How to Get Into Model and Fashion Photography

How to Get Into Model and Fashion Photography


Written by portrait photographer Nicholas Moegly.


This article will cover some of the resources and simple steps that will help you get into modeling and fashion photography. Like most types of photography, it’s all about creating your network and niche.

Step 1: You Have to Start Somewhere

Lets be honest, no model or agency is going to hire you if you don’t have any modeling or fashion pieces in your portfolio. You have to start somewhere, so find some friends who are up for modeling for you and hone your skills practicing with them. When you’re just starting you’ll most likely do a lot of shoots for free, but focus on getting in as much good work as possible and it will pay off down the road. If your friends are happy with your photos, they’ll most likely show their friends and as well as put them on Facebook and other social sites, which will only help in getting you exposure.


Step 2: Start Working with Real Models

After working with several friends, you should at least have a handful of shots that you’re happy with, now it’s time to move onto working with some real models and designers.

One way is to join Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem is a social networking site for models, photographers, make up artists, fashion designers, and agencies. Every user has a profile of their work, and you can easily search for models and designers in your area. Create a profile and post only your best photos. Models, agencies, and publications will post casting calls that you can respond to, and you can even create your own casting calls to look for people in your area.

There are many different skill levels on the site, so if you’re still learning you can team up with others that are new to the industry as well. What and if you charge for shoots will all depend on your skill level and portfolio. Some models will charge you to photograph them, some photographers will charge models and designers for a shoot, and some will do a trade so that you can help each other better your portfolios. Find models in your area you’d like to work with and most likely they’ll find you as well. Use this site to build a network of people and relationships, because gaining attention from other models, designers, and agencies is exactly what you want.

Another way to find more serious work is by reaching out to local privately owned clothing and apparel stores. Many of these smaller stores will either have custom clothing or carry merchandise from smaller suppliers and may not have promotional photography or photos of their merchandise. This is a good way to get into the fashion side of photography because clothing companies want to see that you can make their merchandise look great. It doesn’t matter how small the company or store you start shooting for is, it’s all about the shots you get from it that you can take to the next store or company.


Step 3: Make it Easy to Find Yourself

Once you have an impressive portfolio and have worked with several models and designers you’ll find that people will start coming to you. Just like anything else in this world, when someone sees that their friend has something nice, they will want it too. When the people you’ve worked with post your photos on their social sites and catalogs, their friends and acquaintances in the industry may want to work with you too. Make sure those people that want to work with you can find you easily by having an online portfolio, facebook, twitter etc…


Step 4: Don’t Stop Now

Now you have a great portfolio, models and designers that want to work with you, and a social network of people in the industry. From here you can decided whether to work freelance or submit your portfolio to agencies, publications, designers, studios etc… No matter what you decided, always keep shooting. A stagnant portfolio isn’t appealing to anyone, so keep adding and growing yours while you grow your network as well.

All photos used in this post © Nicholas Moegly. Nicholas Moegly is a portrait photographer from Cincinnati, OH. View his work at

Read more from our category

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to dPS.
Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

Some Older Comments

  • Lorenzo August 19, 2013 06:13 pm

    Hi! I would also recommend, a social network for people into photography, take a look!

  • Leri Mikki May 15, 2013 11:30 am

    I loved reading this. If you want, please visit my personal website.

  • Neil Krahenbuhl November 3, 2012 08:00 pm

    This is a wonderful posting. I am about to take more time looking into this topic.

  • Michael Hughes August 17, 2012 02:05 am

    I particularly recommend contacting local shops. Not just fashion shops. Coffe shops, barbers, hair dressers even the local dentist and doctors all want prints for thier walls. The sublte copyright notice and weblink in the corner get interest in your work. Make sure make it clear that you are local - it surprised me how word of mouth soon had almost all our village shops having my work.

    The first few were free ( i even paid for the print / mount ). After that i covered my costs and it started to creep up since.

    It doesn't have to be a picture of teeth in a dentists !! they often want shots of local points of interest.

    show some examples, do local commissions for cost and people will appreciate and start to value you.

  • Gordon August 17, 2012 01:49 am

    Thanks for sharing this great article. The tip about approaching small retail stores was a great one.

    Would joining an advertising or modelling agency improve the chances of getting paid work, as opposed to going it alone. What about doing a bit of both? Does that dilute your marketing strategy or is it good to diversify in this way?

    I posted a similar question on one of the related posts, but that was from 3 years ago so this one might have a different audience.

    Any practical advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

  • Marcus Davis August 9, 2012 06:34 am

    Agreed, well written and very informative article. Thank you for the link to Model Mahem; a resource I probably would not have found on my own.

    Also, George Bailey, that is a great idea. As a beginner photographer, working with someone who is used to being in front of a camera will help me with what and how to ask them to do something.

    Thank you again for the tips!

  • Dewan Demmer August 7, 2012 11:55 pm

    The simple instructions are always the best to follow, take each step and keep moving forward.

    I am working on my portrait portfolio and I feel I have a way to go before its where I want it to be.

  • Penelope August 7, 2012 11:37 am

    Greay resource of info, I never would have known how to go about it.

  • George Bailey August 7, 2012 12:55 am

    These a really helpful hints -
    What I wanted to add is that beginners shouldn't be afraid of hiring pro models for a shoot -
    it does cost money, but if a model is really professional, an hour of shooting can bring you so much experience, that it will definitely pay back in future. And you will get 2x profit - pictures of an amazing model AND experience of working with a pro - a pleasant and helpful combination :)
    But beware - not all of them who charge you are really worth it - be selective :)

  • Neupane Binoyd August 6, 2012 01:41 pm

    Really inspiring post . Thanks alot for giving alot of knowledge

  • louis dallara August 6, 2012 07:44 am

    Great article, great outline of the steps

  • louis kassana August 5, 2012 06:43 pm

    That was really inspiring for us upcoming photographers .

  • Kenneth Rivera August 5, 2012 01:33 am

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.