As a stock and commercial photographer who often works with clients with small budgets, I've learned it's a good thing to have good looking friends. They come cheap, the look good, and they don't mind signing model releases.
Take my friend Ridge here. He's in construction, but you won't say it looking at his suave exterior. Or my wife's PA - C - she looks more glam than a R&B singer!
But if there is one thing I've learned - no matter what your models look like, don't skimp on a make-up artist. I've got a great (expensive) one I use, and a friend who's also a great commercial one (but cheaper for me!). Time and time again, those images outperform all others in my portfolio.
Then there is my sister-in-law, studying to be a teacher, El:
, her boyfriend K
and a good friend R, who's a professional business coach, but as comfy as a fly-fisherman (which he really is);
So who do you use and abuse? My kids are also on the list, but i tend to watch out for that, as sentimentality tends to cloud my creative judgement there! The same goes for my wife!