Pplanning to launch a major new advertising or marketing campaign for your hotel?

It’s likely that you’ll need new photography. And it’s also likely that you’ll consider using models, or ‘talent’ as the industry lingo goes. If that’s the case, then holding a casting call for your talent will be one of the first actions to prepare for your shoot. Here are our top tips for selecting the best talent for your campaign on the day!

Tip 1: Write a good brief

First step – write a good brief. Then, when you contact talent agencies, they’ll have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.

Your brief can include:

  • how many models you’re looking to hire
  • the age range of the models you require
  • if you’re looking for male or female models – or both
  • whether the models should have a specific look – blond, freckles, short, tall, Caucasian, Asian, no body are, piercing etc,
  • any family combinations or relationship combinations such as boyfriend and girlfriend, boss and associate, team members / peers etc.
  • date details
  • location of the shoot
  • duration of the shoot

The agency will also want to know how you plan to use the images from your shoot and will ask you

  • if the imagery will be used for all media including print, online and outdoor
  • how long you’d like the licences to run for – 12 months, 24 months, etc

Tip 2: Send out your briefs to talent agencies

Talent agencies showcase their talent on their websites – go there first to browse head shots. This will help you to narrow down a short list of options. Show your selection to a manager or some of your team  – it’s helpful to get this kind of initial feedback so you don’t waste time calling out talent that won’t be approved.

How many agencies should you use?

Submit your brief to multiple talent agencies. Most are happy to send all of their appropriate talent out on casting calls and anticipate that there will be other agencies also sending talent.

Casting Call tips and tricks - The Hotel Photographer

Casting call tips

Tip 3: Book a venue for your casting call

Book a space – possibly one or two conference rooms or meeting rooms in which to hold your casting call.

Casting calls are usually held for a few hours. This allows models to attend between other appointments and casting calls. If you are able to extend yours for longer, you’ll be able to choose from a wider selection.

Inform your front office or reception team of your casting call so they can direct models to the right place. Outside of the room you’ve booked you should also provide a waiting area for talent to wait until you’re ready to meet them.

How to make the most of your casting call - The Hotel Photographer

Tip 4: Have a camera on hand

Models will all come equipped with their folio and a calling card of their own.

Remember when looking through folios that these images were taken on previous photo shoots, when they’ve already had extensive hair and makeup, and have been groomed by a stylist.

Additionally, whilst some models look incredible with severe styling and wearing couture, they may not pull off a ‘Sunday casual’ look quite so easily.

Other models are the opposite, and can look their best with very little makeup, but then struggle if the shoot requires edgy poses and styling.

When a model attends a casting call they will come in casual clothes with no make-up on. Get some snaps of the talent in their ‘blank canvas’ state. Show these to your own stylist and hair and makeup people and get their thoughts on whether that individual will be able to be worked up into the kind of look you’re going for.

Using  more than one model? Get a few shots of them together. It’s important that they have the right chemistry and look, and you’re confident that they’ll work together.

Tip 5: Look for Professionalism

As well as having the right ‘look’, personality and professionalism are also importance.

If they are energetic, open to guidance, and want to know about your brand and ask questions about what you’re looking to get out of the shoot, you’re on the right track.

You want talent who are going to give their best on the job, and who will also be courteous, timely, efficient, and capable of lasting throughout shoots which can often be long and tiring.

Nearly there! 

When you have selected your preferred talent, agencies will then cost up a quote for you -this will include the day rate or hourly rate of the model’s fee, (models fees will vary from one to the next)  rates for travel time and the license costs to use the images in your marketing material.

Once you have approved both the quotes and the preferred talent, you are then able to move onto planning, styling and delivering your shoot. Good Luck!