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Secrets of Finding 
Glamour Models
by Joe Farace

"Where DO you find models? (Of course, I'm hopeful it will become the subject of a future article, as I'm an avid Vivid Light fan.)" 

That's a recent question from a reader and one that I get asked lot. Finding glamour models is as easy or difficult as you want to make it. If you work at it methodically and consistently, you will discover that really good models will find you. Since you asked, Thurman, here are all of my secrets.


How did I find Zoe? 

I didn't discover her, she found me and if you follow the suggestions in this-and next month's-installment, you will discover that models like her will find you too. 

Captured with Canon EOS D60 set at ISO 400, Canon 135SF 2.8 lens at f/5.6 with 1/60th of a second using only natural light coming through my back door and (maybe) a reflector at stage left. 

For readers of last month's column, that's my dining room in the background.

Secret Number 1 
Be a Pro. You must be honest, professional, ethical, and above reproach in all of your dealings with glamour models, beginning with the initial telephone, e-mail, and every other contact and photo session thereafter. You must show by your actions, not your words, that you are a professional and treat her in a respectful manner.

Secret Number 2 
Build a portfolio. In order to find models, you should put together a print portfolio and keep it up to date. Go to an art supply store and get the classiest one you can afford, even if it's the cheapest one they have. Try to avoid the ubiquitous 8x10 format and get a 9x12 portfolio at a minimum; 11x14 is even better. My portfolio is 11x17 and it elicits wows from models mainly because they don't usually see portfolio prints that large. Only show your best work even if initially there's not a lot of it. Don't fill up all of the pages the book but be sure to add a new image after each session so the portfolio stays fresh. When the pages are full, edit the number of photographs so they blend together showing your newest work and your style. All this doesn't have to cost a lot of money. The use of ink jet prints made on nice paper is more than adequate, especially when placed inside clear plastic pages. Epson Photo Quality ink-jet paper has a nice smooth surface, makes great looking prints and is inexpensive. My portfolio prints are produced on an old Epson Stylus Photo 1280 that's been around the block a few times and still works great.

Black & White 

Leslie was a 19-year old aspiring model when she called. At this point in her modeling career she had never even worn lipstick. A local modeling agency referred her to me for a test shoot and I was impressed by her attitude and style. 

This is one of the first images that I made of her at a nearby park. The image was originally in color and converted to monochrome with Adobe Photoshop. 

Captured with a Canon EOS D60 set at ISO 100, EF 28-105mm zoom at f/5.6 with 1/60th of a second using natural light and fill flash from a Canon 420EX.

Secret Number 3 
Work with Agencies. Contact every modeling agency in your town and tell them you will provide free or low cost test shoots for new and aspiring models. Not many modeling agencies are not interested in glamour images, but more than a few of their models are, so use the pre-interview form I mentioned in Volume 28 to find out what the model is really interested in before a shoot. I supply new models with a CD-ROM of all images made during the test shoot (only.) They can take the CD to anyplace that has a Fuji Frontier minilab and get inexpensive prints made for their portfolios. Some photographers only provide a few, edited images from test shoots like this, but I like give them everything because it's a more of a fair trade, and they are more likely to want to shoot with you again.

Yup, it's Real Snow! 

One of the best models I ever found actually found me though one of the many on-line glamour model websites. 

I posted a request for models 19-29 years of age and Dawn of the Rockies e-mailed asking if I had anything against models over 30! I invited her to a test shoot and over the years I have come to know and respect her not just as a model, but also as a wonderful human being. In addition to having a curvy, voluptuous body and a wonderful attitude, Dawn is adventurous enough to try shooting nudes after a three-foot Colorado spring snowstorm. Visit her website for more photographs of this amazing model. 

Image captured with Canon EOS D60 set at ISO 400, Canon EF28-105mm lens set on 30mm at f/16 with 1/125th of a second using natural light and a Canon 420EX flash.

Secret Number 4
Surf the Internet. There are many different modeling websites on the World Wide Web that let photographers and models post images and notices on a visitor's forum. These sites vary in effectiveness depending on where you're located in the country. People in populous states such as California and Texas seem to do well finding models using the Internet, while other states, including Colorado where I live, don't do as well. But my overwhelmingly positive experience with Dawn of the Rockies tells me its worth the effort. Use these sites as part of an overall approach to finding glamour models, but don't count on them as a major source.

A Playboy Playmate

Yes, Heather Carolin was the April 2002 Playmate-of-the-Month and I photographed her last year on a movie set in Phoenix, Arizona. How? That's the topic of part III of this series of articles on finding models. Captured with Canon EOS D60 set at ISO 200, Canon EF28-105mm lens set on 28mm at f/7.1 with 1/125th of a second using natural light and fill from a Canon 420EX flash.


To be continued next month...


Joe Farace is Colorado-based photographer/writer who has written or edited 24 books, many of which are is available through But it's not all glamour. Be sure to visit to see Joe's automotive work.

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