How to Find Models for Photography

If you’re interested in getting into model or portrait photography it’s important to find good subjects to work with for your portfolio. Finding people to shoot with can be difficult, especially if your portraiture portfolio is limited or non-existent. This article will cover some strategies and resources for finding models.

find models

photo by Nicholas Moegly

The best place to start looking is with your friends. Find some friends or family who are willing to let you practice on them and help build your portfolio. Your friends may not be ideal models, but the point is to at least get a few good portraits that you can use. Hopefully your friends will like the photos you’ve taken and put them up on their social sites like Facebook and give you credit. You want to network as much as possible, and the hope is that your friends’ friends will see those photos and think of you when they think of portrait photographers.

After getting several shots that you’re really happy with, you need to move on to working with real models.

photography models

photo by Nicholas Moegly

An easy way to do this is to join Model Mayhem, a networking site dedicated to helping photographers find models and vice versa. Models can create accounts where they can showcase their portfolios and photographers can do the same. Create a profile on Model Mayhem and upload your best shots. On the site you can search for models in your area and post casting calls. After you’ve created your profile, look around in your area for models that you’d like to work with. Models will be looking for good photographers in their area too, so make your profile as welcoming and impressive as possible.

There are many different types of models of all different skill levels, so if you’re still new and learning, find some models that are new to the industry as well. Some models are willing to trade their time in exchange for the final edits of your shots, whereas others will have an hourly rate. The great thing about this site is that when a model posts your photo in their portfolio, credit is given to you with a link to your page. Most likely, they will know other models and you’ll be hearing from their friends who want to shoot with you, too.

how to find a model

photo by Nicholas Moegly

Be sure to keep up with shooting regularly with different models. As your portfolio gets better, you’ll be able to work with better and better-known models. The larger the following of the model is, the more notice you’ll receive. Work your way up the ladder and pretty soon you won’t be contacting models—they’ll be contacting you.

Which brings us to another important point: make yourself easy to find. Any time you post one of your photos anywhere, you should give a link to your portfolio, Facebook, or preferred social site. If your work is good, people will be interested in seeing more of it, so make sure they can do that easily.


photo by Nicholas Moegly

Once you’ve done all of this, you should have a really nice portfolio and network of people interested in working with you. Make sure you position yourself as a model or portrait photographer so when people think of needing a model or portrait photographer, you’re what they think of. Also, now that you have a great portfolio, you can apply for positions at modeling agencies or studios if that’s what you’re interested in.

About the Author
Nicholas Moegly is a portrait photographer from Cincinnati, OH. View his work at

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5 responses to “How to Find Models for Photography”

  1. Thank you for your advice to make yourself easy to find as a company that needs models and to build a strong portfolio link. One of my friends from college hosts trade shows and is looking for models. It would be super helpful if he could find a service that connected him with trade show models.

  2. James Riske says:

    Model Mayhem is NOT a place to find models. They are mostly flakes, they will cancel at the last minute or just not show up. And for the very few who actually do show up, they won’t know how to pose.

  3. Cassandra Ibanez says:

    How does this process work?

  4. Albert says:

    Model mayhem is NOT a good place to start. Most of the people are flakes, and don’t know how to work in front of a camera. You want to take photos of models? Call the agencies, ask for whos in charge of the new faces, ask them if they need test shots. That’s how you do it. MM used to be a good place, unfortunately now it’s a place for model wannabes and a lot of ego

  5. Hangar 217 says:

    ModelMayhem is good site, but lots of good creators are lost in an ocean of «ok» photography. For people who can read some French, there is a promising full of content new fashion/artist site:

    The site is not 100% completed yet, but you have your profile, the ability to post ads for projects and there is this «news room» (French and English) where you can read about fashion, photo, design, arts, etc. There is more than 120 RSS feeds from all over the web to discover new things and getting inspired.


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