Pros and Cons of Modeling Sites: Model Mayhem

When you are looking for models online, there are two major sites to find them: Model Mayhem and One Model Place. Both of these sites offer similar features. You can create your own portfolio of images, add some text explaining who you are and what you do. You can search for models – or photographers if you are a model – and message them to set up shoots.

This week I’m giving the pros and cons of the most popular of the two biggest sites….

Model Mayhem

I still think of MM as the new kid on the block. It hasn’t been around as long as OMP, but it seems to be dominant now. I know lots of photographers who used to spend all their time on OMP who don’t even have memberships there anymore. I know a few who won’t go near it because they consider it more immature – both technically and emotionally.


It’s a social network. MM is the myspace/facebook of models and photographers. You create a profile and then friend people, just like on MS and FB. You have a top 12 friends. You can tag/comment on a profile.

You know if your message gets read.
Unlike OMP, MM is set up so in order to read a message sent to you, you must log in. When you do, and view the message, it is marked read. This means when I contact a model, I know if she read the message. And she knows when I read hers. This can be annoying, but is usually helpful.

Models to tell me some photographers get pissed and send another message if they didn’t get a response after seeing she read it. Don’t do this photogs, its poor form and ineffective.

Strong Community. MM seems to have a very strong community, possibly because of its social network features. The forums seem to be very active despite a horrible UI. There is lots of tagging and picture commenting as well.

It’s Big. The reason these two sites are the only ones I use is because it takes time to keep a profile up, and therefore you only want to use the ones that give you a return on that investment. MM seems to do that best. It seems to have more new members and more active ones.


It’s sslloowww. Not everything is sweetness and light in the world of Model Mayhem. MM has grown very fast and the management hasn’t been able to keep up. They occasionally move from server to server, and all of the images are now hosted off their servers, but is still very slow and occasionally just goes down.

When this happens you get to see the dark side of community with a bunch of bitching and moaning. In a way I understand it, but I also wonder what bitchers expect to accomplish.

Whiner: “I’ll never pay to be a VIP if the site goes down all the time”
Me, thinking: “You didn’t pay, so why do you expect them to listen to you? Maybe if you had they could have gotten better servers.”

No “what I shoot” in your profile. MM asks what kind of stuff you shoot, but they don’t display it in your profile. Recently they added “Will shoot nudes” to model portfolios, at least to those who say yes. I’d still like to search for model that shoot swimsuit for instance, which you can do on OMP but not MM.

Forum UI is horrible. They have their own home rolled forums and they just don’t work that well. They don’t remember you, so you can’t see new posts. They don’t notify you of replies to your posts. Navigation is weak and searching is nonexistent.

Customer service is weak at best. Volunteer moderators are OK, if they actually respond to you. They spend a lot of time censoring, but not much time helping. Have to say, though OMP isn’t much better. Customer service is the scourge of the internet anyway.


If you are doing model photography and looking for models on the internet, you have to join Model Mayhem. They have the most models and photographers. They do the best job of networking them together, despite technical challenges. They’re profile UI is clean and simple to learn.

Here’s my profile on MM.

What is your experience with MM? Do you use it? Did I miss pros or cons?

Next week I’ll talk about One Model Place, so make sure you come back Monday.

UPDATE: Just caught this on a Garage Glamour thread. Model Mayhem is under new owners and have some very interesting policies. Its in the middle of this thread.

UPDATE: If you are wondering how the whole moderation thing works on MM, you might want to listen to our interview with Model Willow, who is a moderator. I was actually impressed by the system.

16 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Modeling Sites: Model Mayhem”

  1. Like Roland I have tried several times to get a profile at MM and always got blocked. I think it’s because of my profile at OMP. So I have never used MM and after reading the links you provided never will as I’m not giving away my pictures for no one no how!

