Model Mayhem Guide for Photographers

Don't miss these 5 essential for success with Model Mayhem as a photographer. Get the most out of the FREE Model Mayhem plan with our guide.

Model Mayhem is an online community for models, actors, photographers, make-up artists, designers and stylists to create and organise various creative projects.

It’s also a fantastic resource for photographers who need to find amateur and professional models for photo shoots.

It’s free to use the Model Mayhem website – photographers can browse a huge database of models, stylists, retouchers and other artists in any location, then contact them or organise a casting call.

Models can notify photographers that they’re ready to work, or just respond to photography casting calls.

Using Model Mayhem as a photographer for the first time can be intimidating, but there are ways to get the most out of it to save time and guarantee success.

Here are our tips for succeeding with Model Mayhem in 2023.

(…and if you find it’s not for you, take a look at these Model Mayhem alternatives.)

5 Tips for Success with Model Mayhem

1. Search by Availability


For photographers of any level, collaborating with others and scheduling shoots can be challenging. It is often difficult to coordinate for a day that works well for everyone involved.

This feature makes that process a lot easier.

Using the Availability Notice feature, members can put out local casting calls for specific days and times. This reduces the search results pool by only showing results for the desired availability.

This saves a lot of time for photographers, since they will already know that all shown results are available at the specified times.

After you have refined your search, you can choose from a model, hair stylist, and other talent whose schedules you know will align with yours.

Of course, sometimes cancellations are unavoidable. Finding new models, makeup artists, or other creatives who can work with your schedule at the last-minute can feel stressful or nearly impossible.

By sending out casting calls using this digital feature, creatives can more easily find help to make the shoot work, even when unexpected, last-minute changes occur. Shoots can still go forward.

For the beginner and professional alike, this feature saves an immense amount of time. Not only does this make the process of finding people much easier, it also increases efficiency and eliminates a lot of stress for the photographer.

Knowing that there is an option to still go through with the original shoot, despite any changes, cancellations, or other unforeseen events would reduce anxiety for a lot of photographers – particularly for those who rely on paid shoots.

2. Search by Location

model mayhem map

Being able to organise your shoot from another country is a powerful feature of Model Mayhem.

Going on a trip? Moving to a new city?

Wherever you are, using Location Notice for casting calls can help you find the people you need for your shoot. This feature allows members to find each other no matter where they are in the world.

Search by location also helps you narrow down your choices for models, which can often make the selection process easier.

Searching by location is a game-changer for travelers or anyone who wants to shoot in a new environment or with new creatives. Suddenly, there will be unknown factors to consider like different weather, different culture, and different people in the area.

This is the best opportunity for photographers who want to work with new models. The more you travel, the more talent you will be able to meet and the bigger your business or portfolio will grow.

Having photographs with a variety of locations and models shows future collaborators and clients that you are flexible and have experience working in a variety of conditions and with a diverse body of work. Demonstrating this in your portfolio can definitely lead to more opportunities in the future.

Changing the location one of the best ways to step up your photography game and create new photos.

The website also has an interactive map which is used as a visual tool to direct your search for the models, stylists, and other people in the area you want for your project. Hover your cursor over different locations to see how many casting calls there are for each country.

Use the search by location settings to further refine your scouting endeavours.

3. Sponsor Your Casting Calls

sponsored casting calls

Putting a little money behind your casting call is a great way to cast the net wide and attract the right talent for your project.

If you have an idea for a project, you need to send out a request for a model, stylist, and anyone else you would like to have join in for the shoot. This is called a casting call.

Since Model Mayhem has over one million members, it’s very easy for your casting call to get lost, buried under similar requests. In that case, not as many models, makeup artists, hairstylists and other creative talent will see your post.

The solution? Sponsor your casting calls.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to expand your portfolio or a professional seeking paid work, send your casting calls to the top of the search results page so you have a better chance of getting noticed.

With so many members subscribed to the Model Mayhem website, it can be challenging to be distinguished from everyone else, especially as a beginner or a Model Mayhem newcomer. By using their pricing guide, you can make sure that you get the exposure you want and need while staying within your budget.

Sponsoring casting calls would give you the best chance of finding the perfect models and artists to use for your shoot. Whether you’re looking for a couple of fashion models or someone who will stay up late for those evening light shots, this is a strategy that will boost your casting call to the entire Mayhem Model community.

From $30 for 1 week to $75 for 3-4 week listings, Model Mayhem has affordable options that make sure all members have opportunities to succeed.

This feature is great for all skill levels and accommodates the different needs of the website’s vast community.

4. Choose the Right Models

search Model Mayhem members - rights reserved model mayhem

You can use various filters to narrow down your artist search – ideal for finding the perfect model for your photo shoot.

When working with models, there are a few things to consider.

First, search by location – this is an important step!

A model based in France most likely isn’t going to fly across the ocean for a TF compensation shoot, and on a smaller scale, some models aren’t always willing or able to drive hours away for a shoot; so, choose your location carefully.

Sometimes, you might have a specific look in mind for your shoot. For fashion shoots, photographers are often restricted in their model selection by clothing measurements.

The Advanced Search option allows you to refine your search and choose the exact details you’re looking for – anything from skin colour to eye colour, hair length to ethnicity, and height range to age range.

There are so many options! Once you’ve specialized your search filters, you will be able to look through their profiles and choose from the posted profiles you see.

While looking for a model, it’s a good idea to check out the reviews left on their profile to ensure that they are who they say they are. This can also help you get a better idea of what it’s like working with them.

You can search for verified credits from people who have worked with them before, but just remember that not every model has verified credits.

Always keep in mind that not all models are open to the same kinds of shoots. Be professional every time you speak with a person you are considering working with, and always explain your concept with the utmost detail so you both have a clear understanding of the concept.

