Forums > General Industry > What Agents Can And Can't Do To Help A Model

Model

Aaron Marcus

Posts: 29

Baltimore, Maryland, US

https://youtu.be/JzQkYWFFbZs

If you are looking for an agent to help your acting or modeling career, or if you have an agent but feel the agent is not moving your acting career forward, then watch this video until the end. You will learn what to expect and need from an agent.

After watching this video, actors and models will have a clear plan of what to discuss with an agent to make sure he/she is the right representative for you. And, will know specifically what to ask and look for while interviewing agents.

May 04 22 06:51 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Most model agencies are a rip-off and/or a front for criminal activity such as organised prostitution or human trafficking, at least in Europe.

Genuine model agencies do however exist in a minority, usually they are located in cities where there are numerous advertising agencies and fashion houses (eg, Paris, London, Milan, New York) and they play a role in finding work for models, usually in advertising and fashion catalogue work. Some professional photographers also employ an agent to find work for them although this is rare, most prefer to deal directly with the people they work for.

The potential value to a model of an model agency obviously depends mainly on it's relationship, if any to the fashion and advertising industries, which can only be assessed from it's present customer base and track record. It isn't who they are or how well they talk or what kind of expensive suits they wear, it's who they work for, and who they work with. A good agency won't ask for front money; to begin with they'll ask for some mobile phone pictures and perhaps videos to evaluate and will probably require the model to go through an online application process. They may then go so far as to arrange, at their expense and with no obligation, a photo shoot. If they are then able to find work for the model, they'll probably take a negotiated percentage from their earnings.

"Know your stuff; don't rely on other people telling you" is probably good advice for anyone starting a career in modelling.

May 11 22 08:40 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Most model agencies are a rip-off and/or a front for criminal activity such as organised prostitution or human trafficking, at least in Europe.

Genuine model agencies do however exist in a minority, usually they are located in cities where there are numerous advertising agencies and fashion houses (eg, Paris, London, Milan, New York) and they play a role in finding work for models, usually in advertising and fashion catalogue work. Some professional photographers also employ an agent to find work for them although this is rare, most prefer to deal directly with the people they work for.

You say that with such authority. To be that emphatic you should be ready to site reliable sources to back that up. What are these sources you have used to form your seemingly concrete conclusion. Please share your source that proves that at least 51% of model agencies are rip-offs or fronts.

May 12 22 06:25 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Dan Howell wrote:
You say that with such authority. To be that emphatic you should be ready to site reliable sources to back that up. What are these sources you have used to form your seemingly concrete conclusion. Please share your source that proves that at least 51% of model agencies are rip-offs or fronts.

You want me to give you an exact percentage for model agencies that are fronts for organised prostitution or human trafficking? That would require more investigation. Are you going to pay me for my time and expenses?

Some general principles apply. If a model agency is genuine, you would expect it to be located in a city, or cities where there are also fashion and advertising industries. So for example IMG Models have offices in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Sydney, the fashion capitals. You would also expect them to represent people who are well known as models, or who are at the very least identifiable as being models. They should also have a client base of legitimate businesses for which they have provided models. This information should of course be verifiable.

May 13 22 02:33 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
You want me to give you an exact percentage for model agencies that are fronts for organised prostitution or human trafficking? That would require more investigation. Are you going to pay me for my time and expenses?

So maybe think about that before spouting off emphatic statements that you can't back up. It seems like every post you make shows how little you actually know.

May 13 22 03:23 am Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6979

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Most model agencies are a rip-off and/or a front for criminal activity such as organised prostitution or human trafficking, at least in Europe.

JSouthworth wrote:
You want me to give you an exact percentage for model agencies that are fronts for organised prostitution or human trafficking? That would require more investigation. Are you going to pay me for my time and expenses?

You are responsible for backing up what you say.  An exact percentage isn't required if you provide reliable references to back up your claims that "most" (meaning half plus one) of the  "model agencies are a rip-off and/or a front for criminal activity such as organised prostitution or human trafficking, at least in Europe."

Surely you didn't just pull that statement out of thin air- or darker places.  Especially considering, as Dan pointed out, you are authoritatively asserting the claim.  If you read some place about the fact that "most model agencies are a rip-off and/or a front for criminal activity such as organised prostitution or human trafficking, at least in Europe," then a simple google search would quickly guide you back to the place you read it. 

You often strain your credibility with your comments.  Your credibility ought to be worth the time and expenses (what expenses are there in a google search?) that you would have to invest to establish that you make statements that are credible.

