The Necessity of Modeling Agencies

The internet has changed the modeling business forever. Nowadays, clients can book models online with a click of a mouse. Modeling agents and scouts search online for possible models that they want to represent. But these changes sometimes don’t have the model’s best interest in mind. Some models make the mistake of representing themselves in an environment when they need protection and a stream of jobs to make a living. Just like you won’t go to court without a lawyer, you shouldn’t be representing yourself. Here are some reasons why an agency should represent you.

Exposure and international markets

While you can get a lot of exposure from social media, we are talking about these Instagram models; it’s always a good idea to have an agent. Their experience will help you navigate the intricate world of modeling. The modeling business isn’t always glitz and glamour, and you will need help to get better jobs. You will need advice on the jobs that are safe and that have a generous payout. When scouts from different markets want to hire other models that will usually search for other modeling agencies, one can represent you.

Protection and safety

Modeling agencies will always ask the right questions to make sure that you get the best clients possible. This is advantageous for the models and the agency itself. Also, modeling agencies have long standing relationships with clients and can advise models for clients’ likes and dislikes to get a more comfortable experience with clients. Freelance models are eager to work, and this can lead to some bad decisions, while modeling agencies will take care of you, for a fee, of course.

Career development

Agencies invest in new models that can take up to five years to return the investment. You will be under the wing of these agencies and get various jobs while developing a professional book. It is not always about taking as many jobs as possible, but the right ones, even in the cases where you make little money. Modeling agencies know that experience is more important than a quick buck. While freelance models can be impatient for work, modeling agencies are more interested in developing a career for their model in hopes of attracting even more work and new models.

The right pay for you

Usually, commercial models miss out on the enormous payments that they should get. Clients want to hire freelance models in the hopes that their inexperience will save them a fortune. If you are a new model striving to make it work, how would you know the right pay for a specific job? On the other hand, modeling agencies know exactly how much to charge depending on the job you are hired for.

Prestigious booking

Clients that are serious and professional about their work usually contact modeling agencies for their work. As a freelance model, you can miss out on many opportunities that modeling agencies offer. Also, clients are selective and don’t want to spend much time scratching for the perfect model. They will request books and catalogs from agencies when they want to hire more than a model for a specific job. In this case, they want to save time and go straight to a modeling agency.

Terms and Phrases You Need to Know Before Starting as a Model

As a new model in the business, you will get confused by all the terms and phrases that agents and other people in the agency use. Here are some common phrases that you should know before starting as a model.


Time for print is a term usually used by photographers that hire models on their own time. A model exchanges the time that they spend in front of the camera for their book. Usually, photographers use this term when they want to create a book or portfolio of their own or want to try new techniques such as lighting.


Voucher is referred to the paper signed by the model and given to the modeling agency. This process usually takes place after the model has completed the work and takes the voucher to their agency in order for the client to get billed.


Tearsheet is referred to a page of a magazine, catalog, or various print jobs that the model has participated in.

SED card

SED card is another term used for books and takes its name from its creator, Sebastian Sed. It is pronounced zed with a z.

Catwalk model

This term refers to the models that do live jobs such as fashion shows. This can also be applied in cases where a designer wants to show their clothing and needs models for this type of job. Runaway models are the ones that the general public is most familiar with because of the television coverage that these shows get.

Mother agent and mother agency

Mother agencies are usually the agency that represents you in general. In some cases, different models are represented by various agencies in different markets. For example, a model can be represented by an agency in New York and another in Paris. Mother agencies are the ones that make sure that the schedules won’t overlap each other and take a cut from agencies that are under their supervision.


Markets, as a term, are used to specify the geographical location of major modeling agencies. The common ones are New York, Paris, Milan, Tokyo and Paris. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any local markets, and agencies will push models to strive and move out to one of these markets.


A huge event where models are required to participate in order for the clients to choose the best option. In most cases, their go-see events are paid and prestigious.

Day rate

The fee that models are charged for a day of work, usually eight hours.

Commercial models

Commercial models are the ones that we see promoting certain products such as clothing and beauty products in magazines and catalogs.

Books and booking

These terms are used interchangeably. Books are a collection of work that a model has done. It can also be referred to as the work schedule, and the term booking is used in this case.

Age category

According to the age of a model, you are categorized into different categories of the business.

