When looking for models to shoot, there’s a little bit of preparation. Are you able to pay the model or are you looking for a collaboration? Do you have examples of what you want to create? How do you want to use the end result and if you want a model to be in front of your camera for free, what kind of win-win situation are you able to create.
I will create a separate video on this subject and also, but for now we’ll focus on places to find a model for your next project.
When I look for models for my next videos, well in my opinion, the possibilities are limitless. You can find beautiful women everywhere.
1. Model Mayhem and other model directory sites.
Model Mayhem is probably the biggest database, not only for models, but also for make up artists, photographers and talent scouts. Basically for everyone you may need on both sides of your camera. The website may look a little bit old-fashioned, however, this is still a great place to find and approach models or even create an online casting. Traveling models also post travel notices, so you can most likely work with models who may travel to your area and are looking for projects.
Here you can choose from many options, you see directly if a certain model is only interested in paid assignments, or even if she does nude shootings. There’s an option to have a VIP account, which allows you to send direct messages and showcase your work easier.
When I traveled to Hong Kong, I connected this way with a beautiful Russian model who is normally based in Bali, and we were able to organise a shoot, for the short period that we both were in Hong Kong.
2. Social Media
Social media is the place to be when looking for models to work with. But this goes also for non-professional models who may be interested in some high quality personal branding footage – think for instance about influencers, personal trainers and even entrepreneurs.
From all the social media, Instagram is probably the place to be, as the models who post their content there are often open for collaborations, as it will mean even more content for them. Of course, if you’re going to send them a direct message, your own Instagram profile and what you post, may be relevant. The more popular a model is, the more messages she gets and it may be difficult for your message to be noticed. However, many of the models also put their e-mail address on their profiles and in this way, you can simply send a professional e-mail, telling her about your next project.
In my own experience, when I first approached models on Instagram, I didn’t have too much luck, and this may feel a bit uncomfortable and discouraging at the beginning, but I promise you, it’s worth trying. And eventually, the more examples of your work you have, the more things you post and the bigger your following becomes, the easier it will be to connect with models, but also to be approached by them. My very first shoot, was with a woman who I was connected with on Instagram, even though we’ve never met in real life. I told her that it would be a honour if we can do something together, sent her a couple of examples I found online and she was more than excited to give it a try.
3. Facebook Groups
In many big cities or areas, there are dedicated Facebook groups which are small communities for models and photographers or similar kind of professionals. Those Facebook groups are great for networking and find people who are willing to collaborate. Personally I don’t have too much experience with Facebook groups, but it never hurts to try and to connect with people who are most engaged.
4. Your Friends & Network
Here’s good news, even if you don’t have a budget to book a professional model, or you find yourself struggling to connect with models and women on social media, you are probably closer to finding a model to work with than you think. It simply requires you to be a bit resourceful with your network and ask around. There’s a big chance that you can ask one of your friends to be a model, even if she’s not that experienced, but it can be a great start. Eventually, you will find out that your network is abundant in people you can work with and work for.
Just like with social media, the more experience you get, the more you post online, the more your friends will start noticing it, and if you’ll ask them, they will most likely know at least one person to connect you with. When I travel to visit my friends abroad, I already ask them if they know some potential models, that would like to creating something cool with me, and in many cases, those introductions resulted in videos I didn’t even dare imaging. And that’s also one more give away in this video, no matter how genius you are, no matter how fantastic your ideas are, when you’re open for ideas, others will help you out in many different ways.
5. Collaborating with other professionals
If you’re looking for models, the right kind of question can be “who already works with models”. When I started out, I actually connected with a friend of mine who is a fashion photographer, he was more than happy to invite me to one of his shoots, as this way, I could get experience, create something for my portfolio, why he would get a cool behind the scenes video to promote his own brand. And last but not least, the models got some free content as well. If you think in this way, of what kind of value you can add to others and if you’re not afraid to work hard en build long term relationships, then sky is the limit. This is a great way to get new projects, connections or even a mentor.
6. Model Agencies
Another way to work with professional models is to collaborate with model agencies. This is something that I have little experience with, but when you think about it, it’s a natural way of doing business. Model agencies are always looking for the ways to promote their models. One of the ways is to offer them model showreels, which are very important promotion videos.
