If you fancy trying your hand at people photography, you will need a model. If you have the money you could go to an agency and hire one – at least, that's the theory – but there are plenty of other options.
Model Community Website
A really great alternative to using a model agency is joining a model community website. There are several good ones and joining at the lowest membership level is free so there is no risk. In time, if you feel being a member has benefits you can pay a subscription and get more benefits. These usually include being to include more portfolio images, the ability to send more personal messages, for example.
When you first join a modeling website, it can be very daunting. There are strange expressions (togs, MUAs, TFCD, TFP, for example) and it is all a little scary. By the way, togs are photographers, MUAs are make-up artists, TFCD is time for CD and TFP is for time for prints. TFCD and TFP are really important and means the model will give their time and pose in return for CD or prints of the shoot. Simple really.
Clearly, a professional model is unlikely to work with you in return for pictures unless you can benefit their portfolio with some amazing shots. In time, this could be you but you are probably not there just yet.
Where To Begin?
So how do you start? If you are new to model photography, it makes sense to find a model also just starting out. This means you can learn your respective trades together and expectations are lower. On the other hand, working with a more experienced model will make it is easier for you in that they can adopt poses without too much instruction from you. They will probably be more knowledgeable about make-up for photography – again it is unlikely you will be using a make-up artist at this stage.
These sites usually let you search for models in your locality and also in the styles or ‘levels’ that you want to shoot. If you want to do glamour, topless or fine art nude, you can specify that, or if you are after models within a certain age range. Check the sites below for details.
Once you find a model or two you like the look of – as in terms of experience, cost etc. or literally – send them an email, explaining what you are about and what you want and go from there. If you are new to this, say so. If you have some pictures already, post them on your profile and ask prospective models to look at your look.
It is worth saying that the odds are that you are not going to get a response from every model you approach and this is true even if a model is looking for photographers. The important thing is not to take it personally and it can be for any number of reasons. In the same way, you can arrange a shoot with a model and they not turn up – it happens the other way round too with photographers. For this reason, it is worth reading feedback on the site from fellow members. Unreliable models / photographers will have negative feedback.