bikini model 1

How would you like to be taking pictures of dripping wet, sun drenched maidens on a black-sand beach this summer? That’s what we thought. But you can’t just whip out a camera and start snapping away at your favorite sun worshipping spot, can you? Fortunately, GearCrave knows just how you can train your lens on attractive, liberally-clothed young women…and even get paid to do it. Get your shutterbug on and read how to become a swimsuit photographer after the jump.

First thing’s first–your gear. Don’t try to use a point-and-shoot camera to do any of this. Invest the money and buy a digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera with at least 8 megapixels. Canon and Nikon are trustworthy names and you can safely start your research there. There are a number of reasons to get a digital SLR:

  • No woman clad in a dripping wet bikini is going to stick around when you whip out a cheesy-looking Canon Elph or some other point-and-shoot camera. You’ll look like a tool.
  • SLR cameras have interchangeable lenses and you can expand your camera once you’ve learned some basics.
  • You have as much or as little control over your picture taking as you want thanks to presets, customizable settings, and sophisticated autofocus features.

Now for the fun part–getting your first photo shoot setup. Now we all know you are not a professional photographer yet, so before you start looking for talent, get familiar with your camera and take a bunch of pictures. Once you know your gear you can try your first experiment.

  • Take out an ad on Craigslist seeking swimsuit models.
  • Be explicit in your ad–”no nudity”.
  • In your ad encourage models to bring an escort or friend.
  • Advertise that you are seeking models who want TFP.

That last bit sounds pretty professional, eh? TFP stands for “Time For Prints” which means you are not paying the model in cash, you are paying her with prints of your photo session. Yes, you will have to spend some money to do this, but it’s worth it. The prints are for the model’s portfolio and does the same thing for her as those pictures do for you–help get more work. (It is understood that neither of you are full time professionals–yet.)

bikini model 2

Be sure to give a TFP model a CD with your photos in addition to paper prints, and also make sure you write up and have all your models sign a model release so you can publish the photos later–if they don’t suck. After you’ve done a few TFP sessions and know your chops better you can take it to the next level:

  • Advertise on Craigslist or other social networks for swimsuit models and offer an hourly rate.
  • In your ad mention the model will be paid at the end of the session and a model release will be signed.
  • Encourage all models to bring a friend or escort to the shoot.

When you pay money for a model’s time, you generally don’t need to offer prints, but some photogs do as a courtesy. Once you get pics you are happy with, then you can start trying to shop them around to publishers, calendar companies and other people who pay for pictures of beautiful women. Remember that many companies like to pay for large collections of photos, so you should take LOTS of pictures.


Once you get a decent amount of work going out you may develop a reputation as someone who can take a good picture of a mostly-naked beach lover, and this can get you photo assignments if you play your cards right. Take a million photos, develop your eye, and surround yourself with delicious sun bunnies while you’re doing it! And if you manage to make a good buck doing it, don’t forget about your friends here at GearCrave who helped you find the inspiration!