Startup Costs of Modeling

What creates the most confusion to new models are the fees and expenses of the trade. With so much hype and misinformation that it’s spreading on the internet, we want to come to your aid so you can have an easier time getting started. The main two things that models need to get started are snapshots and exposure. Don’t let the internet dictate if you can or can’t pursue your dream. Just follow this simple strategy to the road to success.


In order to make a great first impression, which in the case of modeling is more important than usual, you will need to have as necessary a snapshot as you can get. After you have created a small portfolio, you will have to send these snapshots to as many modeling agencies as possible. It’s not uncommon for experienced models to work for more than two agencies because the one you have signed with a modeling agency, you are considered a private contractor.
Scouts and modeling exposure.
Getting a contract with a modeling agency is very important, and it’s only the first step to the path of realizing your dream. Once you have reached the attention of a modeling scout of an agency, it will be easier to get in touch with others, as now you are considered to be in the inner circles of the business. It’s no secret that modeling agencies like experienced models, but they won’t turn down new models that need some help in learning all the business tracks and perks.

A modeling agency takes an interest in hiring you.

After you have done all of the above, including sending pictures to various modeling agencies, one of them will likely take an interest in you. This is a cause for celebration but keep in mind that it’s only the first step. You don’t want to look desperate for work but not to be picky either. Some modeling agencies might require you to take classes to start working with them, which might not be in your best interest. Just take your time and think about your options. There are some things that you should keep in mind before you sign any contract with modeling agencies. Consider their reputation and what the agency is known for. Even if you want to start as soon as possible, it might be advantageous to wait for another offer. If they wish for other photos, ask them what kind of pictures and information they want before sending them anything. Also, take into account the city and the market that the agency operates because you don’t want to travel halfway across the country for a single job as traveling alone can be overwhelming. Also, make sure that if the agency is part of a school because such agencies use the excuse of hiring you in order for you to sign up for their classes without the guarantee of work.

Every modeling agency is different.

Difference modeling agencies operate differently, so don’t expect that you will get the same treatment from every agency. If you ask them how they started, they will tell different stories, but you should be prepared for any inconvenience as a model. A few models have had a starting advantage, but most don’t. Looking pretty isn’t enough for you to start as a model. Hard work is needed in order for you to achieve your dreams. Don’t let people discourage you from quitting because you will feel such pressure with nonsense arguments about the lack of future for what you do for a living. New models are the ones that suffer the most from work pressure and tend to quit easily, so keep up the work, and you most definitely will succeed.

Start your Modeling Career

In recent decades we have seen an increased interest from young women and men that want to become part of the modeling industry. With the rise of marketing and specifically online marketing, more and more agencies are struggling to keep up with demands. This seems like the perfect situation of supply and demand, but quickly you would come to the realization that this isn’t the case. The modeling industry is based on perception, prestige, and image, and not all people can become models; it takes a lot of effort and hard work. What forms the outside can be seen as glamorous; it’s all hard work and the right decisions from the inside.


There is a lot of information nowadays online on strategies and ways that you can achieve success quickly. If this sounds too good to be true, probably it isn’t. All models have to struggle, especially the new ones that have to deal with misinformation and not so great agencies that cheat and lie to make a quick buck.

Knowing what to do

To start a career in modeling, you will need to start with creating a portfolio. The portfolio doesn’t need to be professionals, and you can easily create one for free by yourself or with a friend’s help. Here are some tips on how to start:


The first photo on your portfolio should be a headshot that includes the upper part of your shoulder. Preferably in this photo, you should have a natural mood and not smile. This is the perfect representation of your natural look. Also, keep makeup to the minimum.

-A full-length body shot

The next picture to enter into your portfolio is a full body length shot. Such an image will help agents and scouts to get a better idea of what they are looking for and what you can offer. Your features, skin health, and smile are vital and should all complement each other in a single shot

-Various pictures

The middle of your portfolio should include various pictures that show some character and taste. Clothing shouldn’t be too extravagant and please no fur. The modeling industry has had a lot of trouble from animal activists for the use of real fur. We also suggest that you should experiment with make-up to impress future employers.

-A close up photo

The last photo in your portfolio should be a close-up shot that best shows your features. Clients and agencies want a versatile look that they can mold and shape according to their needs. If you as a model can’t do more than five different looks, they wouldn’t even consider hiring you even if you are perfect for a specific job. Modeling agencies and models are looking for a long term relationship.


