Alternatives to MM

Sincity

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I shoot more people than wildlife or still life, so I look for great models. And the one thing I like about ModelMayhem is that you can narrow your search to a local area, since I don't live in a metro area. This helps when you talk to a model on say social media and it all looks good until we find out they are too far away. That is why I don't use FB/IG for model hunts.

So what do you do to find new talent ?? And go....
 
I loved Model Mayhem back when I was looking for models just to do some practice photos. TFP was a great way to get clients for free. I may use MM as a source for that again really soon.
 
Short answer? MM is it. Scout models every week!

Now for the details.

I was a hobbyist fashion photographer from 2010 to 2020. MM was it for me, until just before covid was a thing. A combination of MeToo, Instagram, and a different generation of models made it virtually impossible for me to find a good model. "Good" meant no nudes, up-to-date profile and portfolio, and an ability to communicate and respond to a shoot proposal within two days. I had a VIP subscription, very good responses from models following a shoot, but that era ended with my last female model in 2018. I shot a male model in early 2019 - really good guy! - but I dropped MM in February 2020 when my VIP subscription was ready for renewal. I shot in the DC area, and also shot a couple models in NYC, so I had what should have been a model rich environment.

I have looked for other resources and have found none.

I will say that when I was doing fashion I would check MM every Saturday night, scouting local models in the area (within 25 miles of me) that were active in the last week. When I was shooting fashion as a hobby, that would be 100+ models I'd review. Typically I'd find one or two that I considered worth sending a shoot proposal. If NYC was on the proverbial horizon, I'd search there too, with filters on the models to make the candidate list workable, typically another 100+ models. I shot probably 30 models over my 10 year hobby. I'm proud of what I shot, and the models were happy with what we created. Below is a link to my fashion portfolio.


I wish I had an alternative for you to consider. Check the forums on MM to see if any of the photographers or models have alternative model sites to consider, though the MM rules may prohibit posts about their potential competition.

Good luck! Hope this helps!
 
On Facebook you can often find model and photographer groups that are specific to the areas near you, which are meant for connecting photographers with models. Try looking up something like "TFP Models and Photographers in (insert city name)" on Facebook and see what comes up.

Do you live anywhere relatively close to a modeling agency? It's also possible that you could set up test shoots with agencies in your area if your work is up to their standards. I did this for a while in order to build a stronger portfolio consisting of photos with professional models and it cost me nothing, but has eventually led to some agencies occasionally hiring me to help build portfolios for new models.
 
Model Mayhem, at least in the Midwest (USA), is pretty bad. Almost none of the models look like they should even be models. Also, most of them are in their 30s and 40s! There isn't a single model in my area who is in her twenties. And try to find a model who doesn't have a ton of tattoos. Nearly impossible! I attempt to shoot glamour that is reminiscent of the work of photographers from the 50s and 60s, so tattoos don't really fit that image. Plus, I find tattoos extremely distracting in photos and one of the duties of a photographer is to eliminate distractions. Five or six years ago, my alternative to Model Mayhem was Craigslist. This was back when they still allowed ads for modeling. It might sound kind of sketchy, but I got some of my best models from Craigslist. Most of the women who replied were on MM or One Model Place anyway, but I got to set the conditions of the shoot and the modeling fee that I was willing to pay, so if a model responded, I knew she was okay with the proposed modeling fee. Through Craigslist, I met one of my favorite models and she was someone who had never modeled before. She came up with some great poses and expressions so I could tell that she had wanted to model for a long time. After Craigslist banned modeling ads, I've kind of given up on finding any suitable models. The last model I hired through Model Mayhem was back in 2016. However, she soon moved to LA and the models in my area who were left were totally unsuitable, at least for glamour. I've also been looking for alternatives to MM, but haven't had much luck.
 
Model Mayhem, at least in the Midwest (USA), is pretty bad. Almost none of the models look like they should even be models. Also, most of them are in their 30s and 40s! There isn't a single model in my area who is in her twenties. And try to find a model who doesn't have a ton of tattoos. Nearly impossible! I attempt to shoot glamour that is reminiscent of the work of photographers from the 50s and 60s, so tattoos don't really fit that image. Plus, I find tattoos extremely distracting in photos and one of the duties of a photographer is to eliminate distractions. Five or six years ago, my alternative to Model Mayhem was Craigslist. This was back when they still allowed ads for modeling. It might sound kind of sketchy, but I got some of my best models from Craigslist. Most of the women who replied were on MM or One Model Place anyway, but I got to set the conditions of the shoot and the modeling fee that I was willing to pay, so if a model responded, I knew she was okay with the proposed modeling fee. Through Craigslist, I met one of my favorite models and she was someone who had never modeled before. She came up with some great poses and expressions so I could tell that she had wanted to model for a long time. After Craigslist banned modeling ads, I've kind of given up on finding any suitable models. The last model I hired through Model Mayhem was back in 2016. However, she soon moved to LA and the models in my area who were left were totally unsuitable, at least for glamour. I've also been looking for alternatives to MM, but haven't had much luck.

