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Finding the Perfect Models for Your Photography: Essential Guide and Resources

As much as we’d like people lining up at the door to shoot with us, there are many reasons you may want to consider finding a model. Firstly, if you’re a newer photographer and lack a solid portfolio or a portfolio at all, booking models is an excellent way to build that book very fast.

Another reason you may want a model is that these types of sessions are a great way to try something new and experiment with your art. You don’t want to go into a client session unprepared, nor should a paying client be your guinea pig.

Finally, sometimes you just have an idea that you want to bring to fruition. This is a great way to keep yourself creatively motivated and inspired. 

Where to Find Models 

Here are five common ways to secure some models for your photo shoot!

1. Casting Call on Social Media 

Social media is one of the most powerful tools for a photographer (outside of the camera equipment, of course!). Social media can be used to share your work, market your business, and… cast models. 

Go ahead and do a model call or a model search on your personal profile, business profile, and in Facebook Groups made specifically for finding models in your city! 

2. Casting Call Through a Designated Website 

There are websites such as ModelMayhem that are specifically designed to find models. You can post a casting call (a post in which you describe the photo shoot, what model you are looking for, and whether or not this is a monetarily compensated photo shoot or you are exchanging images for modeling). 

This tends to be one of the easier ways to find models, and even give some new models a chance!

3. Modeling Agency 

If you have a very specific look in mind (especially for an art project) or casting models for a fashion editorial, contacting a modeling agency is the best course of action. Agencies specialize in hand picking models that are perfectly right for your project, and you can have the assurance that the model will be a professional. This is how many photographers find the subjects for their magazine editorial shoots, clothing catalog shoots, and more. 

Typically you would either fill out a form online under the agency’s website or give them a call and describe your model needs. 

4. Friends and Family

Friends and family are never a bad place to look! If you’re trying to build your portfolio or want to just have some fun, asking friends and family is a great place to start. If they aren’t interested, have them ask their friends. That can spread the news far and wide quickly. 

5. An Interest Club or Group

If you’re seeking a model to represent something specific, looking in an interest club or group is a great idea. Facebook and such social media websites make this a breeze, just join a group that relates to what you’re looking for and post a casting call in there. 

For example, if you want to shoot cosplay, join a cosplay group!

Things To Keep In Mind When Casting Models 

Now, there are a few things to keep in mind when casting models, primarily pertaining around avoiding miscommunication. 

1. Make Sure the Intent Is Clear 

A very common problem is both parties misunderstanding each other. Have a very thorough conversation with your model and make sure the intent and result is clear on your side and on his or her side. 

It is great to hop on the phone and talk it out, but make sure to also summarize the entire discussion in written format, such as an email, and send it to the model. This gives you both something to reference in case there is any confusion. 

2. Use a Contract 

Whether you’re finding a model for trade or for money, this is still a job. Draft up a contract based upon the discussion you had with the model and what you need the model for, and have both parties sign it. This protects yourself, the model, and once more keeps communication clear and concise. This ensures both sides deliver upon their promises. 

3. Have the Model Sign a Model Release Form

A model release form states that the model of the photograph consents to having their likeness used by the photographer. This is very important as the purpose of hiring a model is to be able to use their likeness! Make sure this is a sign so it doesn’t come back to bite you in the butt later. Some photographers place this in the contract, others have it as a separate document. 


In conclusion, this nifty guide should help you find a model for your photography endeavor! 

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