After you have completed your portfolio, you want to send it to as many agencies as possible. If you live in a major market such as New York, Tokyo, Paris, Milano, or Los Angeles, you can participate in events that modeling agencies organize. At these events, you can hand in business cards and resumes in person. If you live outside significant markets, then mails and emails are the perfect solutions for you. They are cheap and easy to do.

Should a Resume Include a Photo

A lot of people ask themselves if they should include a photo in their resume. It isn’t uncommon for people to wonder if they should have right after hitting the send button. But by this time, it’s too late, and you are left worrying if your future employers are impressed or not. The inclusion of photos into resumes depends on your situation. There is no clear answer; in some cases, you should, and it won’t be necessary for some other. Social networks use a profile picture to better represent their profile; Linkedin does it, so you shouldn’t? Nowadays, online resumes sent via email are the norm. There are plenty of ways to get creative, and a way to deal with this is to attach an URL to your social media profile for employers to have a chance to view some pictures if they want to.

Recruiting concerns

Many employers or recruitment agents use strategies to avoid mistakes and choose the best candidates for an interview. Some of these strategies consent to hiding the name and education of future employees in order to make a better judgment. Including a photo into your resume can make this process challenging, justifying recruiting agents not to consider you at all. On the other hand, we have human resources experts suggesting new employees include photos into their resumes. We live in the multimedia age, and it’s a great idea to include a link to your social media profile in case recruiting agents to want to see your profile picture. Even in the instances that you won’t have a link, there is nothing stopping recruiters and human resources to make a quick search online to see your pictures.

Attach a business card to your resume

We have discussed including a link to your social media account, preferably Linkedin, as it requires a professional photo as a profile picture. An option in the case that you don’t want to add a link is to attach a business card with your resume. This will make you look more professional and will help with your chances of getting hired.

Where to put your photo on a resume

In the cases that you are opting to include a photo into your resume, we strongly advise you to put it at the top right corner of your resume. In the cases where you have purchased a premade resume that you will need to fill with your information, you can include it at the specified place of such a resume.

Networking resume

If you are personally delivering resumes at conventions or various gatherings, including a photo is a good idea. When they look at your resume the picture will help them remember you and instantly make a connection if you let an impression upon them. You can include a photo in the cases where you think that your appearance will be helpful. You can also give future employers business cards with the promise that you can deliver a full resume if they want it to. The first impression is essential, and in this case, they are vital for your chances to succeed.

Road to Becoming a Fashion Model

The most commonly asked question that modeling agents receive is: “ how do I become a fashion model.” Agents and scouts know all about it, but it will take more than a friendly conversation for them to explain it. With so much information from books, the internet, and other forms of communication, new models can be confusing even just to start their career. So here we present some easy to follow steps for you to get started.

Take snapshots and photos.

While you want to improve your chances to become a fashion model, you will need a base to work from. Just taking photos and sending them to modeling agencies won’t do. You will need to have some kind of portfolio, and don’t worry, and these don’t need to be professionally made to get started. You can take these pictures by yourself or with the help of a friend. You want to make sure to get the best photos available, showing your features, body length, skin health, etc.

Increase your exposure

Most modeling agencies are specialized in one market. You want to make sure that you send photos to as many modeling agencies from various markets. If you live in one of the major markets, you can take advantage of it by participating in shows that modeling agencies organize.
If you live outside the markets, then mailing photos is the best option for you. Be careful because you want to send as many pictures to as many modeling agencies as possible, and very quickly, the expenses might add up. If you don’t have that much money to spend that emailing them is also a great idea. With so many photos that modeling agencies receive, it is easy for yours to get lost in the mix. Ensure that you take full advantage of any connections you might have with people in modeling agencies.

Know the best market for you

The term market on modeling industries refers to the geographical hubs of modeling such as New York, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, etc. The term market is also used to specify a category in modeling such as commercial, fashion or petite. Most successful models that we see walking the runways and appearing in magazines only operate in one or two markets at best. But they are successful and well known and don’t need to compete in other markets, but they need as much exposure as possible as a newcomer. How knows, maybe you would like a specific market more than you anticipated and can grow from there.

Get evaluated by modeling agents and scouts.

Getting an accurate evaluation from modeling agents and scouts isn’t always easy. This is specifically true for people who live in smaller markets filled with modeling schools and photographers. Such modeling schools will give you the impression that you are the perfect fit for modeling so that they can get you to sing in one of their classes. It doesn’t mean that the classes aren’t good or the agent is terrible; it means that you should take your time to evaluate your disposal options. In most cases, aspiring models have some connection to people in modeling agencies because you don’t start a modeling career out of the blue. Use any means at your disposal to get an evaluation. Make sure that you get the best evaluation possible before you start a complicated endeavor that takes time and money.