7. Organise a casting.
Here’s an idea that always work, organising your own casting, online or in real life. Needless to say, this requires some time and money to set up, but can be a very rewarding experience in which you will not only find new models to work with, but will also expend your network. Two years ago, I traveled with my friends to Japan. Before arriving in Tokyo, one of those friends, run a small Instagram campaign. We spend 50$ and got more than 40 applications of models who were interested in working with us. We chose 5 models and invited them to a restaurant, where we could connect and brainstorm about the shoots we wanted to do. Not only, did I find amazing, unique models to work with, but we also got many tips on where to shoot, but also what places to visit and where to go out. One of the models even took as out to some amazing restaurants and clubs in Tokyo.
8. Workshops & Retreats
Here’s one option that may require you to invest some of your money, but it may literally save you months or even years, when it comes to creating content and connecting with popular and experienced models and artists. Many professional photographers and artists organise workshops, masterclass and retreats – which are live events where you can learn from them and work with them. They also invite their favourite models, who often have a huge following.
A very good example of this is Paradise Challenge, organised by Black Tape Project, a famous and very unique artist. Those retreats are organised in some of the most exclusive locations in the world, like Ibiza, Dubai or even Burning Man. They last around a week in which you stay, work and connect with often amazing professionals. In my case, I joined them in Ibiza where we lived together in a big villa and every single day we would be taken to some of the most best locations on the islands. The organisers facilitate everything from the moment you touch down, like transportation, food, drinks and entertainment. This way, I worked with models and fellow artists who have millions of followers on Instagram. By far, one of the most amazing moments of my career. I’ve included some of the information about Paradise Challenge, in the link below, and who knows, perhaps next time, we’ll meet there.
9. Connecting with strangers
Last but not least is my favourite option, which gives you limitless possibilities, all though it may require you to go a bit out of your comfort zone. Whenever I’m traveling, or even going out in my own city, I just love to look around and get inspired. If you’re looking for models to work with you, there’s a big chance that they walk past you, every single day.
Approaching and recruiting strangers is easier than you think, as you don’t nesseccerly have to stop someone in the middle of the street. Think about a night out with friends, or even a business networking event. When I talk with a woman that I find attractive, that inspires me as an artist, I usually get the question on what I do to which I casually respond that I “film women”. Just those 2 words. It took me some time to actually get comfortable saying this, as in the beginning I would try to hard to impress others by what I do, or would try to suggest a project together too soon. However, one thing I realised over the years is that nobody really ignores this statement, it’s not something they hear every day, like “I am a lawyer or I am a website designer”.
Reactions differ, but they’re almost always positive, people have many questions they are actually interested in getting asked – “what kind of videos you do, how do you find models, are you filming men as well” etc. They also ask me to show them what my work looks like. It’s a great ice breaker too. So sooner or later, when I’m interested in working with someone, I just ask that person, a bit like a joke, if she would be interested to perhaps do something, doesn’t have to be sexy, doesn’t have to be controversial, simply something they would be proud to show to their friends and post online – something beautiful.
And of course reactions vary, you may get a very polite rejection all though, this person will feel flattered and noticed, but you can actually get a yes! I often discover that many women have done at least one shoot in the past, something that they found very excited, or that they would love something to post on their Instagram, or that this would be something out of their comfort zone. When my new potential “model” is not very experienced, I often add that “hey, we can try, and if you won’t like it, neither of us has to post it online”. Very simple and that’s by the way my own rule in all my shoots, even the professional ones.
So this is how simple it can be. And again, one thing I would add, as I said, you pass women every single day, maybe on the street, maybe in the bus, at work or even while sitting in cafe. And if you suddenly find the woman of your dreams, well this may be quite a good reason to start talking with her. You never know😉
So this were the 9 tips on how to find models for your videos, I hope this video was valuable and encouraging, if so – like the video and if you have any questions or want to share your favourite ways to find or approach models, make sure to drop it in the comment section. Also, ,make sure to subscribe as I will posting much more videos