How to Put Together a Successful Model Call

Too often of times you read on Facebook “I need a model” or “Available to shoot TOMORROW!” - but there’s no concept, no explanation of what’s going to happen during the shoot, and no idea where it is going to be held most of the time.

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It ends up being a huge waste of time and lost money, if you rented a studio.

Or if you do shoot, it doesn’t generate the type of images you need for your portfolio.

Photography can be fun by planning it appropriately. It seems like work, but a little effort upfront will make the photoshoot much more enjoyable and a creative team that is seamlessly working together for a common goal. I’m a planner by nature, so this might come naturally to me. For others, you might just need to use a format that’s easy to help you start your planning.

Here’s what you need for a successful Model Call so you don’t sound like a creep or unorganized.

Date: What is the date of the shoot?

Time: What time is shoot time? What time is call time?

Location: Where is this photoshoot going to take place? Anything specific about the location the model should know?

Model Requirements: This is where you state race, gender, ethnicity, long hair/short hair, etc etc. This is where you get general but with some specifics that help such as sizing or ethnicity.

Concept: Here’s where you’re going to explain your creative vision for the photoshoot. I like to use a mood board such as Pinterest and share the link with all the creative collaborators. This is important because you’re a visual person and so are your co-creatives. A visual board with some words and descriptions goes a long way in ensuring your entire team stays on track with the creative concept. Here’s an example of a mood board I developed for Brianna’s beauty photoshoot with me a few weeks ago:

What is needed: What does the model need to bring with her? For example, when shooting beauty, I ask that the model bring a strapless bra or an off the shoulder top/tube top with a few alternative options for styling. I also have a whole list of how the model needs to prepare for a beauty photoshoot so that makeup application is perfect.

Purpose: What’s the purpose of this shoot? Is it for portfolio, creative exploration, new lighting test, new techniques, etc? All parties should know what the purpose is before agreeing to do a shoot. The best advice I can give is just be upfront and truthful. No one likes to be lied to (I.e. shooting commercial paid work and not paying your creative team).

How are images to be used: Again, be truthful - are they for portfolio and social media, or other?

What is the trade: That’s the big question of the day - what is the trade value? Time for Time + images for all? Or are you going to pay your model and creative team? Be honest with yourself as well. If you need to pay for a model because you need to elevate your work, then pay for a model and have clear expectations of what you need from that model.

Your website/Instagram/FB page: Insert your website, Instagram, Facebook, or other platform as your proof of what you do so others can check your work out and validate whether or not they want to work with you.

How you want to be contacted: DM, email, etc. I suggest getting everything via email. DMs are great and convenient, but honestly, it’s hard to type out instructions on those platforms, and most people are hit or miss with responding on time.

Pictures: Add some pictures into this post so we can see where you’re going with your vision.


Hope this was a helpful short blog. Feel free to cut and paste the above into a format you can use consistently such as Word or Notes and use it. I actually use Evernote most of the time to build my Model Calls, keep history of previous model calls. Then I share the link via email so no one misses the model call or changes that are made after it was sent.