Mother Modeling Agencies

When you start your modeling career you will frequently fear the terms mother agency or mother agent. But what’s a mother agency? Famous models have different agencies that represent them in different markets. For example, an experienced model has an agency that represents them in New York, one that represents them in Paris, and so on. With so many agencies representing a single model at a time, it can get confusing. This is the part where the mother agencies come into play. They are the ones that make sure that you schedule to contradict each other and are responsible for the model’s career. In most cases, a mother agency is where you will start your modeling career. Also in most cases that scout that discovers you is your mother’s agent.

How to find a good mother agency

Having a mother agency is a great idea especially for new models. But here is the tricky part, finding a good one. Mother agencies usually operate in market hubs and it’s difficult to find a good mother agency if you live in a smaller market. Mother agencies have the experience and their sole job is to protect you. They have the necessary insight for all new models that can’t acquire it in a short time.

Mother agents understand the industry

Rather than focusing on the local market mother agents have connections to outside agencies. They will analyze the options and select the best one for you. Mother agents have an inside look at how agencies operate and can easily tell which of them offers the better job with the largest pat. Also, they can give advice on how to behave and what steps you should take in order to better your chances of success.

Mother agencies are your protectors

With so many agencies that operate in the modeling industry, it is vital that you are under the protection of a mother agency. There is a reason why they are called mother agencies after all, as they protect models as a mother protects its children

Mother agencies get paid according to your success

If you live in smaller market hubs your mother agency will try to promote into a bigger market, usually, the one that it’s the closest to you. Mother agencies want you to have the best work available and your career isn’t the only reason. Mother agencies are paid based on the work you do. Typically agencies take up to 20% of your total income, it’s their fee for finding you work.
In return, agencies pay half of that percentage to their mother agency as part of their deal.

Model’s Traveling Expenses

It is a known fact that models have to travel a lot and long distances for various works. New models always ask who’s the one that pays for all this traveling, and there isn’t an exact answer to that question. It depends on the agency that hires you, on the client, and on the model itself. Here are the four scenarios in that models are involved in traveling expenses.

Specific jobs

At times a client will ask for a direct booking for a specific job that they want to be made. Usually, direct booking is used by clients that want to make a job quickly. The agency representing the model will always negotiate for the client to cover all travel expenses and accommodation to meals. In some scenarios, the client will offer more money for the job while requiring the model to cover the traveling expenses. This is rare, and mother agencies won’t usually agree.

Working in markets outside your country

Typically this is a scenario for the Asian markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc. While traveling abroad, you will need to be under contract and have your visa and permits in order before you travel. The Asina market usually is preferred by new models because of the money that they can make. Agencies will have to cover all expenses from the accommodation, airline tickets, and extra money to spend. Keep in mind that these expenses are paid in advance, and if you don’t make as much money, you will have to pay the agency back. This means that the agency will make money no matter what.

Being under contract with another agency

If a modeling agency signs a contract to represent you in another market, they most likely will advance some expenses. There was a time where modeling agencies will pay for airline tickets and accommodation, but nowadays, that isn’t likely to happen. Usually, these agencies will offer apartments that agencies own while deducting the rent from your pay.

Traveling for an interview for an agency

In the scenario that you are traveling to meet an agent or to participate in an event, you are expected to cover your travel expenses. If the agency has requested you based on the photos you have submitted, you will have to cover the expenses. It’s not uncommon for agencies to reach out to potential models from local markets, and in most cases, the expenses are worth it, especially in the cases where they get to represent you in the future. In some instances, agencies interested in representing you might advance some payment for traveling to understand that you will pay them back after you start booking.

Negotiable expenses

Like most things in business, expenses are negotiable. While some agencies are willing to pay for travel and accommodation, some might not. An excellent way to get your costs covered is to have the right mother agency that always makes sure that you get the best jobs possible, and the best ones cover travel, accommodation, and meals.

Mistakes That New Models Should Avoid

Working as a professional model can be fulfilling, and if you make the wrong moves at the beginning, your career can end before it even starts. Don’t let misinformation and dumb mistakes guide you through the starting process of becoming a successful model.

