Choosing a model for a photoshoot or project

Choosing a model for a photoshoot or project

Many photographers struggle to find suitable models for their projects. Whether you're putting together a photoshoot or video shoot, choosing and securing a model for your project can be a daunting task. 

Here are tips to help you find the perfect model and have a successful project without delays or cancellations.

Where to find models

The internet is saturated with websites advertising models. Some are legit...many are not. In our experiences, websites that operate solely with a focus on advertising models and entertainers are the best option. While you can find models on websites like craigslist or local classified ads, many times the models listed on these sites can be flakey, unreliable and untrustworthy. 

Below are some of the more notable websites to find models who are willing and available to fill the needs of your project.

Model Mayhem

Model Mayhem is an online community with a focus on matching models, photographers and videographers with the talent they need to complete their project. Model mayhem has a very large community and offers tools to help you narrow your search to creatives in your immediate area. The great part about Model Mayhem is that you can visit a model's personal profile page and see other photographers he/ she has worked with. You can see how recently they're been active and the website provides a variety of filters that you can use within your search to fid the best possible match for your project. You can search anything from height and weight to tattoos and gene of shoot that the model is available to shoot. One of the best features available on MM is the ability to create aa casting call for your specific project. This way, you can detail specifications regarding your project and let interested models contact you. This allows you to easily contact one that catches your eye, while also keeping a list of potential models for future projects.


Instagram has quickly become a go-to platform for finding models and performers. Instagram has a very easy to use design and it's fairly easy to locate models in your area. While Instagram does not offer the same tools to browse models in bulk according to height, weight and ethnicity, it does offer a quick and easy way to contact a model if you do come across one that is perfect for your project. Plus, any ad everyone is on Instagram nowadays so the choices are endless if you are able to narrow down the options.



As everyone knows, Craigslist is an online classified website that allows users to sell products, advertise services and even create classified ads for many other purposes. Craigslist also has a "Gigs' section that creatives can use sort of as a casting area to advertise to potential talent. While Craigslist is not our preferred avenue to secure models, it is a free and easy way to. get your. project out there. You'll most definitely get contacted regarding your post, the issue comes in the quality of the contact. Craigslist is well-known to be sketchy in nature, and a good portion of the people responding to your ad will probably be flaky and not really interested in really taking part in your project. But, there is a chance you will find someone that is. So use Craigslist carefully and make sure to fully vet anyone you come in contact with on the site.

How To Vet Models

When you do find your perfect model, you will more than likely communicate with them initially through email. While that may work for the first few conversations, I always advise meeting the model prior to the photoshoot. If a model is willing to meet prior to getting money-in-hand, they are a lot more likely to show up to the shoot to be paid. Sometimes this is not possible, as the model could be traveling from out of town or maybe doesn't live in your immediate area. In this case, I would advise picking a model from a notable modeling website and make sure she has a good number of reviews from other creatives that she's worked with (recently). There are a lot of models that are very serious about their craft and there are some that are serious only when they need to be serious. So it's best to secure a model who considers herself a professional at all times, that way you're not left spending money ad time on a project, that may inevitably have no talent.

Payment and Deposits

When it comes to money, things can always get a little dicey. So it's best to keep your money close to you until you need to part with it. In many cases, a model will require a deposit to secure her time, which is understandable because I'm sure most models have experienced being booked for a shoot just to be left high and dry after driving 3 hours to reach the shoot. Still, we at Banafrit Photography have never used a model who requested a deposit in order to secure her for a shoot. While this may be a fairly common practice, I would make sure to again check that model's reviews from other photographers that she has worked with in the past, and if possible contact them (the past photographers) to make sure she is professional and trust-worthy. If it turns out she is, then it may not be a bad idea to give the deposit if she is a perfect addition to your project.

With anything, safety is the key and researching a potential model can save you money, time and a lot of headaches. There are a lot of great models out there that are about their business and serious about their craft. But it's on you as a photographer to do your due diligence to ensure you don't waste what could be a great experience o someone who is there to play games and possibly steal your money. With the internet, there are a number of ways to vet models prior to the shoot, which is why it's best to plan you project ahead of time so that you can take the time to fully research the best person for the job. If you find yourself rushing, you may skip important steps in the vetting process and that could cost you in the end. The best approach is to take your time, be very deliberate and choose wisely.

Once you do that, you're much more likely have a very pleasurable and successful shoot with great photos to show for it.