the business of modeling
It is important
that new models learn as much as possible about the modeling industry
before they get started. There are plenty of modeling books and web sites
available to study. Of course, one thing to beware of is the one thing
that many of these books and web sites have in common: They promote the
myth that the modeling agency is required to have a career as a professional
The agency-centric myth is repeated often by players in the industry who
really do not know what they are doing, as well as by those in the industry
who try to control models. Models who are controlled by others, and who
allow themselves to be controlled by others, allow their careers to be
Independent Modeling is a modeling resource site with lots of good, relevant
information for new models, as well as career resources and tools. Because
we think for ourselves and do not promote the old-industry propaganda
that the “agency way is the only way”, like everyone else
does, this also makes us the best source of information about modeling
online today. We don’t follow. We lead.
The bottom line is that a modeling agency is a middleman. They are one
of many sources of modeling job leads, and that is it. They are supposed
to work for the models whom they represent. That’s fine. The problem
is when the agency oversteps their appropriate boundaries and, instead
of humbly working to find work for models, they try to tell models what
to do and manage them. This is like an employee telling their employer
what to do. Modeling agencies managing models is, frankly, a conflict
of interest, and the reason that this is a conflict of interest is that
the agency also works for the competition of the model, whom are other
models who are also represented by the agency. Would you want your employee
working for your competition, selling them, while giving you advice and
telling you what to do? We did not think so. This conflict of interest
leads to unethical conduct, and outright misconduct, where an agency can
play favorites, manipulate models, and limit them. Don’t allow agencies
to have power over you, especially when there is no reason to trust them.
The modeling agency being seen as the only way to be a model is an old-industry
supported misconception which enables modeling scams. This business model,
which is flawed, is a closed market model, pun intended, where the agency
is seen as the gatekeeper to the industry. Anyone who tells a model that
they have to go through an agency, and have to be dependent upon an agency,
either does not know what they are doing, or is trying to mislead the
model. An open market is superior to a closed market, and this is a business
fact. Models should not allow themselves to be limited by being dependent
upon an agency to get work and to have a modeling career. Besides, a model
is an independent contractors who is a self-contained business by definition.
A model should be able to find and book work on their own, as well as
maintain representation by several legitimate modeling agencies as one
of many sources of modeling job leads. By their very nature, an independent
freelance model is superior to a limited agency-only model, and have the
agency models outgunned in every way. An agency model cannot compete with
an independent model. The independent model, by finding and booking work
independent of an agency, proves their worth as a model while cutting
out the agency middleman. The agency, which loses money by being cut out
of the loop, will work that much harder to find and book the independent
model into jobs before the model can do so on their own, because they
do not want to lose out on commission. In this new model/ agency dynamic,
everyone wins but the models who allow themselves to be dependent upon
the agency for work. As a result, the ignorant agency-exclusive models
are also forced to take the initiative and become independent models,
as they are unable to compete by allowing themselves to be dependent upon
the modeling agency. Agency models who fail to adapt tot he new conditions
of the industry will find themselves out of a career, which is a risk
that they cannot take because the shelf life of most models is limited.
Likewise, models should never limit themselves by signing an exclusive
representation arrangement with any agency, and the models should obtain
representation from as many agencies as possible, and make them compete
with each other and work harder to find them modeling work.
A professional independent model must be honorable, however. If a job
is acquired through an agency, the agency needs to be kept in the loop
and paid commission. An agency which is stiffed out of pay will quit working
for the model and quit finding them work, and we don’t blame them.
Be professional and honor your obligations. Pay the help.
Because of the potential conflicts, a model should never allow an agency
to give them advice, to sell them services, or to refer them to anyone
offering services. A modeling agency is only supposed to make money by
referring models into modeling jobs that they book. A modeling agency
is not supposed to make money by selling the model services or making
money referring models to services that the model has to pay for. Since
models whom go to agencies for possible representation are a captive market,
especially new models just getting started, it is far easier to sell the
models services or to make money referring the models to services than
to do what the agency is supposed to do, which is get work for the model.
Modeling agency scams work this way, by stating or implying that they
will get work for the model, and then they never do because they make
money selling things to models. The promise of the modeling jobs is used
as bait, and the model is out of money and does not get work. This is
misleading, it is fraud, and it would make the agency a scam.
The only way to ensure that the modeling agency does what they are supposed
to, which is find and book models into jobs, is to avoid buying anything
from an agency or buying anything from anyone whom they refer you to.
This is the only way to make sure that the agency is not running a scam.
Besides, the agency is not in business to sell services to the model,
and are not nearly as qualified to evaluate such services.
New models are in need of services, and need to go to the proper source
of the services that they need. For a new model, this would be a modeling
portfolio and composite cards, and for that, they need a professional
photographer who specializes in modeling portfolio photography and designing
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agency way is no longer the only way of having a professional career as
a model. There is no arguing against common-sense and proven business
practices. Modern professional models think for themselves, network, and
book work both as independent models and by using agencies as one of many
sources of jobs. This is the future of the modeling industry.
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and our team of professional independent models and industry
contributors. This web site resource is dedicated to bringing balance
and integrity to the modeling industry, and our mission is to help professional
models, photographers, and the businesses who book them.
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