Finding A Model to Photograph- Vancouver BC

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by 25asa, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Been thinking about this for a while. Obviously can't at this time due to Covid, but maybe down the road? I've asked people I know to pose for me on photoshoots, but it's increasingly becoming difficult to continue with that process. My only option seems to be to hire a model and do the shoot that way. I'd end up with better pictures I'm sure, but I've never used a model before. How do I go about finding one and what are the ins and outs of the entire process of hiring one? I don't even know who I'd contact in the Fraser Valley. Do they let you see pictures first? Also how do you go about this without letting on its your first time hiring a model?
  2. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Not an area in which I have any expertise, but I would think that looking for 'Model Agencies' in your local telephone directory (if such things still exist) might be a start. I myself would be wary of using any on-line searches - they could be scams or worse.

    Having located a source of models in your expenditure range, I feel there is no need to try to hide the fact you have a low level of experience - everyone has to start somewhere, and it is in the model's best interests to help you get images that please you both. They may well have a range of poses to start you off, and either of you can make suggestions to enhance them.

    Many years ago, there were 'model agencies' in London UK, which advertised 'Group Bookings' - received wisdom at the time indicated that many of the 'photographers' were there for ulterior purposes, and the 'models' would often accommodate them !

    Good luck anyway, in branching out into the unknown.
  3. Models through agencies are not cheap, and a serious agency will background check you before they send anyone to you.
    I was thinking, if there is a Photo/Camera Club in Vancouver, you could team up with a couple of other members to hire either professionals or amateurs. Doing this under the umbrella of an organisation would likely stand out as more trustworthy - especially if you were to reach out to amateurs.
    William Michael and mikemorrell like this.
  4. Good luck with that. At a camera club shoot, I was surprised to find that the model knew more about my camera than I did.
  5. Without an existing portfolio, it's unlikely that "real" model agencies will want to work with you. May I suggest that you start with a website like Model Mayhem? It will list events for beginners. With a few of those done, try hiring local talent from their database. Good luck! Starting a new photography adventure always is exciting!
    mikemorrell likes this.
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Joining an established Photography Club / Group / Society is a practical first step, many hire models on a regular basis.

    Doing so allows you to familiarize yourself and to learn from other photographers who have worked with models.

  7. I agree with all the suggestions made so far. This one may well be OT, depending on your purpose in working with models, the types of photos you want to take, the types of models you want to work with, where (studio/locations) and how collaboratively you want to work with (amateur) models.

    One (cheap) way to gain experience is by offering your services voluntarily to local organisations/people who - for whatever reasons - simply can't afford to hire professional photographers for all their visual communications.The upside is that you get to meet a lot of different people ('models') in a wide range of situations and conditions. The downside - if this important to you - is that your influence over locations, dress/make-up, poses, etc. will be more restricted than when hiring a model. For me, it's not a downside. Working within constraints makes it more interesting and often more challenging. It becomes less about getting the "best photo" and more about "getting the best photo working with these people in this situation under these conditions" with the relatively low-tech I have available.

    I've worked a 'voluntary' event/portrait photographer for a couple of years now. Solely for local organisations/projects that depend on volunteers in providing services to the community and operate on a shoestring budget. They sometimes can (and definitely should!) hire 'professionals' for specific high-profile/wide-exposure events or campaigns. For many other bread-and-butter 'visual communications' (newsletters, social media, articles) they often really do depend on 'volunteers' So my conscience is always clear that I'm never 'undercutting' the market for professional photography services. If I (and other volunteers) didn't take these photos, they would have been taken (or not) by other people who are less-experienced, less-skilled and less-equipped than I am. Usually using their cell-phones from wherever they happen to be. I should add that some - but not most - cell-phone photos are just as good or better than my DSLR photos :). But having some PP skills makes a difference to the results too.

    OK, back to the point. There's a lot you can learn about working with models from books, web articles, YouTube video's, etc. But even with all this knowledge, IHMO there's no substitute for 'getting practical experience and learning from it'. This applies especially to developing the social skills and confidence that gets the best ''collaborative results'.

    If you you're interested in this, a few ways of finding opportunities might be:
    - asking around in your personal network for tips
    - using a search engine to find local small-scale not-for-profit organisations in your are
    - checking out publications of these organisations in local free newspapers, on websites and on social media channels; 'Visuals' may be under-represented in text or the quality of the photos might indicate that you could do a better job
    - local photography clubs may have members who already do some voluntary work; they might be able to give you some tips

    I use the term 'local organisation' very loosely to include social welfare organisations, schools, sport clubs, art & music institutes/collectives, libraries, low-budget events, etc.

    One thing that's rewarding is getting repeat requests from satisfied clients. And not only because people like the quality of your photos but because they trust you, like working with you, and get positive feedback both from the 'models' and from viewers. Over the years, I've found that the more 'repeat work' I've done, the more self-confident, relaxed and skilled I've become in collaborating with ordinary people as 'models'. And the better I've become in anticipating and preparing for specific photo shoots. I still make stupid mistakes :( but I think that the general quality of the 'people photos' that I deliver (with exactly the same, limited tech) has gradually improved over the past few years.

    On average, I probably do 1 voluntary photo-assignment a week .Sometimes more, sometimes less. This week has been an usually busy one for me. On Monday and Tuesday, I did a 90-minute photo-shoot with 2 'models' (2 different ones each day) for a 'flyer' about a local social service. On each day, one of the models was a 70-80 year-old resident while the other was a young social-work student gaining 'work experience' . On Wednesday, I did a 30-minute photo-shoot of a volunteer for an upcoming article based on an interview with her. So in the past 3 days, I got 3,5 hours of free 'learning experience' with 5 different 'models'. On each day, we together searched for and found 3-4 different 'shooting locations' (in and around the building). The 'models' suggested potential shooting locations that I didn't know about. They also helped out - when not in the frame themselves - by holding my reflector to adjust the natural and/ or flash lighting. There's no way I could have gotten such a wealth of experience in such a short space of time by hiring models. And the best thing was that we all really enjoyed ourselves!

  8. How many beginner models are out there, wondering where to find a photographer they can afford?
    mikemorrell likes this.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Check the Art Department at the University. They often have models on call, sometimes student models as well. You would need to pay either. Drama Department too. Budding Actors often need photos which they might take as part payment for modeling. Would need to be on the up and up - not to imply that you are not.
    mickeysimpson and Tony Parsons like this.
  10. This is an excellent response Mike! I've wondered how to improve my people photography skills and will definitely follow your lead. Thak you for your excellent and thoughtful response on this thread.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  11. Another chicken and egg thing. I'd be completely clueless about working with models and would need to take a class or two. Hopefully the instructor(s) could provide some resources or leads on getting models for those photographers just getting started. I could even see banding together with some classmates to hire one.

    I would guess there are both beginning models that would be willing to work with beginning photographers and experienced models who serve a niche market of working with beginning photographers. My guess is that it would go better if at least one person in the room knows what they're doing. :)
  12. What about an Action Man or Cindy Doll? Both are terrific professionals and look gr8 in almost all uniforms.

    However, Canadull, ain’t their preferred location
  13. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    When I saw you had posted, i wondered if you were volunteering your modelling services . . . :)
  14. Does One Model Place still exist? Our university here has an organization called the Modeling Board. I’ve done their headshots for a few years and have found several good models there. Sandy makes an excellent point about an art department.

    Rick H.

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