This is particularly important with more sensitive shoots. If you are considering photographing a nude model, ALWAYS ask if they would be comfortable doing so.

Before confirming that you are going to work with a model, make sure you have read their profile carefully. Some people are not willing to do unpaid work, while others are happy to accept TF compensation.

Remember that more experienced models may have catwalk experience or know high-fashion poses, which can help keep your mind on the photography without having to use much direction.

In the end, the most important part of choosing your model is to communicate with them. You can exchange email addresses to write or numbers to text, if you choose to go to the next step.

Beyond that, just have fun working with new talent and enjoy the process.

5. Enter Contests

model mayhem contests - leave a reply to enter

Model Mayhem has an active community which hold frequent contests.

Entering a contest on Model Mayhem is a great way to gain exposure as both a beginner or a professional. It’s also a good way to challenge your creativity!

Often, photographers enter these for fun, to show off their best work, or to stimulate personal growth.

Like writer’s block, creativity blocks can happen to anyone at anytime. Contests are a great strategy to get out of that rut and push through.

Step out of your comfort zone and shoot a different genre of photography.

Love portraiture? Try photographing fashion.

Love calm, relaxed sessions? Try photographing an activity.

Try out a new lighting or posing technique that you’ve been wanting to do. Experiment with camera settings, switch up the place where you’re shooting, or ask for ideas from your makeup artist or model.

Collaborations with other creative individuals are a great way to shoot content for contests. They’re fun, and even if you don’t win, you still have some great pictures to add to your collection.

Sometimes, as a beginner photographer, it can be hard to know where to start or how to get your work out there. Contests are amazing for experimenting, building your portfolio, and building confidence.

Let your imagination run free and embrace the opportunity.

Model Mayhem Membership Plans

Model Mayhem membership plans

Thankfully the Basic plan offers plenty of free features to get you started with Model Mayhem.

Model Mayhem is an efficient website that brings together a variety of skill levels, from beginners to professionals, from stylists to models. What differentiates this website from others is its ability to connect talent from all over the world, fostering the collaboration of a more diverse array of creatives.

To join this unifying platform, you need to create an account.

Signing up is easy and straightforward – you can choose from three membership options: Basic, Premium, or VIP. Once you’ve made your account, remember that it takes a few days to be verified.

Basic Plan

The Basic plan is free and ideal for beginners. It offers all of the basic functions that you need when first starting out.

People with this plan can post 1 casting call each week, have up to 4 photo albums, and send unlimited messages to friends. Basic members can send up to 10 friend requests each day.

Want to join the community but not sure if you want to pay for your membership just yet? This is a great option for those who want to dip their toes into this platform to see what it’s all about.

Premium Plan

The Premium plan is optimized for those who are looking to network. At only $60 per year, is an affordable way to connect with others and get access to more of the Model Mayhem website.

Members with the Premium plan can send an impressive 25 friend requests per day. They can also send up to 100 out-of-network messages.

Networking is important! Out-of-network messages are when you send messages to people who aren’t on your friends list yet.

That feature increases your chances of building connections with new people, which in turn leads to more exposure and opportunities.

Premium members can post up to five casting calls each week. They also get to up to 100 portfolio images, 8 photo albums, and 3 searches.

This is a great middle-ground plan to use if you want to market more and increase your network.

VIP Plan

The VIP plan is ideal for professionals who know what they want and are looking to gain the most from the website.

This package is $100 a year, however, for only a little more than the Premium plan, this package unlocks endless potential.

This is ultimately a business investment that you can use to access every available Model Mayhem feature, including ad-free profiles, Casting and Travel Alerts, and coveted Homepage Features.

Thanks to the VIP plan, these members can also have up to 500 portfolio images, unlimited photo albums, Multi-Location Search Exposure, and so much more.

Model Mayhem is a professional site that’s easy to use and has options for every skill level and budget. It is absolutely worth the cost!

Whether you need a basic plan or a more advanced option, Model Mayhem offers people a variety of choices. Choose the best plan for your current needs and don’t worry about the rest- you can always upgrade your account later.

Staying Safe on Model Mayhem

Model Mayhem is known by many people as a reliable, trustworthy website. But it is always best for people to research how to stay safe when working with strangers, especially when you are planning to meet in new places.

After signing up, click on the Safety First link for their guide on how to stay safe and be protected from scams. As a precaution, let a friend know where you’re headed before meeting anyone new for a shoot.

If you are going to work with models you don’t know, it is important to always check their profiles and verified credits to make sure they are who they say they are. Not all models have verified credits, but it is still important to check each profile thoroughly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Model Mayhem account?

A Model Mayhem account allows users to gain access to more features within the website, including the option to upgrade membership plans. Keep in mind that it will take a few days for your account to get verified.

What does TF compensation mean?

TF compensation, or trade-for compensation, is when the photographer gives the model images as compensation, instead of payment. This is often a common practice for beginners who are looking to build their portfolios.

Do models pay photographers or do photographers pay models?

Generally, if a model is looking for a photographer, they pay the photographer. If a photographer is looking for a model(s), they pay the model(s).

Is there a Model Mayhem app?

Yes! You can currently download the Model Mayhem Android app on Google Play.

Final Words

With a little bit of planning, Model Mayhem can be an invaluable resource for photographers, models and all other genre of creative artist.

Being able to narrow down your search to specific criteria is incredibly useful when you have a specific talent in mind.

In addition, the ability to search for new creative partners in completely different countries can really broaden your horizons as a photographer.

Leave us a message in the comments below with your experiences with Model Mayhem, and I wish you all the luck with your next shoot!

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I am a passionate writer and travel photographer with an affinity for learning new languages; I currently speak English, French, and a little Italian.



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