Model Mayhem has long been the double edged sword that many of us starting in fashion photography have to deal with. How do you find talent and put together your team when you first start? Finding those resources and assets is difficult and the idea of having a database of people looking to do the same thing you are is brilliant, but the go to source for that is slightly less than brilliant. Model Mayhem requires that you put together and add a portfolio before getting started, but the vetting process is very much lacking. Those of you, especially photographers know the often agonizing process of finding good talent through MM. Especially for those of you, like myself, who live outside of the major fashion markets. We now – finally – have an alternative in the new service, Portbox. I have been fortunate enough to take a look at the new site and speak with its inceptor, Joseph Evans.
What Portbox aims to do is put professional freelance models in front of professional photographers. Listening to Joseph describe his experience with putting together a team and finding models for shoots was like deja vu, completely mirroring my experiences.
As a professional freelance photographer, finding the right model/s and organizing a photo shoot project had become an overly complex/convoluted process with a lot of loose ends. There was no centralized communication channel to help you locate, communicate and ultimately, book a professional freelance model. The process usually includes searching modeling/social networks, calling, texting, emailing models/agents; to find the right person. But once you’ave found someone, it can take days or weeks to coordinate schedules and photo shoot details; potentially leading to frequent scheduling conflicts and valuable time wasted.
After years of being frustrated with the lack of dedicated tools to help streamline the booking process; I set out to improve the way freelance photographers find, communicate and collaborate with models.
view of the Portbox homepage.
So What is Portbox?
Portbox is more than a collection of portfolios for you to spend hours sifting through to then be limited to sending out 5 messages to see who may be available or even who may even be still using the service. Its an interactive booking service, that allows you to privately see the schedules of those on the site. Photographer and Models will be able to share their calendars and offer jobs to those who are available.
"Portbox is much more than a limited portfolio hosting website, its an all-in-one solution for modeling photography professionals. Portbox hosts your portfolio, booking calendar and email all within one platform. We think of it as the modeling network 2.0."
Another spin on Portbox that models will love, is that their is no "Inbox" photographers must actually send an offer for a job or shoot that exists in order to make contact. This protects the models from photogs just trying to say "hi" or "girl you so sexy", which may sound funny, but its this sort of things that detracts legitimate models from other like services.
I asked the creator of Portbox, Joseph Evans, where he sees Portbox going in the future.
"We envision Portbox becoming a very strong brand and the premiere destination for booking professionals in the modeling photography/fashion industry."
Only time will tell if Portbox will be able to find its place in our community, but I for one am ecstatic at the possibility of a better alternative to like sites that I hate but can't stay away from.
sample view of a Portbox profile.