Having selected your studio and familiarised yourself with the layout, you have to find a model. Your partner, a friend or relative may be happy to pose for you, but if you are looking for someone more experienced (who can strike a pose while you look after lighting and framing), then local model agencies are a good place to start. Some of these agencies are committed to taking money from wannabe models and giving nothing in return, but the more reputable ones can supply you with experienced and talented models to help you in your shoot.
If that exceeds your budget, then there are websites that serve as meeting places for models and photographers. The more popular of these are purpleport.com, modelmayhem.com and purestorm.com. Choose carefully on these sites, and check references, as some of the models are not reliable and are just looking to make a quick buck.
Generally a model is paid by the hour, and rates depend on experience and levels of work (for nude models you can expect to pay £40 per hour or more, while for clothed it may only be £15). As you develop more talent, then you may find that models will work for free, but in return for some of the photos from the shoot (often called time for prints or TFP). Eventually, you may reach a standard when models pay you for the privilege of working with you and getting some photos for their portfolio.
When working with a model, always be respectful of them. Never ask them to do a pose with which they are uncomfortable. Never mix business with pleasure by asking them on a date. Try to keep the atmosphere light by chatting and joking with them, but don’t flirt. The best photos will come from a shoot where you and the model “click” and get along well. Avoid physical contact with the model. If it is absolutely necessary to touch them, explain why and ask permission before doing so.
Don’t be afraid to tell the model that it is your first studio shoot – we have all been there when we started an it will help to break the ice.