When you’re wondering how to find models for a photoshoot, there are some key things to keep in mind. Especially if you want to capture evocative campaign shots as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Here are some tips.

You know you need to find models for a photoshoot. The question is: where on Earth do you start? With a pool of millions to choose from, how do you know which models are right for your project? Relax.

While there can be some tough questions to answer, breaking your project into simple steps will help to make sure you get the right model(s) and work through your photoshoot efficiently without blowing your budget.

Know what you’re looking for

It’s easier to find something when you know what it looks like. That might sound silly. But diving into the expansive oceans of model databases without at least an inkling of what you’re looking for will waste time. Lots of it. And time is money. So your first job is to build a clear picture of the type of model that you would like to work with.

Start thinking about what’s right for your brand, your product and your target audience. And if your target audience is suitably large, ask whether there’s a particular subset of the audience that you are targeting with this campaign. Is size inclusivity important? Do you require a mix of genders, ages, ethnicities and skin tones? These questions need answering.

Take time on the brief

Beginning to pin down the type of model(s) that you’re looking for will make it easy to draw up a project brief.

Now, the briefing stage tends to elicit sighs among people who think they know better. Ignore them. The briefing stage cannot be rushed or glossed over if you want to create meaningful marketing. You have to nail down what you are trying to achieve, what your brand represents and who you are trying to reach. Remember: you are marketing to real people with real emotions and real biases. What mood and feelings are you trying to invoke? Taking the time to think critically and express your ambitions clearly will save a lot of time and frustration while helping to generate results that your whole team is happy with.

What face/body do you want?

You know what they say. A picture paints a thousand words. Your audience will make inferences – often subconsciously – about your product or brand based on what your model(s) look like. Think carefully about what sort of face and expressions are suitable for your campaign. Edgy, artistic, natural, preppy – in a world that’s rich with models, you have the freedom to get specific. Both in terms of face and body type.

A reminder here to always put the brand, product and audience first. It might feel lux to head straight for the nearest roster of glamour models. But if a glamour model doesn’t reflect your brand values, what’s the point? Finding a model isn’t a beauty contest. It’s about finding the look that’s right for your campaign, your product, your brand and your audience. Nothing else matters.


Create a moodboard

It’s easier to zero in on the type of model(s) you are looking for when you get visual. Create a moodboard that displays certain looks that you think would be right for your campaign. Perhaps the model’s hair feels like a good fit for your brand. Maybe the facial expressions are particularly arresting. Seek inspiration from everywhere. Your moodboard is a creative blueprint for the genesis of your own campaign.


Approach modelling agencies

The next step is to begin approaching model agencies. Sometimes it can be difficult to engage higher-end agencies without an existing relationship, so a little persistence may be necessary. Note that the agency will typically levy a fee of around 20% on top of the price you see for the models that you are interested in. And when discussing fees, make sure everything is clear regarding image rights. For example: you may only be able to use your campaign images for one year – and only across pre-agreed media platforms.


Casting for your photoshoot

Once you have shortlisted models, arrange a casting session, with all the major project stakeholders and decision-makers present. Take some sample shots and see if your models look right on camera with your product. If you are using multiple models for one shoot, do they complement one another on camera? There’s only one way to find out.

Get some expert help

Fox Collective is highly experienced in the planning, creative direction and operational support of photoshoots. We have an intuitive eye for what works for the brand and maintain relationships with high-profile modelling agencies across the UK and Europe. Thanks to our experience in the industry we make it easy to find the models that fit your campaign and can ensure your photoshoot runs on-time, on-spec and on-budget. Come and find out more.


Read this next:

>> How to plan a photoshoot: 10 things to consider carefully
>> Lights, camera, traction: how to do a fashion photoshoot

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