Whether you’re just starting out as a boudoir photographer looking to build your portfolio or you’ve been at it for a while and want to try something new and creative for your existing business, finding models for a TFP boudoir shoot can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are a number of places to find models who are willing to do a TFP collaboration with you.
Where To Find TFP Boudoir Models
- Ask a friend
- Ask a friend if they could recommend someone
- Ask your makeup artist if she knows of someone
- Reach out on your social media
- Post in a local Facebook model group
- Contact a model on Model Mayhem
- Contact a local modeling agency
- Post on Craig’s List
I utilized TFP shoots a lot when I was getting my feet wet and exploring the genre to see if this was something I wanted to pursue, and now I use them when I want to try out new things with my photography I may want to incorporate into my regular sessions.
Let’s now dive into the options I listed above and talk about the pros and cons of each.
Ask A Friend
Asking a friend is probably the easiest way to get someone to collaborate with you. Simply contact them and tell them you’re getting into boudoir photography and ask if they’d be interested in being your model in exchange for some free pictures.
You probably have a number of people you could easily contact right away and setting up a shoot will go smoothly.
They will probably be fairly reliable and not flake on you since doing so would damage your friendship.
Some of them may have the opinion that shooting boudoir is the same as shooting porn, so choose wisely, you don’t want to offend anyone and you don’t want to damage any relationships.
Ask A Friend If They Could Recommend Someone
If any of your friends say “no” to you, ask if they know of anyone who’d be interested in being a model for a day for a boudoir shoot.
Being a friend of a friend is almost like using one of your own friends. Since the person was referred by a mutual friend you both have, there’s already a built in level of trust.
For example, if you ask your friend Ashley is she’d be interested in being your boudoir model but she’s not into it for whatever reason, then ask if she knows of anyone who might be.
She might say she knows a few women at work who might be interested and she could ask them, or just have her give you their phone number or email and contact them directly saying you’re a friend of Ashley and she thought you might be interested.
Again, asking someone you don’t know, even though they were referred by a mutual friend, to model for your boudoir shoot could offend some people. So, approach it with as much tact and professionalism as you can.
They may not be as reliable to show up if they get cold feet at the last minute and since the two of you aren’t friends to begin with, they wouldn’t be damaging any pre-existing relationship.
Before moving on, I’d like to address something that is probably on you mind and that is…
Do You Need A TFP Agreement?
Do you need to have your model sign an agreement with you when you do a TFP shoot?
My answer is “no”, you don’t need one… but should you have one?
I didn’t have one when I first started, but then situations cropped up that I started needing one to protect my work and not get taken advantage of.
Nowadays I don’t do a TFP shoot without a signed agreement where everything is spelled out and each party knows what they’re getting in exchange for their time, as well as, what they can and can’t do with their images.
If you’re interested in checking out the one I use, just click the link to My Ultimate Boudoir TFP Agreement & Model Release Bundle.
You can also read about some ways your work can get stolen if you don’t have one.
Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post…
Ask Your Makeup Artist If She Knows Of Someone
If you have a relationship or friendship with a makeup artist and you plan on using them on your shoot, ask them if they know of anyone who’d like to be your model.
This works in a similar fashion as the “ask a friend if they could refer someone” method but with more reliability.
Since the person is a friend of your makeup artist, and that person is the one doing the makeup for your shoot, not showing up would be flaking out on her friend (as opposed to you who she doesn’t know).
In other words, she has a strong incentive to show up because if she didn’t, she’d be letting down her friend… and that probably wouldn’t go over well.
The con would be you don’t have any friends who are makeup artists or you don’t plan on using one for the shoot because you’re trying to save money… and that’s perfectly legit. Just have your model do her own makeup.
Reach Out On Your Social Media For A TFP Model
If you’re not embarrassed to let people know you’re getting into boudoir, then make a request on your social media that you’re looking for someone to model for you so you can build up your portfolio.
You may include that any one interested to contact you privately, that way they can remain anonymous and not have the whole world know that they want to model boudoir for you.
This gives them a private channel to contact you with and will keep things off social media.
This is easy to implement and you can even ask your circle of friends if they know of anyone (friend of a friend method) who might be interested if they personally were not.
If you want to keep your boudoir aspirations on the down-low, this would not be the way to go and could potentially cast you in a light you’re not ready to step into at the moment.
Post In A Local Facebook Model Group For TFP Models
In just about every city, town, or suburb around the world, there are local Facebook groups that cater to models, photographers, and makeup artists.
Those three are usually all grouped together because they all work together and network constantly with one another when coordinating shoots.
Just go on Facebook and type in “models group” or “models photographers makeup artists group” then add your city or town after that or the name of the closest metropolitan area near where you live.
So, if you lived in or near Richmond, Virginia you would type into the search bar:
“models, photographers, makeup artists, Richmond VA” then hit “Enter”.
A number of groups will appear with a short description of what that group is all about. If you’re interested in joining, click “Join Group” and you’re in and ready to post.