May 13 22 07:19 am Link

Photographer

JQuest

Posts: 2112

Syracuse, New York, US

Hunter  GWPB wrote:
You often strain your credibility with your comments.  Your credibility ought to be worth the time and expenses (what expenses are there in a google search?) that you would have to invest to establish that you make statements that are credible.

I must disagree with your assertion on this point. Zero credibility even when strained remains zero credibility.

May 13 22 07:22 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Dan Howell wrote:
So maybe think about that before spouting off emphatic statements that you can't back up. It seems like every post you make shows how little you actually know.

Exactly how much do you know about model agencies and the modelling industry in general, I'm wondering? If you had any relevant experience, surely you would have told us about it by now, no? Are you saying that a majority of model agencies ARE legitimate, is that it?

In your profile you claim to be a successful professional. Have you ever worked in Europe? Do you know much about the modelling scene in the UK?

May 14 22 07:36 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

A basic problem with the modelling industry is that it's an industry with no standards that are universally recognised and little regulation, so anyone can set themslves up as a model agent, it isn't like being a doctor or dentist where legally you have to have qualifications.

If anyone were to ask for me for advice about model agencies I would encourage extreme scepticism on their part and urge them not to hand over any money under any circumstances, for anything. Even the recognized legitimate agencies have to be treated with some caution at a time when the fashion industry is under pressure to cut costs. In the UK at least it seems to be quite easy for photographers and models to find fashion work; the difficult part is getting paid for it.

May 14 22 08:29 am Link

Photographer

P R E S T O N

Posts: 2480

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Dan Howell wrote:

So maybe think about that before spouting off emphatic statements that you can't back up. It seems like every post you make shows how little you actually know.

Poor old Southy has had a difficult time in the UK, where we've been significantly less polite than you guys when dealing with his nonsense. Fortunately we no longer have to endure his contributions, which is why he's here providing you with endless hours of fun, I'm sure. Sorry about that!

May 14 22 08:55 am Link

Artist/Painter

Hunter GWPB

Posts: 6979

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US

JQuest wrote:

Sorry.  Mathematically and logically you are correct.  I am trying to stay out of the "inflammatory" category.

May 14 22 10:10 am Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3303

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

JSouthworth wrote:
Exactly how much do you know about model agencies and the modelling industry in general, I'm wondering? If you had any relevant experience, surely you would have told us about it by now, no? Are you saying that a majority of model agencies ARE legitimate, is that it?

In your profile you claim to be a successful professional.

JSouthworth (yes JSouthworth), makes clear "how little experience" Dan Howell has, and how misinformed he is about the modeling industry.

Yep.

May 14 22 11:03 am Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3303

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

P R E S T O N wrote:
Poor old Southy has had a difficult time in the UK, where we've been significantly less polite than you guys when dealing with his nonsense. Fortunately we no longer have to endure his contributions, which is why he's here providing you with endless hours of fun, I'm sure. Sorry about that!

"Sorry" isn't enough.  This could result in war!

May 14 22 11:04 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
In your profile you claim to be a successful professional.

Here's the thing. I do claim some things here in my profile. When I claim something (in general or specific) I am very much prepared to back up that statement with a track record of experience, evidence from external curated or published sources and statements and support from similarly experienced professionals.

You made a specific statement and have utterly failed to back it up in any way. I did not claim specific knowledge on European modeling agencies or the size or scope of fraud or crime in Europe. In fact, I didn't claim anything in my question to you. I asked for you to back up your specifically quantified claim. Instead of having confidence and fortitude in your statement you take a swing at me. I'm not the problem. Your unsupported claim is the problem.

It is my observation that your actions undermine your position. But then again, that is just my opinion.

May 15 22 03:23 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Dan Howell wrote:
Here's the thing. I do claim some things here in my profile. When I claim something (in general or specific) I am very much prepared to back up that statement with a track record of experience, evidence from external curated or published sources and statements and support from similarly experienced professionals.

You made a specific statement and have utterly failed to back it up in any way. I did not claim specific knowledge on European modeling agencies or the size or scope of fraud or crime in Europe. In fact, I didn't claim anything in my question to you. I asked for you to back up your specifically quantified claim. Instead of having confidence and fortitude in your statement you take a swing at me. I'm not the problem. Your unsupported claim is the problem.

It is my observation that your actions undermine your position. But then again, that is just my opinion.

Well I can tell you that in the UK we have a major problem with scam artists setting up phony model agencies, so that's another unequivocal statement on my part.

