How to Find Models for Fashion Photography

Amrish Mudgal - Author Amrish Mudgal on Dec 05, 2017

You have a vision in mind for your next photo shoot. You’ve decided on the location, the wardrobe, and the concept. Now, the next step is finding the perfect subject. It can be difficult to find the ideal model for your upcoming fashion photography project, as there are plenty of different ways to narrow down your choice until you find the person that will best get convey your artistic vision.

Here are some tips on how to find best models for your next photo shoot:

Where to Find Models for Photography

Your search for the perfect model can start with your own social circle. In order to find models to photograph in your area, think about the people you know who would suit your particular vision for your photo shoot. If you have a small budget or no budget at all, this is a great place to start, as friends of friends are likely to want to do you a favor.

If you want an experienced model for your shoot, you can use one of many great resources for finding talent. There are plenty of modeling networking sites where models post their portfolios and keep followers updated about their work. Some of the best model portfolio sites are:

  1. Where Professional Models Meet Model Photographers – ModelMayhem
  2. Modeling and Fashion Portfolios – PureStorm
  3. Where Talent Gets Discovered – StarNow
  4. Casting Model Portfolios For Photo Sessions – Casting360

Instagram is another great place to look for models. While it is an essential social media tool for any photographer, Instagram is also full of work from models’ portfolios which makes finding models for photoshoots an easy task. Using hashtags, you can search for models that meet your specific criteria that are located near you. Third-party search engines allow you to search using multiple hashtags to narrow down the types of models you’d like to find.

For example, if you live in Brooklyn and want to find a model for your editorial shoot, you can search on Mulpix for #brooklyn #model #editorial .These are the results you would receive:

Look for References

In addition to finding a model with the right look and potentially adequate experience, it’s important to choose models that you can rely on and are easy to work with. You can find this out for sure by checking their references like you would with any other job. Since they will credit the photographers who have taken the pictures for the portfolio, you can easily find out who they have worked with in the past. Get in contact with one or two of them to find out how they enjoyed working with a particular model. They may even offer you suggestions for other models you may want to work with.

Ask for Recent Photos

When you are interested in finding the right models for photography, make sure their portfolio is up to date. That is to say it should have at least one or two photos that have been taken within the past month. This is important because you want to ensure that the model still looks the same so they don’t show up to the shoot unable to fulfill your vision. It also gives you a good idea of whether they are still in practice and if they will be able to keep up with the demands of a professional photoshoot.

Are They Experienced with Similar Genres?

What genre are you shooting? High fashion editorials will feature very different models to swimwear photoshoots. If you’re not entirely sure what type of model will suit your genre, here are some specifications that are standard across various industries:

  • Fashion Editorial: Female fashion models are anywhere from 5’9” to 6” tall and have measurements of 34-24-34. Male fashion models are between 5’11” to 6’2” and weight anywhere from 140 to 165 pounds, directly proportional to their height.
  • Commercial Models: This is the most diverse genre, as there are various roles to fill in photoshoots. Plus-sized models, middle-aged men and girl-next-door models are just a few of the niches that can be filled in this genre. Height requirements can vary, and you can look for models with a wide range of body types.
  • Fitness model: Fitness models must be toned and in-shape. Height is not normally an issue, but they should have good muscle definition.
  • Beauty and Glamour Models: Glamour shoots focus specifically on the model’s beauty, so it is important that you look for models that are conventionally pretty and have delicate features.
  • Pinup Models: For pinup photoshoots, photographers tend to look for women with curvier figures. There isn’t normally a preferred height requirement.
  • Alternative Models: When looking for models for alternative-style photoshoots, there aren’t any common criteria. It all depends on your individual vision, but you might want to narrow your search down to models with interesting hair colors, unique hairstyles or piercings.

Create a Mood Board

Building on the previous point of finding a model who has experience in shoots similar to the concept that you have in mind, you may want to offer a visual for potential models to show them what you have in mind. It is ideal to put together a mood board that features images that have inspired your photoshoot. It can include models with the look that you’re after and should offer up a fair representation of your vision for the shoot. When you send this to a model, you demonstrate that you have given the concept serious thought, are prepared and have a specific vision in mind for that particular model.

A mood board is also great for the planning and preparation of your entire team. It creates a clear vision for everyone involved, so you all show up on the day with the same goal.


If you’ve never worked with a model before, it is a good idea to establish a rapport. Schedule some extra time before the shoot to have a chat with your model and get to know them better. After making a quick connection, your model will feel more comfortable working with you and taking direction. Even if your model is an experienced professional who is used to working with plenty of different photographers, engaging with them on a personal level before the shoot will go a long way to helping you better together as a team.

Give Direction and Feedback

Even if your model has the perfect look for your concept, there is much more to a successful photoshoot than meets the eye. Throughout the process, ensure that you’re providing your model with direction. Be sure to give them feedback and tell them that they’re doing great or if they need to adjust things slightly. Don’t be afraid to show them what you mean and demonstrate the poses that you’d like to capture. Working together in this manner will make you and your model the perfect team so your final product will faithfully represent your vision and concept.

As long as you know exactly what you’re looking for and are prepared to do your research, you’re sure to find the best models to photograph. It could be the start of a long, mutually-fulfilling artistic relationship! Have a look at some of the best fashion photography portfolios for inspiration.

Ready to Showcase your Modeling Skills? Create an Online Modeling Portfolio with Pixpa!

Note: This is a guest post written by Diamond Grant.

Author Bio: Diamond is a tech blogger for Secure Thoughts, a leading online resource about cybersecurity. She has a passion for photography and has worked with countless models in various genres. She wants to help other photographers find their perfect subjects via in-depth internet research.


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