By Andrew Hudson Published: August 30, 2011 Updated: May 25, 2018

Over two thirds of top-selling photos feature models. So how can you find models? How much do they cost? And how do you talk with them? Let’s find out.

How To Find Models Online

There are several websites which are free meeting communities for models and photographers. Here you can search for models in your area, and post free ads looking for models. The most popular site is Model Mayhem, but you can also post ads on Craigslist.

Learn more.

How Much Do Models Cost?

The cost can be $50 per hour upwards, and there may be a booking fee of $100 upwards.

Factors include: the experience and quality of the model; what you’re asking the model to do; how long you need the model; any travel, clothing and other expenses; and whether you’re hiring the model directly or through a modeling agency.

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Can I Get Models For Free?

Yes! How cool is that?! You can pay in trade, by giving photos to the models which they can use in their portfolios. This is often called “TFP” for “Trade For Print.”

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How Do I Hire A Model?

By placing a brick under each foot. OK, that’s a bad joke.

You can hire a model by being upfront about what you’re shooting, what you want the model to do, how long they’ll be needed, and what the pictures will be used for. Be communicative, courteous, build a relationship, and don’t tell that bad joke.

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What About Model Releases?

You always need a signed model release for every model you photograph. This is a written agreement/contract stating that you are free to use your photographs of the model in any way you choose.

For you own projects, any general written release that covers the application will usually suffice. Click here for a sample. For microstock sites, the microstock agency will have their own model release that must be signed and submitted before they’ll accept your photos.

Learn more.

How Do I Photograph People?

Lighting is important. You want a gentle, even light over the face to bring out those delicate skin tones. You may need some fill-flash, a reflector, and a simple background. The best approach is usually to work in a studio with a backdrop and multiple lights that you can adjust.

Going Forward

Let’s learn more about each of these things, starting with how to find models online.

Next page: Model Release

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