Tips for Photographing Local Models While Traveling

Tips for Photographing Local Models While Traveling

Traveling and photography are a perfect match. It’s so fun to photograph in a new place. Yet, for portrait photographers, locating models while abroad can be a challenge. There's nothing more disheartening than finding yourself in an incredible place with no one to photograph. Here are some tips for finding models while you travel!

Barcelona is an insanely beautiful city celebrated for its stunning coastal views and exceptional architecture. It's a unique blend of antiquity and contemporary urban charm, offering a perfect balance between city life and vacation vibes, with the beach just a stone's throw away. So, it was very important to me that I capture some portraits while I was there.

During my trip, I was able to photograph several amazing models in this dreamy city, and it made my trip that much more amazing. Photographing local models brought a level of creativity, authenticity, and friendship to my trip that I hadn’t anticipated. I highly recommend finding local models to work with whenever you travel. 

Here are effective ways to make that happen:

1. Utilize Instagram

Explore popular model hashtags for whatever city you happen to be in. I used hashtags like #BarcelonaModel, #BarcelonaPhotographer, and #BarcelonaFotografo to discover models in the area. If you have a substantial Instagram following, announce in your stories that you're seeking models in a specific city. Encourage interested individuals to DM you with photos and a brief introduction.

2. Leverage Online Modeling Platforms

Platforms like Model Mayhem are valuable for finding models in different cities or countries. Create a profile showcasing your portfolio to establish credibility. Then, search for models and makeup artists in your desired location.

3. Contact Local Agencies

For a more professional approach, reach out to local modeling agencies via email. Explain the nature of your planned shoot and the type of model you are looking for. Agencies can assist in pairing you with the perfect model, considering your shoot requirements. Be aware that model fees vary based on factors like experience, shoot type, and demand.

During my Barcelona trip, I used Instagram and Model Mayhem. Browsing Barcelona-related hashtags led me to models whose profiles I scrutinized to ensure past modeling experience before reaching out via DM.

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

My approach involved introducing myself and expressing interest in collaborating for a specific shoot while sharing a link to my website. I also inquired about their rates or the possibility of a print exchange. Not everyone responded, so I definitely recommend reaching out to more people than you need. Here is an example message:

Hey! I’m ___(Name)___. I am going to be in ___(location)___ for the week and am looking for models to photograph for a ___(type of shoot)____ shoot. I love your look and think you’d be perfect for the shoot. Would you be interested in modeling? Here is a link to my website so you can explore my work. What is your rate? I’d also be happy to trade for prints if you prefer.

I also used Model Mayhem to specifically search for models in Barcelona. This website is pretty cool because it allows models to showcase their portfolio, so you can see a variety of past shoots they’ve done. It also makes it very clear what their rates are for different types of shoots and whether or not they are willing to trade for prints. The model I found on model Mayhem was amazing and even helped me find the perfect location for the shoot.

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

It is very important to remember that caution is crucial when photographing in another country with unfamiliar individuals. Consider bringing someone along for safety, or opt for public shoot locations to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.

Capturing images with models from other countries can be a really interesting experience, often accompanied by language barriers. While in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to photograph a recently relocated Russian model. Our communication mainly relied on broken Spanish due to our lack of a shared language—she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Russian. Surprisingly, this language challenge brought an intriguing layer to the shoot, highlighting how photography transcends language barriers. Despite our language differences, we had such an amazing time photographing together and produced some really great images.

Photographing local models during my trip to Barcelona was one of the highlights of my trip. I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you have a fun trip planned. 

If you have any other tips for finding models in different countries, drop them in the comments!!
Jada Parrish's picture

Jada is a photographer and director specializing in conceptual portraits. Her work is known for its bold, colorful, and surreal style. Her creative style of portraiture lends itself nicely to work in both fashion and the music industry. She is one half of the creative duo Jada + David.

Log in or register to post comments