A model can make all the difference between a forgettable photoshoot and one that captures the emotions and imagination of a large audience.
Despite this, photographers starting out on their career journey can often find the step up to working with models an intimidating one.
Meanwhile, more experienced photographers who already know how to collaborate with models may find sourcing models difficult and expensive, particularly when traveling.
The Internet offers numerous options to solve this problem, from message boards on creative communities to social media sites like Instagram.
However, the variety of options for contacting models to collaborate with can make it even harder to figure out the best way to find models that meet your requirements in your chosen location.
Here are some options for photographer-model collaboration.
Instagram is an obvious option to consider if you want to collaborate with models. The website is home to countless aspiring and professional models available for a wide variety of photoshoot types.
As is the case with finding a photographer on Instagram, this massive selection of options on offer, combined with limited search functionality, can make it tricky to find the right model in the right location.
Here’s how to collaborate with Instagram models using the app’s built-in search features.
The simplest way to find models is to tap on the Instagram search icon, then tap the search field that appears and enter a keyword into it.
The vaguer or more general the keyword, the bigger the volume of results and the less relevance they will have. So, try to use more descriptive keywords like ‘fashion model London’ to filter out irrelevant results.
Location searches are going to be more helpful in finding models to collaborate with.
You can run location searches by tapping the ‘search’ icon, then tapping the empty search field that appears. This will bring up a menu of search options. Tap ‘Places’.
There are two ways you can use the Places search:
1. Use a location keyword when performing a keyword search, such as ‘Fashion models in London’. This will bring up results in a specific location.
2. Do not use a location keyword and instead enter the type of model, you are looking for as a keyword. This will provide you with a list of models in your area if you have location tracking turned on in the app.
The search results are presented in a pin format, giving the name of the model or agency. This links to a page with a pin and a sample of model images. If the model or agency has set up an ‘About’ page, a button linking to it will also appear here.
Once you have found a model you are interested in you can either use any contact details provided on their ‘About’ page or send them a message from their profile — if they’ve enabled direct messaging or email contact.
Finally, you have the option of using hashtag searches.
To run a hashtag search, tap the search icon on Instagram, tap the empty search field that appears and then select ‘Tag’ from the search option menu.
You can then type in your keywords and Instagram will provide you with a list of suitable hashtags based on your keywords, along with the approximate number of posts relating to the hashtag.
Click on any hashtag to view images that have been tagged with it.
You can browse these images until you find a suitable model, then attempt to contact them either via direct message or email. If those are not enabled, you can respectfully ask them to get in touch with you via a comment on one of their images.
Specialised model search applications
It’s clear that Instagram search is not the optimal way to find models in a specific location. The app simply wasn’t designed to allow you to easily filter it for specific model types by location.
However, purpose-built apps like Cherrydeck take the hassle out of finding models on Instagram by offering you simple tools to easily filter Instagram models to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Cherrydeck allows you to find a model in three simple steps.
Step 1: Go to the Cherrydeck home page and select ‘Model’ from the dropdown next to the search bar.
Step 2: Enter the location you’ll be collaborating in and select the relevant location from the dropdown that appears.
Step 3: Apply whatever filters you want for the model, including:
- Eye colour
- Body type
- Hair colour
- Tattoos or piercings
- Skin tone
- Work field
- Follower numbers
Hit the ‘Show results’ button and Cherrydeck will provide you with a selection of models who meet your requirements. You can then select any model profile to view.
The model profile provides additional information about your selection, including sample images, Instagram links where relevant, and a link to contact options for that model.
You also have the option to save any models you are interested in and to continue browsing the search results for other options.
Family and friends
Unless you’re specifically doing shoots that require fashion models or similar, it’s not necessary to look far afield to find suitable models.
Images can be humanized and given impact by using the perfectly ordinary people who inhabit your social and family networks.
Using people you already know as models can have other benefits.
You don’t need to worry about the formalities associated with working with a professional model, and if you’re both happy with the results of your collaboration, you have collaborators for the long haul.
While family and friends can provide models for a surprising variety of shoots, you’ll usually need to look further afield if you need a model that meets specific requirements – like a bodybuilder.
In these cases, social networks can be very helpful.
By joining niche professional or interest groups you’ll have access to communities packed with people who have a good chance of meeting your modeling requirements.
Once you’re part of one of these groups you can request collaborations at the group level or via direct chat, and see if anyone is interested in collaborating with you.
Be prepared to offer some sort of compensation for the collaboration, otherwise, you may find prospective models standing you up on the day of the shoot.