Models @ RIT Initiative

Photography by Grant Bush-Resko

When a photography student comes up with a vision for a new project, they are challenged to find someone willing to pose in front of the camera. For aspiring models — or those who would love a chance at a cool photo shoot in their free time — it can be difficult to start without knowing photographers directly. Jacob Yoon, a third year Computer Science student, saw a way to bridge the gap between these two groups and worked to develop an entirely new website for connection.


Models @ RIT is a website that allows anyone with an email address to sign up as a model. During the sign-up process, people are asked questions about different qualities of themselves, including specific measurements for garments. Photographers can then use these specifications to filter their searches and reach out to fitting models for projects.

Yoon came up with the idea from his experiences in Fabrick, one of RIT's fashion-focused clubs. Fabrick delves into projects involving photoshoots, where they photograph styled outfits, and competitions, where they compete against each other for prizes. Fabrick also works on larger projects involving the need for models, like creating collections for their semi-annual “Trashion” show and working on their annual fashion magazine. Through his participation in the club, Yoon interacted with many photography students and discovered a universal issue between them: the search for the right model. 

“I found a lot of photo students recycle their same group of friends [for modeling], and they want to diversify their portfolio,” Yoon said. “It’s hard to [find and] reach out to models.”

Using his knowledge in software engineering, he began working on the Models @ RIT website over winter break during the 2022–23 academic year.  The website was later released in the fall of 2023. 

“I found a lot of photo students recycle their same group of friends [for modeling], and they want to diversify their portfolio. It’s hard to [find and] reach out to models.”

The Future of the Website

The website has only been shared through social media and posters around campus, as it is still new and budding. Thus, not many people know about its existence. Plans are being made to possibly collaborate with the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences's Photo Cages, where students can rent photographic equipment, to further promote the website. Yoon shared some concerns about people using the website for the wrong reasons.

“It’s not a dating site,” he said. Yoon strongly requests that students only use the website for its intention.

As for the future of the website on the developmental side, Yoon is considering providing a scheduling service for photoshoots directly through the website. Photographers may also be able to share their photoshoots on the website to promote both themselves and their models later on.

With the creation of Models @ RIT, the opportunities for students and staff to get involved in the world of modeling and photography have been greatly expanded. New possibilities for creative collaboration are now a click away.