by Megan S.
If you type in ‘Modelling Agency’ into Google you are instantly hit with millions of responses, making it difficult for aspiring models to select an agency to apply for and be able to differentiate between those that are genuine and those that are trying to scam you.
There are several points that you can use to identify whether an agency is trustworthy and genuine or not. The biggest identifier of these unrepeatable agencies is those that charge large sums of money, or require fees. A good agency makes their money from the commission earned for your jobs rather than a direct fee paid by the model.
One of the most prolific scams is that of charging high amounts for portfolios, to apply for a modelling agency you do not need to have existing professional photographs, and once you have joined the agency should not charge you a lot, if anything, to begin to develop your portfolio. They may suggest photographers to you to start your portfolio and as your career in the modelling industry develops your portfolio will grow with photographs from your jobs.
Any money that you owe the agency for items such as comp cards or shoots with photographers to develop your portfolio will be paid by the money earned from jobs you get.
To protect yourself the best advice is to research any agency thoroughly before a meeting, and if they ask you to sign anything on the first meet and if the ask you to sign or pay then run away. Any reputable agency won’t ask you to do this.