How to Find Models for Your Photo Shoot

This article aims to help you understand how to use Model Mayhem to find models for your photo shoots. Let’s say you’re a photographer, or casting director, looking to do a fitness shoot with a young female model and you’re based in Los Angeles.

The first choice you need to make is whether to search the Model Mayhem database of models (which we cover here) or post a casting call (see our follow-up article).

To get started you need to go to the Browse section of Model Mayhem and start filling out some of the search options. We’re starting by searching for female fitness models in Los Angeles. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for it’s a good idea to start with a broad range of search options and then to narrow it down by selecting additional filters.

For this first search our criteria were simple:

  • Artist Type: Model
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Genre: Fitness
  • Logged-in within: 7 days

This search returns 300+ models*, which would take a very long time to review, so by clicking the Refine Search button and adding some additional filters (see below), we’re able to narrow it down.

  • Experience: Some Experience + Experienced + Very Experienced
  • Age: 21-25
  • Min Height: 5’3”
  • Max Weight: 130
  • Verified Credits

This second search returns 30+ models*, which is a far more manageable number. Of course, it’s possible to add more filters but we’re OK with that list of results for an initial review. The next step is to narrow it down even further and there are a number of ways to do that. You can scan the results for VIP Members or those with the most Verified Credits and start by reviewing those profiles. Alternatively, you could look for profiles that specifically mention “fitness” in the About Me or Credit Notes sections or portfolios that include fitness photos.

Whatever your criteria may be, at some point it’s time for quick profile and portfolio reviews to get the list down to 5-10 potential candidates.

Note for Models: This is why it’s essential to fill out your Model Mayhem profile accuratelyCasting Directors start by reviewing the measurements listed on your profile and reading your bio. It’s also very helpful knowing what type of model you are and organizing your portfolio into folders for the different genres of modeling you do.

Based on the search criteria (above), and after reviewing all 84 profiles and portfolios, here are 10 fitness models in Los Angeles that stood out:

Eimanne Zein


Lonnie Lenyea

Rachel Ramos


Jennie Jaturapatporn

Kendra LC

Elizabeth Marochok


Kat Crawley

Now comes the hard part…selecting just one of these 10 great fitness models to shoot with!

Finding Models In Your Area

If you’re new to Model Mayhem you can use the links above as a starting point for your own search, simply change the location, genre, etc. to match what you’re looking for. It’s also possible to save your custom searches to make it quicker to view the results. This is especially useful because the results can change frequently.


* The actual number fluctuates daily based on how many models that meet the search criteria have logged-in within the past 7 days.

MM Castings

MM Castings is part of the Model Mayhem team specifically set up to help manage and grow casting calls on the site as well as help members improve their chances of finding more work.

More Posts - Website

25 Responses to “How to Find Models for Your Photo Shoot”

  1. January 04, 2019 at 2:15 pm, Reginald Batts said:

    Very nice and fit ladies


  2. August 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm, driver49 said:

    I don’t seem to be able to find the ‘refine search’ function. What am I missing?


  3. November 09, 2017 at 7:13 pm, Gerry Beliveau said:

    Used to be you could reach out to models without a charge. Now, we have to pay to reach out to models, even though there’s no guarantee any of them will be interested or work out. MM has become just another paid site.


    • June 02, 2019 at 5:22 am, Scorpionatlarge said:

      Absolutely agree!


  4. August 11, 2017 at 7:22 am, John Phillips said:

    My biggest peeve is models who can’t be bothered to reply to messages asking if they want to shoot. I had a much better success rate in the first couple of years when I was just learning! Now that my work is so much better, models aren’t interested!


  5. August 09, 2017 at 9:36 pm, Leslie Savage said:

    How about putting it back the way it was, so photographers and models can contact each other directly. I can’t even contact models who are on my front page credits!!!


    • August 09, 2017 at 9:46 pm, John Phillips said:

      What do you mean? We can contact models via their profiles? Do you mean the talent’s actual email? I sure wouldn’t want people getting a hold of my email to spam me.


      • August 10, 2017 at 11:04 am, Leslie Savage said:

        MM changed it so you need to upgrade to be able to connect a model through their profile, which wasn’t the case before. I have a model on my profile credit page who I can’t connect, but I have photographed her twice by connecting her through MM. This is just unfair to cut me off from models who are on good terms with me!!!


  6. October 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm, Orchard Corset said:

    Very new to MM- when we find a model that we would like to work with, how do we contact them? A few of them have their email address listed but for the others, we are a little lost as to how to contact them.


  7. August 24, 2016 at 11:51 pm, Dinar said:

    I do not try to find models on MM anymore, from my experience just about 100% of them are flakes, and that’s a fact !!


  8. August 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm, Jose Castro said:

    You ought to add that searching in an area like LA is probably your best step in trying to find a model. Other cities, and other States, would yield lots of ancient portfolios with members who have not logged in for years.


