The Internet has changed our lives in so many ways. Take the simple matter of getting a model. The advice from photo magazines to photographers years back was to get some business cards printed and if you saw an attractive person (in truth, not many blokes were accosted in this fashion) at the bus stop, you could pass on a card and let them contact you if they were interested. At the time, it was perfectly sensible advice although how successful it was as a tactic is open to debate.
However, thanks to the web all you have to do is click onto one of the many websites where models, make-up artists (MUAs) and photographers (togs) gather and search for a model/MUA/tog close to you and make contact.
Join The Site
The basic membership of these sites is often free. Buying a subscription (usually there are different levels of membership) gives you more privileges. This might be the number of emails you can send in a day, or the number of images you can add to your profile or lets you see images that non-members can't. You need to check out the small print for yourself on whether it is worth paying, but generally you can get started without spending anything.
Create A Profile
First, log on and set-up your own profile. If you do not have many model images to post, just be honest and say you are starting out. Outline what you want to shoot and then it is time to get pro-active.
Looking For A Model
Search for a model by selecting criteria like gender, locality, age, hair colour or type of modelling they offer. Would-be models usually define what sort of modelling they are happy with – it might be lifestyle and fashion to topless and full nude – and what they expect in terms of a fee. This might be cash with a minimum booking of two hours or it might be TFCD or TFP, which stands for Time For CD and Time For Prints respectively. In other words, they will pose in return for some of your pictures that you take of them. Not every model - and a full-time one will certainly not unless you have some outstanding work on your profile - will offer TFCD/TFP but many do, especially if they are just starting out.
Photo by Joshua Waller
Once you have found a model who offers the sort of posing you want at a cost agreeable to you, make contact and take it from there. But before you send off a message or email, most modelling websites have feedback sections where togs, models and MUAs can feedback about each other after shoots. It is a good idea to check these postings before sending off an email.
Most of the time, you will get a response even if it is a 'no', but expect to get ignored too. Your prospective model might look at your profile and not like what she saw, or didn't like what you were offering or had simply signed up to the site a while ago for a joke and never had any intention of modelling.
Get Ready For The Shoot
Assuming you have a model who has shown interest, it is then up to you to outline shoot ideas, pick a location for the shoot and agree a date. They may ask to bring along a chaperone or you may want to arrange to have someone around too. It works both ways.
On the appointed day, make sure you are prepared. This means having plenty of memory and a charged battery, but it also means being mentally prepared too. What are you going to do if the weather's poor? What if the model is nothing like their profile pictures? What if your studio lighting packs up? Have you enough ideas to keep you going through the shoot? There is plenty to think about, the most important is probably the last-mentioned.
Some homework on what you want to shoot is a strongly advised. Look through magazines and books for images that you want to emulate and show them to the model as you go along. Getting the model involved is definitely a good thing. Of course, should your model not turn up for really valid reasons, feel free to post some feedback on her profile about it. 'No shows' do happen and it can be expensive so warning fellow togs is justified.