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How to find and approach models for a shoot and build your portfolio?

I have been into portrait photography since two and a half years. Starting out anything at the beginning is difficult but we slowly understand the process. I had a difficult time finding and approaching models and often faced rejections so I shall tell you my experience how you can kick start your portrait photography. I have divided the sections into finding a model and then approaching them.

Finding Models

If you have just started photography and want to shoot portraits, finding a model could be quite a task for you. There are many ways in which you can do it:


Having friends/family members who aspire to be a model and are willing to pose in-front of a camera can be your starting point. You can take references from other photographers and try to create something inspiring. You don’t have to worry about anything, experiment the way you like. When I started out doing portraits, I called out few friends and just tried whatever I could.

Few of my Friends I shot:

In-frame: Riya, Omkar and Alekhya. Blessed to have friends who were willing to pose in-front of my camera and helped me grow!


The 7th most popular social media in the world would be the perfect place for you to find the models you are looking for. There are many ways you can find them:


The location tab provides all the top and recent posts of your local people in the city. This makes it easier for you to find them from your city or region. You can also narrow down your search to typical places.

For example Church street in Bangalore is one of the busiest and a very popular place. So I ran a search and found many models who posted pictures at the location “Church street”. In-fact I came across various people whom I have the privilege working with using the same technique.


One of the best ways to find people you want to work with. If I was to find a model in Bangalore, I’d simply search for #bangaloremodels and whoever has used this hashtag with their photo would show. You can also search for various photography hashtags which in-turn you can find models the photographers are working with.


One of the best ways to get a model to shoot with you is making good contacts with your fellow photographer friends. They must have worked with models which they could recommend to you. Once there’s a word of mouth message to a model, they will have confidence working with you.

How to approach them?

Decide what kind of photography you do

There are many types of photography genres you might be interested in but narrowing down to only few of them makes the model know what you are really good at. Your photography should speak to others, not you. I generally do natural light portraits. So if a model visits my profile, they get an idea of the kind of photography I do. Having a consistent feed is very important which shows your professionalism. A very random set of pictures can ruin your chances from getting a response from the model.

The set of pictures on the left are from my recent feed and on the right from my old account back in 2018. Now imagine you were a model and received collaboration messages from both these accounts- the old me and the new m