How Do Beginners - Like me - Get Models?

Hi Guys!

I decided to write this as I imagine I am not the only one to ever have had this dilemma. A lot of people have great shooting ideas but just don't know how to approach the tricky subject - of models and, of course, associated releases - required to implement such ideas. The unfortunate consequence of this is that a lot of creative ideas remain just that - ideas that never become reality. What a shame...

There can be no doubt that Top Pros - such as the Yuri Arcurs' - amongst us are obviously pretty good at this. Well, I don't know about you but I am not quite Yuri yet! Ha ha... I suppose experience has meant that such pros now have a good handle on addressing this issue. But how about guys like you and me who are fairly new to the game? How do we go about it? How do we make those shots - we dream of creating - a reality? I have often asked myself this very same question.

The often suggested approaches include the traditional cash for models. However, I find it hard to imagine this being a viable option for the average beginner - like me! Ha ha... Then there is the barter trade idea (such as profile shots for MR), but again the challenge here is finding people who would value such deals (predominantly professional models).

Self portraits (perhaps like fellow bloggist Jordan Monago suggested) are also a option. However, I suspect one would very quickly reach a point where being the director, producer, actor/actress and - literally - camera man/woman on the same shot, could start to affect flexibility and creativity.

So, my approach is thus... Get social... Let the people around you (for me these are primarily friends and family) know about you passion for photography... And then get them involved! The models in the shots below all fall under this category (see my profile page for more examples)...

Baby Kissing Mother

Why is this a good approach, I might hear you ask?

First Introduction

Well, I have found that it allows the ultimate amount of flexibility (they are most likely to be the easiest to reach especially at short notice). It also enables an amount of spontaneity (holidays, events, activities and the fun things we do around friends and family suddenly become photo shoot oportunities). Candid shots - like most of mine - are also never too far away!

Senior African Woman Granny

At first, I was quite reluctant to approach my nearest

Face Lips Eyes Professional Makeup

and dearest, but I found that as soon as I got past this initial anxiety, it became much easier to have repeat opportunities there after - in fact sometimes they now instigate some of it!

Friends and family are also more likely to be understanding, considerate, patient and supportive - aside from the fact that they are almost definitely also the most accessible models to us! For me, this also means that I can spend more quality time with the people I care about - even whilst engaging in my passion for photography and having great fun! A win win situation!

Blonde Lady Looking Down

So, why not give it a try? I suppose the worst that can

Blonde Lady Looking Down

happen is that they may not fancy it but if they do, the possibilities are endless!!

For information on making your shooting experience worth your while, I particularly like Mudplucker's blog on the subject.

I hope this helps!

Questions and/or comments welcome, as always.

Keep shooting!!



Photo credits: , Edosaodaro.
  • Edosaodaro
There is no better way to comprehensively enable a full exploratory experience of the world we live in than to cause it to stand still - for a moment or two. Photography is the genius that allows us - not only to capture but - to share such magical moments.

Should any buyers (or indeed anyone else) wish to contact me, please do feel free to leave comments or messages on any profile images of choice.

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October 17, 2013

Most welcome Jianbinglee!
Great profile!


October 17, 2013

Thankyou !


October 13, 2013

Great tips!
Great shots too!
Thanks Timothy!


October 13, 2013

I started off by shooting my family, but it was not long before they had enough and no longer wanted to pose. I then started using the modelling sites like model mayhem. At first I approached young models without much experience, as I figured they would be easier to work with. As time went by I found this was not so, I got much better results by booking experienced professional models and actress's.

I was surprise how little some of the professional models charged. For example one who appeared on a famous British tv drama has worked for me for just $30 an hour, another who has been on the front cover of several fashion magazines has done a TFCD shoot with me.

Three model web sites I now use are, Modelmayhem, Purestorm and for UK based photographers Purpleport. You can see my Modelmayhem profile if you search for member #132785. Having said all that my biggest selling model is ME! I shoot myself from time to time when I have an idea.


October 10, 2013

A very healthy debate!
Thanks guys!
I think this is all very helpful...
I hope most of you agree...

Thanks for the complement - Per Björkdahl... Only just starting out - so lots to learn from likes of you...



October 10, 2013

Contract with a model for TFCD and a clause for a % of sales . This does requi5re trust on both parts/


October 10, 2013

There are also websites like where you can search for models around your area. If you can't afford to pay the models, you can try the TFCD (time for CD) concept: they pose for you in exchange of the pictures, but that doesn't always work when you shoot for stock (they sometimes imagine you earn a lot of money off those shootings).


October 10, 2013

Why not make a barter.
If you need a plumber or electrician at home you can offer them some photos to use in theire business. Or the hairdresser or the local real astate or whatever. For other uses friends and family and as said before - show them the images and get permission before submitting...

Nice shots!


October 10, 2013

In Africa, where i operate from, people take the issue of privacy very seriously. A lady could be discouraged by her boyfriend just because the boy is afraid of losing her to bigger boys by the time the lady's face becomes popular. And on the other hand, when the model sees his or her photographs in websites and or billboards they assume the photographer is paid a huge sum of money hence they demand exorbitant fees.


October 10, 2013

Thanks Alvera!

Sounds like a good alternative...
Perhaps you could post some links - on sites to where or tips on how - you find such models, for the benefit of our community?

I should add that, in my case, friends and family seem to react in the complete opposite fashion. They are all quite excited at getting involved! I must confess that I am quite selective - amongst my community - and only engage those who are keep to get involved. Clearly, it is improtant to be completely transparent - from the start - such that they are fully aware of the implications (e.g., they could appear on an international airport billboard!)... How exciting - they say to me!

Thanks again!



October 10, 2013

Nice - Silent 47... We should spread the word - as I imagine I am not the only one that initially struggled with this... Thanks for reading - and commenting!


I like your profile! Great - photoshop? - concept and ideas!


October 10, 2013

The "get family involved" can become very easy a big pain. I started with this and very very soon I disabled all the photos because they start to do comments like "that one is not good" AND after they finally understand that there is a small probability to see their faces in the local magazine the tension reach the maximum and that was the end.

But you can pay models, not pro, just looking at friends or friends of friends. A starting price can be $0.50 per photo. You will get back $0.20 from DT if you are exclusive, and with another sub sale you are on the profit :). In 2-3 hours you can get 50 good photos and the model will get $25. It's not a small fee for smiling, looking up, eating an apple etc. Do this twice per week and the model will have $200/month. In some countries this is a fortune :)

Good luck.


October 10, 2013

All my models are my friends and family:)Im good with that...Maybe in the future i will try a different aproach