Don’t take it personally

There will be a time in your career that you will be rejected. There are a lot of reasons why some modeling agencies won’t work with you, and you shouldn’t take it personally. Some clients will hire models that look exactly like those they hired before, and they don’t want a change. Granted that rejection is a great hit on your self-esteem, but you shouldn’t let it discourage you. The fact that you can be called for an audition isn’t always a guarantee, it only means that they are interested in hiring you, and that’s a good thing.

Quitting at the beginning

Many experienced models have faced rejection in the past, it’s just part of the job, and you shouldn’t let it affect you. Even in the cases where you are accepted for a job at the start of your career, you must consider that you will face rejection on the road to becoming a successful model. As time passes by, you will have an easier time dealing with such matters. Rejection can be a bit hard to swallow when you are a new model in search of work.

Unprofessional attitude

There are plenty of amazing models out there that don’t get hired only because of their diva attitude. Just because a modeling agency represents you, it doesn’t mean that you are done working on getting a better contract; on the contrary, this is an incentive for you to work harder. Make sure that as a professional model, you have impeccable grammar when you send information to modeling agencies and clients. Modeling is all about perception, and first impressions are essential. The letter and emails you send are an extinction, and sending unprofessional emails can turn off potential clients.

Too many expenses

Taking care of your image is crucial, but you also have to make sure that you don’t overdo it in a bid to gain more exposure and income. This is especially true for new models that seem eager to just step into the modeling industry. They might think that this is a kind of investment that they will benefit from in the future. It’s possible that you might want a long time before some modeling agency contacts you for an audition. An audition isn’t a guarantee that modeling agencies have decided to represent you; it’s more like a test to see if you are perfect for what they are looking for.

Not enough exposure

The modeling industry is all about perception and prestige. Don’t limit yourself to just one market but try to expand in order to have options on a rainy day. Models usually retire when they are still young, and you will have to make do with whatever time you have.

Bad snapshots and photos

Modeling agents care a lot when it comes to perfect snapshots. It doesn’t mean that you will need to have professionally made photos initially, but they should be good enough to send the right message. Modeling agents will look for your skin health, bone structure, and the natural look that you can provide. They want to have as versatile a look as possible in order to mold you according to necessity.

How to Start as a Model Agent, Scout or Booker

Being a model agent, scout, or booker can be an exciting career. It’s a job that involves a lot of travel, meeting new people, attending fashion shows and afterparties. As fun as all of this might sound, there is a lot of effort that gets put into becoming a modeling agent. You will have to spend a lot of time in airports and hotels and have to deal with demanding clients’ hassle. You will also have to deal with the diva character that some models might have, which can get pretty stressful.
It is essential to distinguish the role of scouts, agents, and bookers. Scouts are the ones always on the lookout for new faces. They are the ones that guide new models either to the modeling agency that hires them or to various modeling agencies. Once the deal is made, then agents and bookers take over. An agent and a booker usually are the same thing, and they do the same thing as any other agent in another field does. They manage the model’s time and organize jobs for them.

Have a basic understanding of contract law

An agent doesn’t need to have a law degree, but having good knowledge of negotiating a contract will give you an edge over the competition. There is much to be learned, and you can find all the necessary information online.

Be professional

You are operating in an industry that it’s heavily based on perception, looks, and prestige. In order to make it as a model agent or a scout, you will have to be presentable yourself. Character and charisma are fundamental as a modeling agent, and you will have to be as professional as possible.

Focus only on one market

As a newcomer into the industry, scouts, and agents can get overwhelming to keep up with the competition. Until you are a well-known agent, you should focus on only one modeling field, such as commercial, fashion, or kid models. In this way, you will make sure to gain a lot of experience and become the go-to when it comes to a specific need that modeling agencies require.

Start at the mailroom.

We all know the history of Barry Diller, one of the most successful agents in the field, and his beginnings in the mailroom. You don’t literally need to start at the mailroom, but taking an unpaid job as an intern or an assistant will allow you to see first hand the inner dealing of a modeling agency. Also, it gives you some base so you can work your way up to success.

The passion for the industry

The modeling industry is not all big glitz and glamour; it takes a lot of effort to succeed. Usually, experienced agents are the ones that see themselves not doing any other kind of work. For people that see this as a way just to make money, their energy will run out fast. If you don’t have a passion for fashion and modeling, you will get exhausted quickly, making you want to quit.