There are times in our careers when hiring models is the right direction to go. Perhaps you are looking to expand your portfolio to offer sessions to a new target market (like boudoir, bridal boudoir, graduation sessions, branding photography), or you have moved to a new city and need to begin connecting with new people in your area. Perhaps you have a new, fun, creative idea and you’re looking for someone to help you bring your vision to life. No matter what it is, models can be a great choice to work with someone who knows their angles, is connected and can help you make the most out of your time together.
I have gone the model route a number of times and find it’s always a great way to start networking in a new city and build your portfolio. Every time I move, working with models is how I integrate into a new place and begin using word of mouth to grow my business.
So how do you find models?
There are two potential routes you can take to find models…
Route 1 - Hiring from Modelling Agencies
Most larger cities have modelling agencies. Even if you don’t live right in a larger city, there’s probably a big city nearby. You can do a search for agencies in your area, then inquire to hire a model for building your portfolio. The perk of this are these models probably know their stuff-- they’ll know how to position and pose their bodies, they’ll be easy to work with and you’ll get good shots for the amount of money you’ll pay to hire them. Another perk is that you can often see all the models online before so you can select the model or models that would most represent your ideal client.
Route 2 - Social Media aka- my method
I have used social media to find models each and every single time I need them. I start by just browsing through social media for models. When doing this, you can search for local brands in your area and look to see who they have used as a model. You may be directed to a modelling agency or you may find that there are some individuals in your area who enjoy modelling in their free time. These are some of the models I love working with best because your potential clients may feel they can relate better to them when they see your portfolio.
When approaching potential models, I would simply tell them a bit about who I am (providing my website to them as a professional example of my work), tell them that I am new to the area, that I just opened up a boudoir studio and that I’m looking for models who will be able to also use the images for their own portfolio as well.
I let the models know that this is of no charge to them because I want them to share their experience! I want them to talk to their friends and if they didn’t have to pay, they will most likely be more willing to share their story and experience. Plus, models have the ability to connect you with the ‘right’ people who can help you build your business. If someone has been modelling they’ll know other models, amazing hair and makeup artists and other incredible creatives that could be wonderful to collaborate and connect with.
When I first started using social media to connect with models, a big stroke of luck had me end up connecting with a hair and makeup artist in the fashion industry who loved my work and was also looking to build her portfolio. She had connections to a modelling agency so, with her hair and makeup skills and my photography, we worked together to shoot all their new faces. Finding models was no longer a ‘scroll through social media’ to see who could find tunnel-- I now had a list at my fingertips.
Using social media to find models is a great way to find the popular faces in your area that can help propel you in your area. If you find a face that seems to be popping up across different pages of different brands, it’s a model who is probably well known and well connected. Take a leap and introduce yourself! Offer a free session in exchange for images for their portfolio and see what happens. The worst thing that you’ll hear back is they’ll say no and you’re no worse off than when you started your search.
Do you work with models? How do you find them? Share your answer below!