I have shot with “models” across the country. This photography was shot on location and with aspiring and active models. Typically, I shoot with models that can contribute to my iStock portfolio. I will trade them (TFCD) content that I want to shoot for my stock portfolio and then spend time shooting content that they want for their portfolio. After the shoot, I provide them a CD of all the images and offer to touch up ~5 images that they can use for their portfolio.
There are several online Model websites (i.e. onemodelplace and modelmayhem) to find aspiring models, however, I have found that Craigslist works well to find models wanting to get into the world of modeling.
My experience is that many aspiring models are flaky. About half never showed up for the appts or were very late. For those who never showed up for the shoot, the communication was horrible. They never responded to messages (via email and phone). In addition, many aspiring models have the idea that they are going to earn hundreds of dollars for each shoot with no experience.
Those models that were serious about modeling were great! However, very few would model for TFCD.
Aspiring models really need time in front of the camera. They need to know how to pose, how to move between shots, and how to interact with the camera to make great images.
The aspiring photographer needs time behind the camera as well. They need to be able to direct the model, suggest poses or adjustments to poses to bring out the beauty of the model. They have to learn to see light and how it enhances the beauty of the model. They have to learn how to interact with the model to make him/her feel comfortable so that the best images can be made.
This is all just practice. Training courses, books and schooling can help, but practice brings it all together.
For my iStock portfolio, I also have the model sign a model release (with a witness) that gives permission to use the pictures as stock photography. I have shot with a couple of models under the age of 18 and always require their parents to be at the shoot and to sign the release.
So, here is the dilemma. Good models expect to get paid. Good photographers expect to get paid. TFP or TFCD is a good solution, but it takes a ton of work to make that happen.
If you are an aspiring model photographer, the online model repositories are a good start to find models willing to work with you. I wouldn’t waste your time on a model that is not responsive.
You might also contact your local model agency and offer to do some test shoots for the models that need some experience. That might be a good alternative to the online world as well.
Let me know your experience with shooting models as well.