How to Book the Right Model for a Wedding Campaign Shoot

When starting out as a wedding photographer, family and friends are often subjects of our shoots, but this is not always possible and not wishing to test their patience, there comes a time when you need to look elsewhere. Here is how to book the right model for a wedding campaign shoot that will keep things as simple as possible, whether you are looking to improve your portrait photography skills, experiment with new looks for your portfolio, or break into the wedding business.



Before hiring

Before you book a model, consider what you want to achieve and the budget you have available. Plan your wedding campaign shoot with as much detail as possible. This not only clarifies your intentions, but it helps explain to a model or agency what you are looking for. 

Wedding campaign shoots can encompass not only a couple’s wedding day, but also wedding renewal vows where the couple can celebrate a significant anniversary to mark either a milestone of years or to mark their overcoming a particularly challenging period in their marriage which has led them to reaffirm their commitment to each other. This will have a different focus to a wedding day, with a wide range of themes you can consider. 

Anniversary themes

Anniversary themes work well when considering the materials you want to use in your wedding campaign shoot. For each anniversary there are symbols to help choose wedding anniversary gifts from one year to the next.  These can also act as a template for your décor on the shoot, from paper for the first wedding anniversary, through bronze for eight, lace for thirteen and the most well-known being the 25th silver anniversary and the 50th gold anniversary.

Looking for a model

Having a plan for your wedding campaign shoot will not only save you time but also money as your focus will be to complete the pictures you want, rather than just taking random photographs over a couple of hours and potentially needing to rebook to get a finished product or portfolio. 

Social media

If the shoot is fairly informal or low budget, consider beginning the search using your social contacts. It is simple enough to ask your own friends directly, but you can also look further afield at friends of friends on social media. Be professional when making contact to confirm your mutual connection and be clear about your project and why you have made contact.  

Model agency

In an ideal world, you want to find a model with whom there is a potential for an ongoing professional relationship rather than just a single assignment.  If you are doing a shoot for an agency will want to see a portfolio of current work, even if you are new to wedding campaigns and have little to show in that genre. 

Know your model

If you are looking to book a model from an agency, they all provide shots and information about the models they represent on the internet, so you can browse the listings and find a model that fits your vision. Agencies are also happy to work with photographers to find models that complement the shoot they have planned.



Every model is different, with different rates, preferred contact methods and ‘levels’. Levels is the term used to state the styles of photography a model is comfortable modelling up to, these include straight fashion, lingerie, implied nude and nude etc. Once you understand the levels and have filtered out those unsuitable, you can now contact the model. 

Test shoots

Most model agencies will allow a model test shoot. This is where a model works for free in return for some excellent images for their portfolio. A test shoot can involve three to four different outfit changes that will demonstrate your ability and versatility. At the same time, it also demonstrates your professionalism in working with models, hair, makeup, and wardrobe.

Test shoot images

To book a model costs around AUD200 to AUD250 per hour with a two-hour minimum booking. However, it is possible to do a free photoshoot if you agree that the photographs can be used to benefit the model’s books as well as your own, known as a “test shoot”. There are also options for reduced rates for editorial work if the model will end up with proof of publication, in the business known as “magazine tear sheets”. 

Contact models

To reduce the chances of a model declining the shoot or failing to turn up, include key information about the shoot. Contact models as you would any other businessperson. Make it clear at the start whether this is a paid or test/free shoot. Include the date for the shoot, what it is going to involve and who is involved.


If you have any questions or would like more information, email [email protected] or call 02 8005 4388

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