I’ve been an avid photographer for over 10 years now. There have been phases during this time where a lot of my focus was on model photography. This wasn’t for paying clients or for magazines or anything typically, but to just keep active as a photographer and get some much needed social time with other people. Around 2015 I’d stopped entirely, but now it seems my interest is renewed.
I can’t tell you why compelled me to stop doing it any more than I can tell you what compelled me to start. Though I’ve become aware that underneath it all, I just enjoy shooting nice portraits of people. But I’m terrified about approaching strangers to ask if I may shoot their portrait. With models, it’s easier because they are putting themselves out there for it.
It’s been an interesting challenge to return to the scene; all of the models and all of the photographers seem to be different. I did run into someone who once modeled for me, but is now a photographer. I’m having to rebuild reputation and network from ground zero. But how do you find collaborators when you’re starting from nothing?
I’ve had some pretty good success meeting people through Instagram as well as Meetup. If you find some prolific models in your area by using a hashtag like city + “model” (in my case, #raleighmodel does it) you might find out from them if there are any collectives of creative folks you can join.
Here in Raleigh, I quickly found two:
These meetups tend to be very welcoming to guests. I don’t always get the very best photos at these group events, because there can be pileups where one model is trying to appease multiple photographers at once. Sometimes it works well to find a model that’s not getting much attention, as they can give you their undivided attention and you can take your time creating great images of them without being shoulder to shoulder with other photographers. And the models are grateful for your time.
Please, if you do this, please just make sure you’re very timely in delivering finished images to your models. They are doing this for free with the expectation of getting some great images to show for it. And also to build their creative network.
As I finish writing this entry, I’m getting ready to go to another meetup event.