  9. January 28, 2016 at 4:08 pm, E528491 said:

    The bottom line here is that models and photographers that use this site need to write credits for each other. Its the only way photographers can find new clients ( paying clients) and for models to find photographers to work with. It’s the only way for the community to really grow. It helps you and the model get more work in the future.

    Even if a model hasn’t worked a lot yet if she shows up on time and takes direction well, its a lot better than a model who has done tons of work that is late,holds everything up and doesn’t trust you as the photographer.
    You also have to pull your weight in setting up the shoot and making sure the model is reliable.


    • December 01, 2016 at 7:37 pm, tekwrite said:

      I agree.


  10. January 22, 2016 at 1:18 am, Timothy Jenkins said:

    What do you do when you place an ad looking for models and the women that answer do not take the time to read the ad in the first place? I get a ton of women that are extremely experienced with a huge resume. I tend to work with fresh clay so to speak. It hasn’t been molded a hundred times or so. Plus a lot of the models on here are no longer working or haven’t checked their mail in like a hundred years.


    • May 11, 2017 at 4:36 pm, Cking said:

      First step, delete this disqus account because you come off as mad creepy in all your forum posts bro…


      • May 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm, Timothy Jenkins said:

        Could you be a bit more open your meaning? It would be appreciated. Thanks


  11. January 20, 2016 at 8:35 am, DJAurand said:

    It would be helpful if MM had downloadable “Comp Cards” for the models. Essentially 8.5 x 11 PDFs. That way, as I go through the 100 models I get in the Browse results, I can print out the models I want to follow up with.


  12. January 14, 2016 at 8:13 pm, Mike said:

    Remember, that MM is just the 1st step of a casting. It’s a pooling of suitable candidates.
    Photographers AND models should follow-up with a short interview once they’ve been selected.
    The interview can address expectations, scheduling, wardrobe, m/u, and any issues related to special requirements or even if a model’s hair colour or measurements have changed.
    This interview can be done either in person, or via Skype if either party are travelling often.
    It’s a quick way of achieving clearity between like-minded people.
    Castings are the first stage in collaborating, and if either the photographer or the model are having misgivings, they can easily note those and make a final decision based on them, if they case may be.
    I find these interviews very important for the photographer, in a way that she or he has to address the number of shots required, the type of shots, and whether it’s studio or location, etc. That way the photographer can prep the model for the type of day she’ll have and she can be more prepared for what the photographer requires.


  13. January 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm, Tiffany Crystal said:

    Thank you MM for featuring me 🙂


  14. January 13, 2016 at 2:31 pm, Tony Lawrence said:

    MM is great for tests but not paid client work. Just imagine having a model not show up for the shoot. Which happens quite often or arrive pounds heaver or with a very different hair style or a new tattoo. This is why clients still use modeling agencies. Photographers and their clients can pick from reliable models and even have then come in for a brief go see.


    • January 13, 2016 at 4:38 pm, Peter Moeller said:

      I agree with your comment, to a degree, but among the
      thousands of models on ModelMayhem, there surely is the right model for pretty
      much every shoot. The challenge is finding her, or him.

      When a model looks totally different or doesn’t show, the
      photographer is partially to blame.

      There are techniques to help pick the right model:

      Read her reviews

      Ask if her portfolio still represents her
      current look

      Do not only email or msg the model, talk to her
      on the phone, more than once

      Make sure you have a clear concept of the shoot and
      the model is on the same page

      Involved her in the preparation of the shoot

      There certainly is more, those are the most important points.

      Since I use these techniques, I pretty much don’t have
      no-shows anymore.

      When I do eg portfolio shoots for new models on TFP basis, I
      ask the model to come up with a concept, in writing, and email it to me. If the
      model brings her own outfits, I ask her to photograph the outfits and send me the
      images for selection. I send her the release form and ask to send me signed
      copy back. The models that drag their feet, don’t return phone calls, reply to
      emails slowly, or otherwise give me the impression they are not “on board”, I
      simply drop. I learnt not to waste time with those.

      I find that the models that work with me through the
      preparation appear to the shoot 100% and generally do good work in front of the
      camera, too.


      • May 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm, Timothy Jenkins said:

        I’m an artist and need a certain woman for a certain drawing I’m doing. So far I haven’t seen much that I like for my pinup art. I have to really want to draw you in order to use you.


  15. January 13, 2016 at 11:44 am, Jeff Norman said:

    I put a casting out for a model with martial arts experience. None of the applicants said what experience they had and when I asked they either failed to respond or admitted they didn’t have any.


    • January 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm, Ma Cleary said:

      well hopefully you had that conversation before they showed up.

      Frustrating to get the right mix.


      • January 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm, Jeff Norman said:

        Yeah! I didn’t even talk to them let alone book them. I just told them that it was an explicit requirement. I just think that everyone should read the brief carefully before they respond – whether they are photographers, models etc. I had blondes replying to one casting when I explicitly said I wanted a model with dark hair. Hey Ho.


Leave a Reply