How to Find the Right Models for Your Fashion BrandMay 8, 2017 by Lina Vashurina,
Ever considered hiring models for your fashion store? Now might be the time to do so.
The reason: In comparison to standalone product photos or display mannequins, images that include models (that look like your target demographic) provide some important context and visual information within the fashion niche that you simply can’t achieve any other way.
And research proves that this is effective: Data from
Hiring models can be much more affordable than you might think, too: Working with amateur models, you can still keep costs low while still creating powerful images that drive sales for your store.
In this post, we’ll explore your options for models, how to find the right ones to represent your brand, where to look for models and some options for shooting these new photos to add to your fashion store.
You Don’t Have to Use the Traditional Model Anymore
Before you start your search, let’s take a moment to talk about models. Traditionally, many people have thought of models as tall, rail skinny people with high cheekbones and perfect abs.
But is this an accurate representation of the average person who shops at your fashion store? In most cases, the answer is probably no. Your customers come in all shapes, sizes, and
Other fashion stores have taken this approach with fantastic results. ModCloth actually pulls from its customer base when hiring models, which has resulted in more inclusive marketing materials and product photos. Shoppers see themselves in the models this fashion retailer uses.
Other retailers like Aerie have taken a similar approach: They tout that their model images are untouched (as in, not Photoshopped) and appear as they really are. This presents a powerful marketing opportunity for the brand and a way to build trust and respect with their customer base.
Diverse models who accurately represent your average customer make for stronger, more effective photos for your store. As you begin your quest to find the right models, remember to think beyond the traditional model perception.
Brands Getting on Board With Different Types of Models
Many brands are coming to realize that different types of models can be valuable assets to their brand, company mission, and in a
For example: Lane Bryant showcases women outside the size 0 realm in its ads for women’s clothing. Their campaign Plus Is Equal pivots on women with curves and how great they look in the brand’s clothing offerings.
In another example, fashion retailer BetaBrand created an ad campaign back in 2014 that featured only women with a Ph.D. to dispel the myth that models have to choose between brains and beauty. Today, they still use a variety of models in all shapes and sizes to reinforce their dedication to accurately representing their core audience.
And men aren’t excluded from these efforts, either.
Target is now working with male models for their Big and Tall collection to more accurately represent a sector of their shoppers in their product photos. Zach Miko is deemed a plus size male model who is proud to be the face of Target’s new efforts
Finding the Right Type of Model for Your Brand
Now let’s talk about what’s right for you and your brand.
We’ve discussed the importance of accurately representing your target demographic, but let’s take a bit of a deeper dive here to help pinpoint which models are going to be the best for your fashion store.
Take time to identify the specifics you’re looking for in a model. It’s not enough to say females between ages
- What ethnicities would you like to see represented
- Height specifications (Ex: If you’re selling petite clothing, you’ll want models in the
- Features: Models have different types of looks and faces. Describe the type of look you’re searching for such as ethereal or edgy as it relates to your lifestyle branding. Most of the time, you can play up this look with makeup and styling, as a Russian brand USTA K USTAM does.
It’s important to ensure your models can work with your shooting schedule so you can ensure consistency. Also find out whether or not they’d be available for future work, in case you want to use the same model(s) in more photos down the road (Ex: Spring, summer, winter shoots.)
Confidence shows in
Once you’ve defined what you’re looking for, it’s time to kick of the actual search.
Ways to Hire Your Models
You have several different options that will get your model search started. Choose one based on your needs, budget, and goals.
Agencies or websites
Keep in mind that this will be the most costly route, as many of these models book this type of work on a regular basis. You can expect to spend anywhere from
If you’re not comfortable finding and shooting model photos on your own, you can completely outsource it to a company like Shootright Studios that specializes in
Most of the time, you can find local amateur models who are much more affordable, as they are just getting started and may not be working professionally yet.
A quick local Google search can point you in the right direction, or you can ask around to other nearby fashion retailers and see how they found their models.
You can also look for local fashion bloggers via a site like Lookbook.nu to see if they’d be interested in partnering with you. This is a more
Another option is to pull from your social media reach and to put together a casting call for models.
Instagram is a great option for this, and by creating a custom hashtag for your search, you can easily browse through entries to find the models that are the perfect fit for your brand.
Bonus: This can also send some organic traffic your way, as followers see their friends entering the contest and posting their submissions within the activity feed.
Hiring a friend
If you have a friend that fits the look of your target demographic, see if they’d be willing to work with you as a model for a day or two.
You can pay them in free products, photos to include in a portfolio, or a rate that the two of you agree upon. With the existing connection, working with friends can be a good option because you feel comfortable around each
This is often by far the cheapest, most
Once you’ve decided which option is best for your budget and photo needs, the next part to think about is the photography and
Shooting Model Photos
A talented photographer can be even more important than a professional model. You have a few routes to consider when it comes to the actual photography phase of working with your models.
Taking your own photos is a
If you want to get more advanced, you might purchase some lighting equipment as
Basic tips for taking great model photos:
- Use natural light on a sunny day whenever possible
- Take many photos, and only use the best ones
- Have your model in a wide variety of poses
For example, Allure decided to photograph models only using an
Hire it out
If you’re not comfortable behind the camera, consider hiring a beginner or more established photographer who can shoot and edit your photos. It’ll save you time and energy, but is more costly.
You can find photographers for hire by searching locally, using a freelance platform, or by finding out who similar brands used for their photos.
For example, Pursuit decided to hire out a photographer to shoot their clothing on models.
You can achieve impressive results with either option, but the one that’s best for you will depend on your budget.
Use Models, Create Great Photos
Regardless of who you select as models for your brand and if you have them professionally photographed or not, adding this human element into your product photography is a wise move. Your customers will be better able to judge how your items will look in person, and they’ll spend less time
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