Your opinion of my opinion is not all that interesting to me when I don't know anything about you, beyond what it says in your profile.

May 15 22 05:23 am Link

Photographer

rfordphotos

Posts: 8744

Antioch, California, US

JSouthworth wrote:
[...]
Your opinion of my opinion is not all that interesting to me when I don't know anything about you, beyond what it says in your profile.

Your problem is WE do know his qualifications, experience and reputation.

When compared to your laughable history of conspiracy theories and totally unsupported "facts", the notes from your contemporaries in the UK etc, It makes it TOTALLY impossible to believe one damn word you say.

Why dont you just stop making a fool of yourself?

May 15 22 07:45 am Link

Photographer

P R E S T O N

Posts: 2480

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

JSouthworth wrote:
Well I can tell you that in the UK we have a major problem with scam artists setting up phony model agencies, so that's another unequivocal statement on my part.

No we don't. What you're referring to are portfolio development companies, not model agencies.

They're legitimate businesses which sell portfolio photography, mostly to aspiring models, and they're very careful not to describe themselves as model agencies as that would be illegal.

Of course, there are plenty of amateur model photographers who choose to believe that those businesses are scams because they think those aspiring models should acquire the same images for free simply by joining the freelance modelling site they happen to be a member of.

Yet more nonsense from Southy I'm afraid.

May 17 22 04:28 am Link

Photographer

P R E S T O N

Posts: 2480

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

LightDreams wrote:

"Sorry" isn't enough.  This could result in war!

Well, if you don't shoot him we certainly will, conflict avoided!

[Wonders what gun would be best to use...]

May 17 22 04:32 am Link

Photographer

Fleming Design

Posts: 1380

East Hartford, Connecticut, US

P R E S T O N wrote:
Well, if you don't shoot him we certainly will, conflict avoided!

[Wonders what gun would be best to use...]

You know, JSouthworth could help you with that question.  I am impressed that he has come to know everything about everything.  Is it the excellent British school system?

May 17 22 11:17 am Link

Photographer

Emeritus

Posts: 22000

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Exactly how much do you [Dan Howell] know about model agencies and the modelling industry in general, I'm wondering? If you had any relevant experience, surely you would have told us about it by now, no?

I don't think Dan needs a lot of support - his experience and accomplishments are very well documented to anyone who chooses to look.

That said, I owned a model agency in New York city.  Aaron Marcus - the author of the post that started this thread - was one of the models I represented.  He is abundantly well qualified to speak about the commercial model industry, and I have been pleased to recommend his book for years.

Dan Howell was one of my clients when I owned that agency, which is how I came to know him.  He has a wealth of experience dealing with both fashion and commercial agencies.

Now, with all of that, I see zero reason based on your statements and profile to believe you have any actual personal experience with agencies or agency models, and much of what you have said is either false, misleading, or lacking in any confirmed credible source.

Certainly there are scams adjacent to or even part of the model industry.  Most people actually in the industry are aware of them and oppose them.  But the broad brush treatment you make of the actual agencies in the industry is quite misleading.

When you are asked to cite sources to back up your claims, you need either to do that or to admit you just made stuff up.

May 22 22 10:21 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

This London based agency, if it qualifies as such, presents an interesting case in point;

https://www.modelsphotography.co.uk/

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has experience with this organisation, London Models Photography. Little information on the webpage, it says they will offer models a "free test shoot" and that they put on group sessions and workshops for photographers. It also says that they do catalogue and product photography, but no commercial clients are named. That could be for legal reasons, or because they don't have any.

May 24 22 04:02 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
This London based agency, if it qualifies as such, presents an interesting case in point;

https://www.modelsphotography.co.uk/

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has experience with this organisation, London Models Photography. Little information on the webpage, it says they will offer models a "free test shoot" and that they put on group sessions and workshops for photographers. It also says that they do catalogue and product photography, but no commercial clients are named. That could be for legal reasons, or because they don't have any.

I am starting to understand. You are either incapable or unwilling to actually read. Make so much more sense now.

I didn't see the company in the link claiming to be an agency or represent models. In fact I didn't actually see the word agency anywhere on the site, but I could have missed it. Maybe it is because of my experience (which I am happy to put against your in comparison) but I see the company linked is fairly clearly an appeal for paid model portfolio shoots (which are btw, perfectly legal and sometimes actually helpful) and a listing for a photo location for rental (also legal).

