Finding the Right Models for Your Model Calls

Have you tried putting on a model call and hear crickets, or maybe everyone who you hear from isn’t exactly who you imagined?

Also, some models just aren’t as invested in your vision, or even showing up to the shoot. Here is a video and post for you for all the ways to prevent that from happening!

Inside my bootcamp, one of the first things we go over in the first week is finding your ideal client. Having that ideal client in mind is one thing, but getting her/him in front of your camera is another! A model call is a great way to get someone you imagine is your ideal client in front of the camera!

So, here it is – how to find and pick the right models for your model call shoot!

Why You Want to Find Models

Having model call shoots are actually an amazing marketing tool and investment! Sure, you are doing them for free or super cheap, or maybe pay in certain situations. But, once you get that image of your dreams, you can showcase it and get so many more inquiries to recreate that image! Totally worth it.

There are probably many reasons you want to do a model shoot. I don’t know what yours is, but here are some reasons I love to do model shoots.

  • Try out a new location
  • Try out new outfits
  • Come out of a rut
  • Try a new editing style
  • Try a new type of shoot
  • Potential for “exposure”

If you’re not feeling inspired anymore by all your locations, or you have a new outfit you want someone to try on so you can get more clients with a certain “look”, then a model call can help. What I mean by “potential exposure” is that sometimes, models do have connections to bigger brands, who will get your images featured! I know, doing things for “exposure” irks a lot of photographers, but for me, it’s fun to do shoots, and it’s also equally exciting to get featured. Shallow, I know. But it makes me happy. Like the girls below @Laurentaylor and @brookegenn are Aerie reps, and they sure did get my photos on Aerie IG and website!

When you have a paying client, as much as you can give all the suggestions as to locations and outfits, your shoot is more dictated by what your client wants.

Sometimes, you also have to create an image to show people that it is what they want so you can get more of those types of shoots.

Steps of Setting Up a Model Call (and Finding the Right Models!)

Above are steps to take to set up a model shoot. In this post, I will be talking about the first 4 steps!

First, you have to identify your ideal client. One of the first things we do in the bootcamp is to really figure out who your ideal client is. For model shoots, you also want to use that ideal client in mind, because you’re probably going to want to do similar shoots in the future. For example, for me, an elopement ideal client is like a bride who wears a BHLDN dress with a flower crown.

I’ve had this vision for the longest time and now all I seem to get are brides who wear BHLDN dresses with flower crowns. It’s so funny. I don’t know if it’s because I manifested it in my branding (I told my branding people that’s my ideal client) or maybe it’s the images I create with these brides attract similar brides, but it’s amazing the power of portraying your ideal client. (By the way, I LOVE brides that even get savvy and buy a BHLDN lookalike dress on Amazon. ;))

You have to be really specific about your ideal client and even write it down, like how old is he or she, what branding clothing are they going to wear? Where do they hang out?

Which ties into the second step. How will they be searching for elopement photographers? Are they going to Google elopement photographers or do they belong to Facebook groups? Go figure out where they hang out. Make a list!

Thirdly, they need to be invested in this as much as you are. I will go over this one more in detail in the next sections – some models will be naturally interested in your work/vision, but there are ways to make sure they are invested also, so they show up!

Finally, when you get the applicants, you want to have a good process to pick the right person!

For me, here are the steps.

  • Have an application form to direct potential models to apply. Here is an old one I used for my boudoir model calls.  (This form is linked to my HoneyBook account.) This is where I find out who is the right fit or not!
  • Bonus: Have an email sequence for models you want to pursue a specific time for this shoot or those who will be on a waitlist or for future, then a way to send a proposal
  • Bonus: Make sure to send a contract/potentially a deposit for the shoot so they are officially in!

Where Find the Models

Now that you have a better idea of who you want to find, let’s dive into where to find them!

On Honeybook, there is a community section where you can post paying jobs, referrals, and yes – find models!! You don’t even have to use it as a CRM to get into the community. This is community of other creatives. This is where I found at least three or four of my models!

  • Friends

You can find a friend that fits your vision! Don’t be afraid of getting a “no”. I got so many no’s from my friends/acquaintances and it was so embarrassing, but then again, they were flattered you asked, and they just have their own reasoning for why not.

  • Instagram

On Instagram, try to find people who kind of simulate your ideal client and just ask them! Yes, it does feel some level of creepy, haha. But, people are nice and for the most part respond! I haven’t had that much success to be honest with doing this method.  I might consider paying a model someday, if they are a good fit. If that image that I take could get me 20 bookings, it is like a well-spent marketing cost!

  • Find influencers

You don’t have to have somebody that have 20,000 followers. Even if they have 600 followers, they get so much engagement from their posts, that’s way more important than finding somebody with lots of followers. Again, reach out to them, slide into their DMs, non-creepy style!  If they do end up posting your photos, it will be another good marketing tool too.  

  • Do a Giveaway

You could partner with bigger accounts for a free giveaway for a photo shoot at certain locations, or a theme. Most giveaway winners are not too picky. So, it’s a great way to direct them to a shoot of your dreams!

  • Facebook Groups

Relevant Facebook groups are great for finding potential models! If you are looking for wedding couples, Facebook has tons of local “buy, sell, trade” or “wedding planning” types of groups where you can post and ask any couple is interested. For families, moms groups are also great places to find them! As always, check the group’s rules before posting.

  • Potential clients (from client inquiries)

When you get those inquiries, and they tell you they can’t afford you. Well, if they seem like they are your ideal client otherwise, extend them an offer for a super discounted price in exchange for being their models!

  • Other photographers

No one else will understand your need for model shoots than fellow photographers. So, why not exchange photo sessions!? Make friends with some photographers that might fit your “ideal client” image, and ask! I love to exchange RAWs with other photographers so we can edit our own and each other’s images!

How to make sure models are invested (and show up!)

(No relation to models not-showing up. So much love for this girl and her willingness to try out a new spot with me!)

Here are 3 ways I make sure the models have as much interest in the shoot as I do!

This is an older form that I used to use, as I mentioned before, but it gives you an idea! Two of the most important questions to ask in these forms are “why do you want to do this model shoot” and also “are you willing to take my direction as to outfits and location?” It will filter out some people who might not be so interested!

  • You can have a “deposit” that goes towards image purchase or on hold to prevent no-shows

You can do either or, and I don’t require this if I know the person.

  • Have a contract for no show policy and model release.

This is so important to have!! This is probably the easiest way to hold someone accountable (and protect yourself when you want to use the images) for the shoot!

Watch from the 14:30min mark for more details on how these work!

Checklist of the “Right” Model for your shoot!

  • Ideal client
  • Willing to take direction on location and outfits
  • Loves and values photography
  • Responsible (they will show up)
  • Bonus: Influential

There you have it!

Having a model call to make your vision a reality is such a good investment for your business. I hope these tips help you find the right models, so they are invested in it as much as you are! As always, feel free to DM me on Instagram or Facebook if you have any questions!!

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Finding the Right Models for Your Model Calls | |
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