“TFP Models Wanted”
Once you’re accepted as a member, you can do one of two things:
1.) Lay low for a while and get a sense of the talent that’s part of the group. If you see a few individuals you’d like to work with, contact them with private messaging.
2.) Post a general announcement that you’re looking for a TFP model to shoot boudoir with, in which case you’re probably going to get a lot of people that may not be what you’re looking for and you can either ignore them or politely tell them their services won’t be needed or you already found someone.
You have direct access to people who are interested in being models and adding to their portfolios. These are usually filled with local women who are aspiring to be models at some level and will often jump at the chance to do a boudoir shoot.
Some of these groups may have a bit of a screening process of asking a few qualifying questions and it may take a day or two for them to accept your request to join. But not really a big deal.
Also, some of these groups’ talent pool is rather small so if you do a lot a TFP shoots, you may run into the same people over and over again… and they may not be what you’re looking for.
Another con is that they are models and will pose like a model. You don’t really want that because you need to learn how to pose women who have no idea how to pose for boudoir.
If this is the case, just tell them not to pose and that you’ll be instructing them every step of the way because that’s what you need to work on.
Contact A Model On Model Mayhem
Model Mayhem (modelmayhemdotcom) is a website that connects models with photographers.
It’s free to join and open a profile but that only allows you to contact people who are your “friends”, and in order to become “friends” with people you have to send them a “friend request” and they have to accept it — or vice-versa.
That limits the number of people you can directly contact, so the next level up costs $6 a month, which is pretty cheap, and allows you to contact up to 100 people per month outside of your network.
Like Facebook groups, you can find models in your area by using their screening search tool, and it’s nothing but people who are offering their services as a model (as well as photographers).
MM is a bit like the wild west. There’s a whole lot of everything here, some legit and some not so legit but that’s more on the photographer side than on the model side.
A lot of guys will pose as photographers to try and lure women into a so-called photo shoot but have other intentions, so models need to be aware of that element here.
Another con is that I feel MM has been overshadowed by Facebook groups in the last several years. Kind of like how Facebook overshadowed My Space back in the day.
I think it really depends on where you live as to its popularity, but it’s certainly a resource to utilize that’s available to you.
Contact A Local Modeling Agency
I’ve never done this myself but if you live near a somewhat large city, there will more than likely be a few modeling agencies there.
Call them up and ask to speak to one of the agents. Tell them you’re a boudoir photographer looking to expand your portfolio and you’re willing to do a trade shoot with a model that needs boudoir type images for their portfolio.
Now, they may try and get you to book one of their models (in other words — pay), but tell them you’d rather work with someone new who is looking to save money hiring a photographer to add images to their portfolio.
Remember, you have value too. Just make sure your photography skills are decent enough for the exchange of value. You don’t want to be practicing the fundamentals of photography here (like how to capture a properly exposed image), but rather your attempt at shooting boudoir.
Now I wouldn’t go calling up a modeling agency without first having a website and some images on there from past shoots they could check out. Any agency worth their salt will want to vet you first, so the more professional your website, the better they’ll feel about working something out with you.
So, start with some of the other methods first, get broken in a little, and if you want to get a higher caliber model, then try calling some of these modeling agencies.
That would be my suggestion.
Modeling agencies have plenty of models.
You get to work with someone who wants to be a model.
The larger the city, the more modeling agencies there will be.
The agency may try and get you to hire (i.e. pay) one of their models.
They will more than likely vet you first before even considering recommending someone from their agency so have a website with some images up first.
Post On Craig’s List For A TFP Model
Ugh, Craig’s List!
Don’t get me started.
So, what’s up with Craig’s List as far as finding models? Is it a good idea?
Well, let me put it this way… even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The odds of you finding someone you want to work with will be slim. It’s just not the place women go to find modeling jobs… that is, unless they’re brand new and don’t know any better.
Those that know better have moved on to Model Mayhem, and those that know better still have moved on to Facebook Groups. That’s been the evolution I’ve noticed over the years.
I just jumped on there a minute ago and it’s still the same scammy place it’s degenerated into and seems to want to stay.
Just a lot of male “photographers” looking for “models” for “topless” shoots promising paid gigs at some future point, or some variation of such.
One was even saying he was going to use his phone to take the pictures with! I kid you not!
I even checked out numerous Craig’s Lists across the country in different cities and they’re all the same.
The Bottom Line About Craig’s List
First of all, you’re going to have much better luck finding a model with all the other options mentioned previously than you will using CL.
“Yes, but is it an option?”
(Ugh, you’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?)
… Okay, yeeesss, it is an option… but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It’s quick and easy to post looking for a model.
You may get lucky and find someone.
Get ready to reject a lot of candidates, and the ones you do get, hope they don’t flake out on you.
Not exactly the digital neighborhood you want your business to be associated with.
Thanks for your time!
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Founder / Lounge Boudoir