    I will admit that I like OMP, while I mostly agree with all of the items
    Ron pointed out they have a great team that really tries hard. Moreover they have articles by photographers and models for photographers and models; I know because I write some for them (no compensation either) They also have their periodic IN THE CLICK shooting sessions which can help you update your portfolio with little or no cost ($20 for 30 minutes with a model is no cost, even for me!) Let me say that I may be prejudice since I do contribute writing and I live near their HQ here in Florida but I think there a great bunch of people with whom to affiliate.

    charles’s last blog post..Are You Profitable

  2. Well the comment above is obviousely biased toward OMP with their involvement.. I have to say neither site impresses me – OMP is full of features that are rarely used and has terrible customer service… MM is overwhelmed by their userload and lack of tech knowledge…

    Sort of sad that in todays age of relitively inexpensive tech – neither site works very well and I know if I was getting the flood of money OMP seems to get with photographers like me spending 100plus a year for an account it seems everytime I go there I am losing features rather than gaining them – and they have no issue not responding to tech support inquires – but yet blast me with self promoting business card deals and useless trinkets…that will not make me a better photographer…

    I might be biased as a small glamour photog that wants more for their yearly investment – but I actually signed up as a VIP on MM to hopefully help them push that sites tech more so I can cancel my OMP acct..

    Brent’s last blog post..Do not miss Mark Daughn’s Photo Workshop LA

  3. I’ve been a member on MM for 3 years. I’ve never had one of they’re people show up.
    One from OMP
    two from newspaper ads
    3 friends of friends

    I’d rather shoot nature, far less drama!
    .-= Gary Reese´s last blog ..bufflow10 =-.

  4. OMP costs money for anything other than minor freebie portfolios. Unfortunately the site is filled with model managers ( jealous boyfriends and possessive photographers who want to collect models). If you are trying to contact a real model, there’s a good chance the portfolio has been abandoned. Out of every 100 profiles on the site, only 25 are active.

    Bad odds. If you try and complain in the user forums, the heavy handed moderators there remove you post. Not a good scene.

  5. Model Mayhem ( has been purchased by a large corporation. Members thought this would be an improvement over the way it was run by Tyler and his dad. Unfortunately what the new owners have brought are free portfolios with limited use, a website with frequent down time, heavy handed moderation in the forums. If you want to have a portfolio with 20 photos in it and the ability to write more than a few emails a day, then you have to pay $10/month.

    This would be acceptable if the site was filled with talented models and photographers. Unfortunately pretty much anyone with a pulse is allowed to play on the site. Most of the photographers are hobbyists and focus entirely on shooting photos of scantily clad women and then try and justify it as art. Many of the models aren’t serious about modeling, many don’t show up for photoshoots and there have been some rumors that some model profiles are covers for escorts services.

    If people try and complain about the quality of the membership being low, they are punished by site administrators and moderators. Moderators are just members from the site, they are often marginally better models or photographers than the bulk of the membership, but just barely. Having the ability to punish members makes some moderators feel very powerful. Since some of them are terrible photographers or models, this is about as much success they will achieve in the photo realm.

    There is much posturing by the site owners and moderators that the site is serious, that it is not a dating site. But the truth is that most people are on MM to socialize or to look at photos of naked women and there is a lot of dating and hooking up going on and a number of members have even married and had kids.

    The current site with the most features and is free is You get a free membership with 50 slots for photos, with unlimited emails and the site works more frequently than MM. The only issue with modelinsider is that they are new and so they don’t have 250,000 members.

  6. Classic Arts Nudes said:
    “Model Mayhem ( has been purchased by a large corporation. Members thought this would be an improvement over the way it was run by Tyler and his dad. Unfortunately what the new owners have brought are free portfolios with limited use, a website with frequent down time, heavy handed moderation in the forums. If you want to have a portfolio with 20 photos in it and the ability to write more than a few emails a day, then you have to pay $10/month.”

    This is totally false!
    A Basic (free) membership includes 10 photos, 1 list, and the ability to Tag and Private Message all other members.
    The lowest paid level is Premium which gives 40 photos and is $6.00 a month!
    The higher paid level is VIP with 100 pictures at $10 a month!

    OMP censors your communications with other OMP members by blocking all pention or reference to Model Mayhem, Mayhem, or MM! (Paranoid)
    Mayhem lest you communicate what ever you want!

