Searching for a model can be frustrating for photographers who are planning a photoshoot. Finding models on Model Mayhem is a simple solution to this problem, but only if you know how Model Mayhem works. You’ll need to know the best way to connect with models who meet your specifications while avoiding common pitfalls. Our guide will walk you through the Model Mayhem process and explain how to address any issues that might arise.

Model Mayhem - Mame Anta by fabien Mir on


How to use Model Mayhem

Model Mayhem is a site that connects models with people who have both paid and unpaid work for them. Models can send out notices to let photographers and recruiters know they’re ready to work, or they can respond to casting calls.

As a photographer searching for models, you can look through their’ profiles on the platform to find the right fit for your project. They may have references, previous work examples, and sample images to help you make your decision. Once you connect with a model, it’s up to you to communicate your needs clearly, work out the model release, and ask any necessary questions to confirm their suitability.

Model Mayam - Ana by Valeria schettino on


Communication with Mayhem models

Your plan will determine how many casting messages, friend requests, and message folders you can use, and when. (See the full breakdown of membership benefits across the three plans — Basic, Premium, and VIP — here.)

When you do message with a potential model, provide some information about yourself. Explain why you’re doing this project and share your own qualifications. Offer to let them see your portfolio. Listen to any ideas they may have about your shoot (even if you already have a concrete plan, it will give you a clue about the kind of work they do). Keep your communications professional to set the tone for a professional working relationship.

Let them know what to expect from you in terms of workflow, turnaround, and method of payment. Make sure they know what they’re getting into, so there are no hiccups on the day of the shoot. You should be able to perform basic communication, including attaching some files for reference, in the Model Mayhem system before switching to email or phone communication.

Model Mayhem - Erika by Nicola Davide Furnari on


Setting up casting calls

To circulate information about your project, and get responses from models, send out a casting call. You can do this by selecting “Castings” from the menu at the top of Model Mayhem. Then enter the information about your project.

Model Mayhem - Matyouz of the House of LaDurée by Alejandro Santiago on


The number of casting calls you’re allowed per week depends on your Model Mayhem plan. The Basic plan comes with only one casting call per week, while Premium comes with five, and VIP comes with 10. Models will probably narrow down their searches, so a detailed casting call has a higher likelihood of getting responses that are a good fit.

Use specific information in your title
Include the type of model and shoot, as well as any location and date info.

Add keywords in your description
It will help models find you in a search.

Be clear about deal breakers
If there can be no tattoos, piercings, etc. then state that right away.

Include payment information
If the shoot is unpaid, mark it as TF or Unpaid Test. If there will be compensation, mark it as Paid. If you include a number in the rate (which you should if you can), note whether the number is hourly, daily, or in total.

Model Mayhem -white by Renat Renee-Ell on


Staying safe on Model Mayhem

One of the biggest draws of Model Mayhem is its reputation for safe collaborations. However, take precautions any time you are working with internet strangers. The most important thing is to know that the person you’re working with is who they say they are. You can confirm this in the ways highlighted below.

Check references

A model’s work history should tell you a lot about how successful your collaboration will be. Checking references may seem like a hassle, but it’s the best way to hear firsthand about what to expect from your model. Look in their Credit Notes for more information, including collaborations they’ve done outside of Model Mayhem. If you don’t see helpful information on Model Mayhem, you can look at their other online presence as well.

When you do make contact with a reference, ask about the model’s professionalism, what type of work they’ve done, and what impact their participation had on the project as a whole.

Look for Verified Credits

As you’re searching for references, you may see some models with Verified Credits. This means the model has worked with another Model Mayhem member, who confirmed their collaboration. A Verified Credit will show you, right there in the platform, definite experience the model has under their belt.

Make sure someone knows where you are

When you meet with a model for the first time, especially if you’re meeting alone, make sure someone knows where you’ll be. Tell them how long you’ll be there and make plans to text or call at a certain time afterward.

Don’t neglect your paperwork

Model Mayhem is a way to connect, not a CRM. You’ll need to work out a contract and model release on your own, along with a way to pay your model (or exchange images, if you are doing a Time for Print agreement).

Know when something isn’t right

If your spidey sense starts tingling, listen to it. Don’t give away personal or financial information that you aren’t comfortable with and only click third-party links that you know, for sure, are safe. Lastly, don’t communicate with someone claiming to be from Model Mayhem if you suspect they are lying. Model Mayhem will always contact you via an email address, and they will never email you asking for a username or password.

Finding models on Model Mayhem is not difficult once you know the process and what to look out for. Once you’ve found the right model for your project, read more about working with models here on the 500px blog to ensure that your collaboration goes smoothly from that point on.

The Power of Communication on a Photo Shoot
5 Best Practices for Getting a Model Release
-10 Tips for Working with Models

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