I'd have to agree but I did find one model who looked like her photo on Model Mayhem. But yeah, a couple other models I worked with looked like guys for the most part. I didn't use their photos because they were women but looked like drag queens. I did use the one young lady in my portfolio and got quite a few portrait gigs from that. Also, in my agreement with each client, I mentioned that I can use their images as a promotional tool for my business. No one ever had an issue with that. So, really, all you need is 1 maybe 2 good TFP models and you should have enough for a couple different ads to put up on Facebook or wherever.
 
Wow, I hadn't heard the name Model Mayhem in about a decade. Can't believe it's still around!
I looked last night in my area. I remember 10-15 years ago there were TONS of people looking for TFP photographers. Now I found only 3 in the area I saw the TONS in. So it is dwindling somewhat. In the larger towns, there are plenty of TFP models to shoot.
 
Five or six years ago, my alternative to Model Mayhem was Craigslist. This was back when they still allowed ads for modeling.
I see modeling solicitations still on CL, and I see nothing in the rules restricting it. Was it banned at one time?
 
I see modeling solicitations still on CL, and I see nothing in the rules restricting it. Was it banned at one time?
As far as I know, it's still banned. A few years ago, I thought they might have relaxed the rules so I tried to place another ad. I paid my $3 to place the ad in the talent gigs section and I immediately received an email saying that my ad wasn't allowed and they refunded my $3. I just checked the Des Moines CL (I'm in Iowa) and there were absolutely no ads from photographers seeking models. There used to be several ads like that six or seven years ago.
 
i spent the $6 for a couple of months 'upgraded' membership at MM so i could contact models. super-free account doesnt let you obviously

sent messages to a dozen or more, offering to collaborate with them to do new headshots for them. im actually pretty good for shooting 'goseeums' as the agencies USED TO CALL photo test shoots back in the day...

one gal responded (her images were atrocious!) and even if i wasnt Peter Hurley with my results, they would have been more than 100% better than what she had. nope! didnt want to travel to meet up and shoot. shes' well over an hour away and i really wasnt interested in a 3+ hour trip for free pictures...

since you mention it though, i might just as well go browse!
 
All I can say is that Craigslist must be more lenient in big cities (for some unknown reason). The last time I tried to place an ad was in September of 2021. I received this email from CL when I attempted to post:

This posting has been removed.

Please do not use craigslist for this sort of posting.

A one-time courtesy refund request has been submitted.

Sincerely,

craigslist

I then sent them a message asking what terms I had violated and received no response. In the ad I mentioned glamour images of models wearing swimwear and lingerie. Nothing about nudity at all. I had previously tried to post an ad saying that I was just seeking models to use for my Model Mayhem portfolio, and I received the exact same response.
 
Yeah,
I live about 100 miles from Atlanta, GA and that might be the magic number to keep the Atlanta models from coming down to a rural photographer like me... They think, why should they drive hour and half each way for images when they can just find another photographer in that city. Going up to Atlanta isn't bad ; staying in Atlanta can be bad when you have to pay people to watch your car since gangs would break in and steal your gear while you are shooting, so you have to bring all of the gear out of the car, even the little USB cord since they think you may have left the phone inside the car.

I did find some FB groups that can be regional but they are more of a miss than a hit since there are a bunch of trolls bashing each other or just grandstanding. Plus models don't use FB as much as IG/TikTok since they are generating interest/ likes.
 
Perhaps meeting a model in an area that's near Atlanta but away from any dangerous areas could be an option.

Not sure what else to suggest considering your limitations.
 
does purple port cover USA, i was a member, deleted the account and just set up another, definitely works in UK
 
Shoot actual models. And do an outstanding job for them. Word will get around and you will be very busy fast with other models. Rep matters. I’ve not really bothered with MM.

jpeg - ig_sept 2021 model shoot_shot 1_01012.jpeg
 
Working with actual models helps a lot.

I’ve also sponsored model shoots for other photogs who wanted experience in studio and shooting models. These sessions were held once a month for a year. They were able to shoot 2 or 3 models a month with 2 or 3 looks and thoroughly enjoyed the experience working with real models.

The photographers also learned a bit about studio lighting.

Now I moved to Taiwan and am planning the same thing here with local models and photographers. I’ve already done a few model shoots here. Works so much better than MM.

If I can literally parachute into a country I’ve never been to before and do a model shoots, pretty much anyone can in their own city/state. “The shy salesman has skinny children…”

Here’s a shot of a Brazilian model recently taken in Taipei, Taiwan.
IMG_0115.jpeg
 
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All I can say is that Craigslist must be more lenient in big cities (for some unknown reason). The last time I tried to place an ad was in September of 2021. I received this email from CL when I attempted to post:
CL is not lenient at all, if they consider a posting paid or not to in anyway sexually related it goes bye bye.

Back when they had personals and shut that down it was explained since based on a new federal law they can be held civically liable for any damages resulting from a criminal action related to a post they have come down heavy on anything they consider to be a risk.

Post a ad you need labors for yard work no problem, post a ad you need female or male yard workers, post banned and don't even think about mentioning nudity for the yard work.
 
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