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How to Become a Model With No Money | Model Factory

1. Work With Amateur / Inexperienced Models

Finding amateur models for photography has its advantages and disadvantages. They are free, but they are not always as good.

I have experienced both good and bad photography models. Getting started can be a little difficult. But once you've taken a few pictures, the model starts to 'warm-up' the camera. And you will also be able to direct them as you wish.

The thing I'm still struggling with is studying them while taking photos. I can transfer them to the computer, look at them for a few minutes and know what I need to do differently. But when you're in the moment, you're focusing on taking photos, changing lighting, and more. It's hard to get enough attention on the actual photo.

The more pictures you take, the easier it will be. Silly mistakes like hard shadows on the face will be a thing of the past.

You can find amateur models in Facebook groups. Or contact model agencies to see if anyone needs a starter portfolio.

Photo Friend

This is probably how most people find a model when they're just starting out, and it's very easy to do. We all have some good-looking friends.

One thing I've found is that people who agree to do it tend to like themselves a little bit. It's really not that hard to convince them.

If it's too reassuring, you're talking to the wrong person; They will not be comfortable in front of the camera.

Find a Friend's Friend

This is where I get most of my models. Thinking about your friends' friends actually increases the number of possible models you have.

I only approach them in a social setting or ask for an introduction. If there is any doubt, my friends will always vouch for me.

I would say that I have a success rate of about 50% in getting people who actually agree to model for the model. For whatever reason, they can change their mind and that's okay.

If they fail to respond, I don't even bother to contact them again. You don't want to come across as a predator.

Look for Strangers

It's pretty self-explanatory: find someone you think would be good at modeling and ask them if they'd be interested.

It can be a little scary but fun if you connect with the right people. This is a great way to meet people. But it requires a little bit of confidence.

If you lack it, either bluff or make up for it.

Carry Business Cards.

This point is important for the two options above, especially when you're talking to strangers.

Explain what you do and provide them with all the other details on the card. This will make you look professional and the ball is in their court now.

Photograph Yourself

Self-portraits do not include photos you took in the mirror or at arm's length. Use a tripod and a timer or remote to take photos for yourself.

This is a great solution if you are struggling to find people. Or if you don't want to waste other people's time while practicing.

My thumbnail image at the bottom of the page was set up by me in the camera. Then I instructed a friend how to compose the shot and when to take the photo.

Someone else did the snapping, but it was still a self-portrait.

Guide the Model

The standard difference between a free model and a paid model is quite significant. Still, there are ways to help them relax and take better pictures during photoshoots.

Directing models is really important because they can't see what you can do. Even if they are professionals, they will require you for minor adjustments. As a photographer, you need to guide them to find the best possible pose.

Practice helps a lot. If you don't have time for this, take some pictures in front of a mirror to see how they look when posing.

Often they think that the way they are seeing is not really what they are seeing. Learn some common poses that work for models.

My best advice is to take your time to find out what works for the model. Amateurs often get nervous in front of the camera. Find a way to help them relax. You can play music, tell a joke, or ask them to do silly poses.

It can also help if you let your models choose their own outfits and makeup. They will feel more confident dressing their way.

Last but not least, don't set your expectations too high when you're dealing with an inexperienced model.

2. Search for Aspiring Actors Or Dancers

These are people who always need headshots at some point during their careers. If you can do it right, you can start earning money from them.

Working with people like them is beneficial for both of you. They'll have professional photos, and you'll be fine.

Use Model Release

One thing you should pay attention to is to use the model release. This is very important because if they're getting some of it for free, you should too.

If they sign a model release form, that means you can do whatever you like with the photos. And you will have no problem in the future, should they become super famous.

Talk to your models before the shoot to understand their needs and what they want to achieve.

When you contact them, make sure you show your portfolio, if you already have one. People like to see your style before posing for you. You can do this by showing your website or social media platform.

Dancers and actors may have experience in posing and modeling. Be prepared to collaborate with them even if you are the photographer.

Find a way to engage them during the shoot. Maybe they even know a good currency or a place to use one.

3. Find Models On Websites

This is a route I've been looking at lately. I managed to find some really good models with whom I have already set up a few shots.

You can view and email photos by age, location, style, gender, experience, and more, all for free.

The site I like to use is called Model Mayhem. There are many options like net-model and model management.

You can also try joining TFP/TFCD groups in your local area through Facebook.

When you find someone you want to work with, send them a friend request and a short message explaining what you're trying to do.

Half the time, you won't hear back from them. Especially if you're not offering to pay them anything. But soon you will find people who are willing to do it for free.

Make Sure You've Got a Suitable Model

The main thing to look for is the standard of the model. They would still be doing it for free. This means they may not have the most experienced in the world. But they are likely to be better than your friends.

Also, make sure you check out their portfolio and see if their style suits you. Otherwise, you will struggle to produce good results.

It's a good idea to meet with the model before shooting. You can get to know their vibes and see if they are really a good fit. A meeting also makes them trust you more.

Again, you want to make sure you get a release signed by the model, but that's pretty standard. Posing a beautiful model for a photographer


Finding models for your shoot is the first step in expanding your portfolio. The next part is practicing working with them.

I actually wrote about how to work with a model in this post here. This should really help you when the time comes.

More than anything, be professional and don't push the limits of the model.

Ok so now you know how to find the model. What about posing when it comes to the actual photoshoot? Check out our guide to posing women in photos here, or our guide to posing men in photos here.

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Category : Models