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How to Find Local Models For Your Next Photoshoot

Whether you are just starting to do portrait photography or you are a wanting to expand your portfolio with new looks, finding models for your photoshoots can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to start.

Luckily we’ve been there done that. Here are the five ways to find models for your next photoshoot.

model posing for photographer

How to find local models

  1. Find Models in local Facebook groups
    Facebook groups are a hotbed of collaboration. The trick here is to search for local groups. Try searching for “your city” + “models” in the Facebook search bar and then click on groups to see groups in your area.
  2. Create your own Facebook group for model + photographer collaboration
    If you don’t find any groups start your own! We created a Facebook group for St. Louis models & photographers to connect because we were not finding any groups that supported free collaborations. We now have over 500 active members & any time we need a model for free collaborations it’s the first place we go.
  3. Search for models using Instagram hashtags
    Most larger cities have a modeling hashtag. It might take a little creativity to figure out the hashtag but once you do, you can contact models you like via Instagram messages. Try searching for your city (or it’s abbreviation) + model or models or modeling. For example, if you lived in Houston you could search for #houstonmodels which has over 300,000 results.
  4. Model Mayhem
    Think of Model Mayhem as a search engine for models. You can search for models in your local area. Not only can you review each model’s portfolio but you can use the profiles to get an idea of their experience level, expectations regarding pay and the genres they prefer.
  5. Friends & Friends of Friends
    When all else fails resort to friends. You would be surprised at how many people actually like getting their picture taken (says the photographer that truly hates being in front of the camera). Friends are also often very willing to refer you to someone they know who models or wants to get into modeling.

Finding local models can be tough when you first start out but these resources can help make it easier. Taking some of these steps will eventually leave you with a strong network of local models that you can contact for future shoots.


  1. My friend is looking for a modeling agency because she plans to hire a model for a photo shoot to build her portfolio. I like that you said she could find a good model by using Instagram hashtags and connect with them using Instagram messages. I’ll share this with her on our brunch date tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Awesome Levi – so glad it helped. We’ve had a lot of luck finding models on Instagram and a lot of them are willing to to do TFP shoots (Trade for Print) where the photographer gives the model free access to the photos and the model gives their time free, it’s a great way to save money when starting out! Good luck to your friend, we’d love to see the photos they get!

  2. Hi ,I am looking for 6 local modles for a bikini car wash for 3 days , which are weekends . Can I find any and what is their price range ?

    • Hey Willy, I would suggest going on Model Mayhem or using Facebook and searching in your area for groups where there are models and photographers that like to collaborate on projects. Thanks for reading, hope you find what you need!

  3. Great article! I’ve had luck with Instagram hashtags as well, but now I mostly turn to using this website called Best Local Modeling Agency- it helped me find local models in my area online, super easy!


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