How To Find Models For A Photoshoot In A Small Town

how to find models in a small town
Find Models in a small town.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Finding models in a small town can be difficult. Specifically for those photographers who are introverts (like me). Here is a small list to help so you can stop racking your brain to find people for your small town photoshoot.

Use Your Friends

I know it seems simple, but a lot of photographers have a hard time thinking of their friends and family as models. Though it may not be exactly what you had in mind, it’s better to do what you need to in order to let your artistic vision out!


Im sure you are already following a few local models on instagram. A lot of time they will be happy to work with you, as long as you are engaging with their posts, and have a body of work to show.

Facebook Groups

There are plenty of local networking groups for photographers, models hmua ect. Just look up “yourcity+models” and you will be certain to find a group to network with.

Model Mayhem

Model Mayhem is very simple to work with. Just make your profile and upload your photos. Once your profiles is complete, just browse. You can sort by location, sex, compensation and much more!


Yes, it is still a little sketchy. You can still find people willing to work with you though. If you have tried these other methods and are still having trouble.. then maybe use Craigslist.

Find Models Everywhere

This is not a method I would really recommend. The idea behind this is discovery. You see a person in the supermarket, and just have to shoot with them! If you do this be sure to take care on your approach. You don’t want to come off creepy.

There are more problems photographers are faced with in the beginning. If you need help finding a location to take photos, check out this article I wrote with that specifically in mind!

Take Better Photos Instantly

Take Better Photos

Nothing is more frustrating than being a beginner photographer, knowing your photos suck, but not knowing why. I decided to do a little experiment, and put myself into the shoes of a beginner, to figure out a few things you can do to take better photos instantly!

My Process

Starting out I wanted to make sure to get into the mind of a beginner photographer. Then I would then go step by step to figure out how to take better photos. I started by taking what is essentially a snapshot of the subject. I then gauged where I need to go from there

Improve your photography
A Test Shot

Starting To Take Better Photos

Looking at the photo I snapped I could see a few things right off the bat. The first thing I wanted to do was to get a proper exposure. In this case, rather than trying to dial in my settings for the ambient light, I instead added off camera flash to the scene.

Take Better Photos
Getting Better Exposure

Lighting The Subject and Background Separately

Once I had a better exposure I didn’t like how flat my image was and needed to add some dimension. To achieve this I decided to light the subject and background separately. This was the best decision for me because I wanted the background as dark as possible anyway.

To achieve this I moved my light source closer to my subject, and feathered it away from the background. I added no extra lights for the background.

Take Better Photos
Lighting Separately

Distance Your Subject From The Background

Another great way to add dimension to a photo is to actually physically add space. For me, this was necessary not only for dimension, but to help control the light bleed onto the background. If not for the light however, Adding distance can help with depth of field, just allow for less compressed space at tighter angles.

Take Better Photos
Adding Distance between the subject and background.

Play With Light Modifiers

Different light modifiers will give a different look and feel to your image. If in doubt you can use soft light, which will almost always make a pretty image. I was using soft light with my shoot through umbrellas, but decided that I liked direct flash a little better for my taste. Don’t be afraid to play until you get the look that you want.

Getting Better

Post Processing to Take Better Photos

In 99% of cases, an image out of camera is not as good as it could be. Post processing helps with that a lot. It could be as simple as adding a little bit of sharpening and contrast, to something as complicated as a full retouch. My images leaned toward retouch, sharpening (over sharpening) and a black and white adjustment. The edit was much more involved but for our purposes today, all we need to know is that the image would have been better with sharpening and contrast. If you don’t have photoshop or lightroom, the software GIMP has a lot of the same functionality of photoshop.

Take Better Photos
A finished image

In Summary To Take Better Photos

Obviously how good a photo is, is subjective. If you like your photos then that is great! Just keep taking photos and you will improve. If you’re looking for cool locations to add visual interest to your shots, I have a blog post that will show you how to find locations.

How to take better photos instantly

  1. Light The Subject and Background Separately

    To achieve this I moved my light source closer to my subject, and feathered it away from the background. because I wanted my background dark,I added no extra lights to it.

  2. Distance Your Subject From The Background

    Move the subject away from the background. This also helps to add dimension in your photos.

  3. Play With Light Modifiers

    Use bounce, diffusion and direct light. Try different things until you find something that is visually interesting to you.

  4. Post Processing

    99% of photos will benefit from some fort of post processing. Even as little as adding sharpening can make an image leagues better. If you don’t have photoshop you can use GIMP as an alternative.

Photography Locations: 5 Ways to Find Them

Photography locations can be hard to find. We all see awesome photographers taking awesome photos in awesome locations. That’s awesome! Now how do I do that? Every photographer struggles with finding their favorite locations. But I’m here to help.
Here are 5 ways to find photography locations.


Shothotspot is a website that uses data from sites like Instagram and Flickr to find out where the cool locations are to shoot photos. You can search for a city or town, and sort through locations by they type of location you are looking for. There are even shots shown from instagram to let you see some of the photos that are already being taken there.


Exploring to Find Photography Locations

Ok, so it isn’t glamorous but it is the oldest and most trustworthy method. Often we forget we can still go out and find our own photography locations. It isn’t “easy”, but if you like to get lost and discover things for yourself, this could be the most fun method.

Image at Eden Park for demonstrating how to find photography locations

Google Earth

From low-tech to high-tech. This one is fun. On Google Earth you can look for your city and sometimes the type of location you want (e.g. Cincinnati parks). Then you can fly around with the camera and look at thing from different angles. It isn’t perfect but can give you a decent idea of what things will look like.

Google Earth for Photography Locations

Facebook Photography Groups

I love Facebook groups! Not only can the people in the group help find photography locations, but they can also help with pretty much any other question you have. In my experience they have been very helpful. They have even sent me a webpage they have already compiled of photography location so look for a photography group in your area!

Facebook for photography locations

Instagram for Finding Photography Locations

Instagram has great way to tag location. Most people do it so if you see a photo you like check the location tag. And don’t be afraid to ask the photographer where they took the photo.

Instagram Location Tag for photography locations

There are plenty of ways to find locations. My suggestion is to use shothotspot and Facebook groups. Use them to find your location and then use them to help others find cool places too!

If you have any other ways to find cool locations please write them in the comments. I would love to know. Check out my post on how to take better photos instantly!