any of them would be interested. They may even be happy to work with you for free if you give them some prints of the photos afterwards. Working in a photoshoot with someone you already know pretty well will put them in a relaxed mood during the process and it will be easy to convey what you’re looking for in the shoot.
- Network and Make Contacts in Fashion Agencies: As a photographer you need to be able to make contacts and working connections with people in a wide range of fields. One the areas that you need to stay involved with is the world of fashion and modelling, particularly if you want to use models in your photoshoots. Getting to know people in local fashion agencies is an invaluable way of finding experienced and up and coming models that you can work with. You’ll also get to know models who specialize in different looks and styles which you can use in future photoshoots.
- Make Sure Your Own Portfolio is Relevant and Up To Date: When you’re looking for models to work with it can really help your search if you can show them your own past work. This will give them an idea as to the type of work you do and will make it much easier to find a good fit for your future projects. Keep your portfolio up to date and include photos that are relevant or related to your current projects.
- Attend As Many Social Events as You Can: You never know who you might meet at social events, especially in the creative fields. Go to gallery openings, photography gallery events and other get togethers that are occuring in your area. Be ready to pull out your business card if you meet people you might be able to work with in the future – but still enjoy yourself!
- Leverage the Power of the Internet: Use all the platforms that are available to you including Facebook and Instagram. You can often find models on these platforms as well as examples of their past work. You can also narrow your search to models in your area and easily get in touch by sending them a direct message.
- Hire and Work with a Modeling Agency: If you’re embarking on a serious project and want to work with top quality models then hiring a modeling agency might be the best approach. They can handle all the paperwork and put you in touch with a large number of models that you can choose from to work with in your photoshoot. The prices won’t be cheap but you’ll be able to work with an experienced professional who has a good profile. For lower prices you can check out freelance modelling websites where you can find experienced models in your area who will charge more reasonable rates.
3 Tips For Finding the Ideal Candidate For Your Photoshoot.
The Right Look – Be Specific.
When you set out to choose a model try to have a clear idea of what you want in mind. Before you start your search you can write a list of criteria to look for. You can be as specific as you want, including features such as the model’s physique, hair and eye color, and much more besides.
Of course, the more specific your requirements are, the harder it will be to locate a model that ticks every box so be prepared to allow room for some flexibility; especially if you’re working to a tight budget.
Think about what kind of clothes you want the model to wear in the shoot. You’ll want to take into account how the clothes will look on different models because certain items look more flattering on thin models while others look better on curvy or muscular ones. Similarly, the patterns and colors of the clothes themselves may suit certain characteristics better than others, including hair color and physique.
What kind of photoshoot will it be? Are you going to create a high fashion, urban or catalogue style photoshoot? Depending on what you’re aiming for you’ll want to find a model that suits the image, attitude and personality of your creative vision.
Explore The Work History and Portfolio of Your Model.
Before you start to work with a model, even on a short term basis, you should check out their past work and portfolio. This will give you a good idea of how they perform in the photoshoot and the kind of styles, looks and mood that they are most comfortable and adept at portraying. When studying their portfolio don’t judge it by the number of pictures and instead focus on the quality of the images, the quality of the model’s poses and how naturally they come across in the images.
You’ll always want to make sure that the model is reliable, will turn up for the shoot and have the kind of experience that fits with your project. Spend some time scrolling through the model’s website or social media pages especially looking out for any social proof or recommendations.
Compensation – Establish it in Advance.
Generally speaking, there are two main ways that you can compensate a model for a photoshoot. You can either pay them a one off payment for the shoot. You can either pay this up front in advance, if you trust their work ethic and reliability, or you can pay them after the shoot is finished.
Alternatively, you can compensate the model with a Time for Print offer. This means that you will give them free prints from the shoot and the right to use them in their own self promotional work, including their portfolio but you don’t have to pay them a monetary sum. Remember that even though this will save you some money, the likelihood is that the model will not have a great deal of experience. Still it’s a good way for both you and the model to build up your experience and improve your skills in photoshoots.
A third option that you can arrange is a situation where the model gets a percentage of the future sales of the pictures. You’ll have to draw up a contract for this, however, it can be a good arrangement if you’re unsure of how much the photos will earn you in the future.
Are There Agreements That You Need To Sign to Work with a Model in a Photoshoot?
When working as a photographer in a professional capacity you should always make sure that you have covered the legal bases to protect the rights of the model and yourself. To ensure that you are both on the same page in terms of payments, the rights to the images and future revenue, the model should read and sign a Model Release Form.
A model release form is a legally binding written agreement between the photographer and model. The agreement can be put together in several different ways but it fundamentally ensures that you and the model agree on who owns the rights to images after the photoshoot.
If the model you are working with is under 18 then their parents need to sign the model release form and any revenue will go to the model’s parents. Usually though, for models over 18 they sign the agreement.
You can get free templates from the internet or pay a lawyer to write one up for you which you can reuse in the future. The model release form will detail the rights to the images and the recipients of any revenue. You could agree that the model will receive a percentage of future revenues or that you have the rights to all the revenues.
Selecting A Model For A Photoshoot.
It can feel like there is a lot to deal with before you cast your first model for a photoshoot but if you start off by creating a mood board and then write down a list of criteria you’ll be well on your way to having a clear idea of what you need to find.
Next you should establish an approximate budget for your photoshoot and then, depending on what’s available, work through the avenues that you can use to find the right model to work with. Once you’ve contacted and connected with a model make sure that you clearly agree who will own the rights to the images and the revenue from them in the future, and sign a model release form to avoid any legal headaches down the road.
Which platform do you use to find models for your photoshoot?