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I want to get good at portrait photography, but I don't have any subjects!
With nobody to photograph how am I supposed to get good? So I live alone and all my friends run when I pull out the camera. Lets get over that..

Should I put an ad on craigslist "need people to photograph for fun"? Should I go to the zoo and take pictures of people instead of the animals? I hate the look I get when people catch me taking pictures of them. I feel so guilty I erase the picture right away. Where do I find ready and willing models that are willing to learn with me?..

Comments (12)

See if you can offer your services to any local wedding photographers as a free assistant...

Comment #1

I think if you are in the very early stages of photography local wedding photographers are unlikely to be interested..

My interest is people too and in the past I've found it hard to find willing models. For me the only answer has been to rely on friends and friends of friends..

It also helps if you can produce images that the models will like themselves so they are getting something out of the situation too..

Once you have some attractive portraits that you can show people it becomes easier to attract new models. I find photography is very good way to find and make new friends..

I have recently put some of my portraits on flickr and it is easy to direct people to these as a way of getting them interested.http://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-bowers/.

Also I have some nice contact cards printed up which shows people you are serious.Hope my ideas are of some help.Michael..

Comment #2

I was referring more to mostly carrying gear helping gather people and observing, asking questions, etc. I've have used inexperienced people for that, even paid them a little...

Comment #3

I know where you're coming from. Although I don't live alone, I mostly have pictures of my kids with their backs turned. Some of those I keep anyway. The cat and dog also turn away. I think they have enough experience now to anticipate the flash and turn away...

Comment #4

I wish I could meet someone willing to let me help and I learn at same time:)..

Comment #5

How about hiring a model from a local agency? Someone relatively inexperienced would not be very expensive. A camera club I used to belong to did this two or three times a year; hired a couple of models for two hours and we practiced our dubious portraiture skills on them....

Best wishesMike..

Comment #6

Mike just gave you an answer to your problem but I'm not sure he knows that he hit the nail on the head..

Almost every city has at least one photography club. The one in this city is pretty big and has a couple of 30+ year pro's that belong to it. There's also a camera store owner, a university fine arts professor and some great amateur photographers that belong..

Usually these type clubs know all kinds of people who will pose for pictures and many of the members get their family or seniors type pictures done by other members...

Comment #7

The craigslist idea would probably work. Your ad could read something like "Aspiring portrait photographer looking for interesting people to photograph. Free photos for your time and participation." If you are interested in specific types, such as tattooed people, put that in the ad. A photo studio might rent you studio time during their non-busy time. It never hurts to ask. If you do the photographer assistant thing the studio availability would be a good benefit to ask about up front. Photographers often need help with sales, so if you have skills in that area be sure to mention it...

Comment #8

Depending on just exactly how much practice you need.....

Churches used to put out church directories. This involved getting a portrait shot of every family in the congregation. You may be able to find a couple of churches looking to go digital with their directories. Lots and lots of "volunteers" who aren't going to be at all picky about the results..

If you count animals as portraits, there isn't a shelter, rescue or SPCA that isn't looking for someone to keep the photos of their available animals up to date on their web site...

Comment #9

Yumology wrote:.

Should I put an ad on craigslist "need people to photograph for fun"?.

Be careful how you word things. It may give the wrong impression..

It is difficult starting out, you need photos to show people in order to get more photos in..

I have found word of mouth to be quite a good seller. I was recently at a retirement party, and was speaking with a work colleague, getting onto the subject of photography. She told me her daughter was going to start up modelling and acting, but needed some photos taken. I offered my services. We went to a local derelict abbey to take them..

The only expense a had was diesel, and the price of a CD that I put the photos onto. I didnt have to hire a studio or lighting etc. My wife helped with the reflector.Its chance meetings that can prove their worth..

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The hardest thing I found, was running out of ideas for poses..

I suggest that you look through as many portraites as you can and print them out, to concentrate on poses. and hand/arm/leg/body/head positions..

You could try weddings. Just go along on the day, and take the photos outside. Try to included as many of the party as well as the couple and family. If anyone approaches you, hand them a card with your details on..

You never know, the official photographer might completely mess the photos up, and they may come to you and buy some off you..

Everyone who has a wedding wants a photographer, and the official ones are extremely expensive. There is a market for 'cut price' photographers, like what you could offer..

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Comment #10

Wedding photography is extreemly difficult. Yes, there are folks on a budget who will like the idea of getting "semi-pro" for the price of amateur..

However, this is still their wedding day, and if the photos aren't to their liking the emotions of "their day being ruined" often supercede the fact of the original arangement. It's not for the feint of heart..

Those same churches that might want a digital directory may also be interested in some shots from weddings that happen there. You be in a position to shoot the same event - without the burden of being the "official" photographer...

Comment #11

TheMadTexan wrote:.

Wedding photography is extreemly difficult. Yes, there are folks ona budget who will like the idea of getting "semi-pro" for the priceof amateur..

However, this is still their wedding day, and if the photos aren't totheir liking the emotions of "their day being ruined" often supercedethe fact of the original arangement. It's not for the feint of heart..

Those same churches that might want a digital directory may also beinterested in some shots from weddings that happen there. You be ina position to shoot the same event - without the burden of being the"official" photographer..

Wedding photography is VERY difficult, I have done it and hated every second. No one does what you ask, and they always get impatiant and look away at the last minute (especially kids)..

Thats right about the digital directory, and also a good idea. You could stand along side (not literally) the main photographer as a 'back up'. That way, you wont have to think about what poses to do etc..

When I was saying about being the main photographer at a VERY reasonable rate. I was refering to possibly civil ceremonies or smaller occassions perhaps where they are getting on in years and have done the 'big wedding' already, and now re-marrying..

There is always a market for any type of photographer, as long as they know they get what they pay for..

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Comment #12

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