    Mayhem is much more active than OMP! For a 2 week period, for my whole province, Mayhem usually has about 40 new female models! For the same period, OMP might have 2!

  7. I have been trying to get accepted onto MM for the longest now and keep getting denied. Finaly after writing a few people about it I recieved a very rude response from “Blind Mike” (a photographer) keeps telling me that I have photos up that are not mine and that MM takes copyright seriously. As a designer, I have done numorous fashion shoots and the photographer usually will put his copy right on the photo witch means I will not be able to use my own work. I am a local designer and all my friends know of my genuine peices and couture fashions and they are on MM. I actually know a few people that definately have other peoples work up on your site, but yet they are accepted. I think what is going on is very unfiar and would like to know what I can do about being on the site as a designer, or if I need to go to futher with getting accepted?

  8. William,
    It takes written permission (license) from the photographer to use it in your port not only on MM but about anywhere else. We like to know where our work is being displayed, even if money is not being made from it. A photocopy/scann of the “license” should be enough. I’ve given license like this several times.
    By the same token, you may want it written into the contract that you be at least be notified where and how an image of your design is used. You can put anything in a contract, whether the other party accepts it or not, may be another matter.

  9. The former owners, including founder Tyler Waitt, of one of the most highly trafficked websites in the world,, filed a federal lawsuit April 23, 2010 in United States District Court, Central District of California, claiming that Internet Brands, Inc., which bought the website from them in May 2008, has failed to fulfill the terms of the written Asset Purchase and Sale Agreement.

  10. I’ve tried to get accepted on MM but have yet to be accepted. I’ve written moderators and have received no response. Personally I think there is alot of bias on the site. First off, the moderators are composed of both model and photographer members of the site. If you have worked with models or photographers you know they can be haughty and I can see people being denied just because their look or work is better than those playing Gatekeeper.

    Hell, some of the people that have been accepted have low quality images with models that are no more a model than you or I. The only thing I can think as to why I’ve not been accepted is because one of the first images I uploaded included a vagina in the image…. O GOD! Keep in mind that the same image is not considered porn by

    Also keep in mind that there are alot of models on the site who are strippers including 3 of the listed moderators…. so the negativity toward nude form is laughable at best.

  11. My daughter wants to pose for one of the MM photographers who “is going to be in town on a shoot”. He is doing her shoot at an airport hotel (probably a guest room) and he doesn’t allow “escorts” because of space limitation and interference. This smacks of casting couch only worse; I’m thinking Craigslist rapist/killer! What’s to keep a GWC and a proclivity toward perversion and violence off this site?

  12. Donna: There is nothing to keep such a person off the site, you have to be responsible for your own security.

    If she’s not comfortable with the photographers rules, then she shouldn’t shoot with him.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t decide the guy was a GWC or a “Craigslist rapist/killer” just because of these terms. I’ve shot with models in hotels before because that was all I had when out of town. It is a little weird. Personally I don’t care about escorts, but some photographers are very against them.

  13. Thanks for responding, Ron. My daughter has no problems with the conditions; it’s Mom who’s paranoid!

    This photographer has been on MM for five years, so that’s a plus. Also, he gave her his phone number.

    Realistically, the worst that is likely to happen is that he convinces her to pose in ways that she does not intend to pose. I guess.

  14. I second what Ron says. Also, what is stopping you from asking MM members what they think of that photographer.
    As for escorts, I rarely shoot alone, so I don’t object to the model having an escort….long as they don’t cause a distraction.
    You keep the badies out of it by communicating with others, we do.


  15. Yeah, I checked out MM, and on the first page is naked men and woman. It’s clear that sex is there selling point. Photography is sooooo much more. While this sounds like a great service, (safe to connect and all) A female model should never connect with a guy she never met at a hotel or any other secluded spot by herself. IT’S too crazy out here! On another note, I agree. Drama! I have had a model not show up. The lighting was set, the afternoon blocked off, and nothing. How frustrating.

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