I've had good luck with Craig's list and One Model Place. The models on One Model Place can be more expensive whereas Craig's List seems to attract more art models who understand that not all photographers are built of cash. If you post to Craig's List be sure and include your website and a phone number (I also include what I'm able to pay). That will set you aside from many of the other photographers looking for models (and dates).
Finally, don't forget to consider asking friends and friends of friends to model. My best models have always been someone I knew and they hadn't modeled before. They understood my work and collaborated with me in a way that many paid models haven't.
Nice to hear you want to do some portrait and figure work. I look forward to seeing the results. I only hope it will be LF or ULF.
I can't recommend any of the on-line sources for models. I have used them and do use them but think there are much better ways to find models. You might try placing an ad in the local college paper. This has had great results for me. They are a steady source of young models without the on-line BS.
Another source would be to contact local art schools in your area. They use figure models and someone who has posed for a drawing class is much better to work with using ULF cameras. They understand how to stay still and are not as easily bored.
Also look into any dance schools or companies in your area. Dancers have great bodies for figure work and are very comfortable with their bodies.
When I first got out of art school, I shot former classmates who I had taken drawing classes together with.
The best models Iíve found have been from showing my figure work locally. When Iíve done this it hasnít sold as well as in the big city, but I always get a couple of people who want to be in the work. They turn out to be among the best models to work with because they believe in the work.
Placerville may be a little out of the way for many models, but you may be able to find some in the Sacramento area, or even the SF Bay area, willing to travel. Or, as Jorge mentioned, try to find a photographer in a larger city who might be willing to rent his/her studio for a shoot there.
Another photo forum you might try is the Black & White Photography Forum (http://www.bwphotographyforum.com/). There are a couple of SF Bay area photographers who post there, and they might be able to connect you with models they have used.
Overall, the talent pool might be broken down as follows:
1. people on the street, mall, etc.
2. people found through local (nearest larger city) newspaper ads
3. people found via art departments at nearby colleges,
4. people found via the Web (model "directories" like OMP, photo forums, etc.)
5. people found through conventional model agencies.
Each group requires a somewhat different approach, and may be looking for different levels of "validation" of the photographer's credentials and objectives. Remember, while your objectives may be straightforward, there are plenty of predators floating around. Thus, you should be prepared to demonstrate that you're not one of those.
Expected pay scales also vary widely. Art models who pose for drawing and painting classes are usually the most realistic in their expectations. In contrast, Web-based models often have inflated expectations, as they are often accustomed to booking with amateur "glamour" photographers with deep pockets. Those who have worked with other fineart/figure photographers, however, will usually be more realistic, and more amenable to a reduced "day rate".
While conventional agency models are probably the most reliable, they are also the least likely to take figure assignments, as the agencies tend not to want their models posing nude. Web-based models can either be quite reliable (e.g. show up for the shoot, sometimes on time) or complete flakes. Check references, and lean toward those who have established good reputations with other photographers.
I'd also suggest making sure that your expectations for the shoot and all financial aspects be clearly communicated and agreed upon in advance of finalizing the booking. Make sure they understand what you are willing to pay for their time, the amount of any travel compensation, and any other details. Also, make sure that they are willing to sign a standard model release, and are prepared to provide proof of age, etc.
You might also consider having a professional make-up artist (MUA) present at the shoot. While most models can do a fair job with make-up, a pro can make the difference between OK images and great ones. An excellent place to make contact with MUAs is:
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
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What sort of work do you have in mind? I'm actually quite surprised to hear of your interest in this. You looking to do nudes in landscape, abstract figure studies, nekkid portraits...???
If formal figure studies you are probably better off hiring a professional model that you might find from a web listing, model agency or through a university art department. They will have experience and that can be a big help for someone just starting. Professional models will be more expensive, very business-like, and the shoot will probably result in more formal and emotionally neutral results. IOW, Cold and distanced.
OTOH, if you wish to do something less abstract and more relaxed, personal, and expressive, I would ask friends or friends of friends. For me anyways, that's where my most successful nude images come from. I have to find the person interesting in some way and I have never really been satisfied with any nudes I've taken where I've simply paid modeling fees. With that in mind, I'd also suggest you perhaps give some of your friends from FAB/Sight a call and ask for suggestions and perhaps leads. I'm sure Mark and AA-M, etc., would be a good resource for information and perhaps even model contacts.
Looking forward to see what you do with this.
I live in Utah and have no problems finding models. I keep a few images of my work with me and when I find someone that fits what I am looking for, I simply introduce myself and if they are interested in speaking, I show them my work and tell them I am interested in shooting them.
I usually have a place and idea in mind. I tell them, if they are interested to bring a friend and I always have an assistant there, it reduces risk and makes most feel more at ease.
I make it clear up front on compensation, either trade for prints or a fee.
I donít shoot people very often but have had success with that approach.
Another idea is to post a want ad on message boards at colleges.
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All of the figure work I have done has been in workshop settings. In each instance, the models have been non-professional, sometimes students, and sometimes recruited through friends of the organizers. In looking back, I would say that perhaps 50% of then have been good to excellent, while the others have ranged from mediocre to horrible. Overall, the distribution pretty much followed a normal bell curve.
Several years ago I tried placing some announcements on strategically-located bulletin boards - post offices, bulletin boards in areas appealing to folks with alternative life styles, photo shops, etc. Didn't get a lot of responses. One was a photographer who had done figure work in college, enjoyed it, and wanted to do more after she got into the "real world". The other was from a guy who seemed to be fixated on size, and one phone conversation was as much contact as I cared to have with the dude. Different experience, but once again the conclusion is normal distribution.
I think you might find your first few models by looking at the message board at your local art supply store, I often see cards of models looking for work. The art school might be another good place to start. You might try finding another artist in your area who works with models and ask them for some names. I have had some success on Craigs list by running an ad that says " have you ever wanted a fine art nude photograph of yourself ?" I always include my name and a link to my work. Like George I find that when I show my work I tend to get enough volunteers to carry my for a while. Judging from the rest of your work I am sure that once you get started this will be less of an issue for you.
Good Luck, I look forward to seeing the work.
Thanks for all the great ideas! I really appreciate the help.
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Yes it can. And I would like, but...
Originally Posted by gandolfi
I have shot nudes with a LF camera for several years. Probably have around 500 exposures. The most important thing is to be professional. Have a card and have examples of your work. If you have not done any work then have some examples from a book to the prospective model that show what you are trying to do. My first model came from a photography class. The most important thing is to make the model feel safe. Shooting nudes is a delicate subject. Encourage the model to bring someone to the shoot. Explain that you have a paid female photo assistant. I personally pay models. Most people work for money not for thrills. I also pay well. This gives the entire shoot professional standing. Women are understandably nervous about people who profess to be serious photographers without paying decent wages.
Advertising in classifieds is the best route in the beginning. That way only interested people will be calling you. Giving cards to strangers on the street is a good way to meet your local police. Usually a college paper or at least a liberal paper. You will have no trouble finding models if you do not cut corners. Amateurs are the best by far. Look for dancers, artists, or anyone concerned about their appearance. Once I got started I paid my existing models a finder fee to locate likely subjects. This practice works so well it will put you in the poor house. One woman talking to another is much more effective than a strange man talking to a strange woman. Most women are flattered to be asked to model. Always be polite and professional. Never under any circumstances touch, flirt, or seek dates with models. This is professional death and your reputation will not recover. Do not allow any kind of vulgar language or any sexual implications. Keep your focus on great photographs. This has worked well for me. If you are interested in this work then by all means go for it. If you have bad motives then stay out. You will muddy the water for serious workers.