A 'free test shoot' can mean any number of legal, non-scammy things. Paid-testing/portfolio-developement by photographers is also a recognized pursuit in the real/professional industry. Is it the highest selection in the industry, no, clearly, but it serves a purpose. Legit agencies can refer their models to both paid and free testing/portfolio shoots with varying degrees of skill and results. Scam agencies have in some cases lured models to pay for sub-par portfolios with the promise of finding them work later. I don't see that to be the case with the company you linked. I don't see it being top notch either, but I have certainly seen worse.

(disclaimer: I have done numerous paid portfolio shoots for models, actors and performers to either jump-start their endeavors or update their current portfolios. that doesn't make me an agency. never claimed that it did.)

Again, please remind me of your expertise in this area, because you are clearly not displaying any in your portfolio or your statements here.

May 24 22 06:29 am Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 378

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

I was about to add that in the UK there's a law which says that companies which refer to themselves as model agencies can't charge registration fees. So many of them don't call themselves model agencies, they call themselves portfolio development agencies, and that allows them to rip people off and get away with it, because nobody bothered to include in the legislation, a functional definition of what a model agency is. As a general rule, UK legislators are usually reluctant to do anything which is harmful to commercial interests, even when the businesses concerned are operating in a way which is clearly unethical. 

For practical purposes a model agency is a company which represents the commercial interests of professional models.

May 24 22 10:17 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
I was about to add that in the UK there's a law which says that companies which refer to themselves as model agencies can't charge registration fees. So many of them don't call themselves model agencies, they call themselves portfolio development agencies, and that allows them to rip people off and get away with it, because nobody bothered to include in the legislation, a functional definition of what a model agency is. As a general rule, UK legislators are usually reluctant to do anything which is harmful to commercial interests, even when the businesses concerned are operating in a way which is clearly unethical. 

For practical purposes a model agency is a company which represents the commercial interests of professional models.

Please point to a single sentence in the entire website that either uses the term 'agency' or solicits models to secure work for them.

May 24 22 03:05 pm Link

Photographer

LA StarShooter

Posts: 2702

Los Angeles, California, US

Dan Howell wrote:

Please point to a single sentence in the entire website that either uses the term 'agency' or solicits models to secure work for them.

From their instagram, Dan: "modelsphotographylondon

    96 posts
    941 followers
    436 following

Models Photography
Photographer
London based modelling agency looking for aspiring new models for our portfolio. Contact us for a photo shoot in beauty, fashion, glamour, lingerie."

The photographer is using "London based modeling agency looking for aspiring new models for our portfolio."  At least it may have confused your opponent into thinking that the photographer was using such a statement to confuse models. . .

May 24 22 06:21 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3404

Kerhonkson, New York, US

LA StarShooter wrote:

From their instagram, Dan: "modelsphotographylondon

    96 posts
    941 followers
    436 following

Models Photography
Photographer
London based modelling agency looking for aspiring new models for our portfolio. Contact us for a photo shoot in beauty, fashion, glamour, lingerie."

The photographer is using "London based modeling agency looking for aspiring new models for our portfolio."  At least it may have confused your opponent into thinking that the photographer was using such a statement to confuse models. . .

still seems like he's a photographer looking for shoots, not promising representation.

May 25 22 03:32 am Link

Photographer

P R E S T O N

Posts: 2480

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

JSouthworth wrote:
I was about to add that in the UK there's a law which says that companies which refer to themselves as model agencies can't charge registration fees.

Yet more nonsense from Southy. His Googly fingers and brain continue to embarrass him.

It is entirely legal for a UK model agency to charge fees for including information about a model on its website or in publications (ie the registration fees Southy refers to). The provisos are:

1. the model must have agreed to the fees in advance, and
2. the agency must first have found the model work.

Registration fees are hence deducted from the model's first pay cheque, along with the agency's commission and any other agreed costs it has incurred on behalf of the model, for example portfolio development.

There really ought to be a law against the persistent spreading of disinformation, such as all the twaddle Southy continually spouts.

May 25 22 08:02 am Link

Photographer

P R E S T O N

Posts: 2480

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Fleming Design wrote:

You know, JSouthworth could help you with that question.  I am impressed that he has come to know everything about everything.  Is it the excellent British school system?

It's widely believed, here in the UK, that he's only allowed to use the internet between certain times each day, and that his access to a computer is otherwise restricted. I have no way of knowing if that's true or not, but if it is then all I can say is 'thank god'.

May 25 22 09:38 am Link