Why Models Need an Agency
The internet has opened up many opportunities for models that would never have been dreamed of in the industry 30 years ago. The internet allows agents and scouts to market their models instantly and worldwide with the click of a mouse.
Models have become superstars through social media and clients now have the ability to hire models directly online. While the speed and ease of the internet have changed the modeling industry forever, it has also opened up the arena to people who don't always have the model's best interest in mind.
Just like you wouldn't go into a courtroom without a lawyer, you shouldn't represent yourself as a model. Here are the top reasons why you should have an established modeling agency or manager representing you:
Your Protection and Safety
A professional modeling agency will screen clients and ask them the right questions to be sure they are the best type of client for the agency and for you.
The agency will also have long-standing relationships with many of its clients and will be able to guide you on the likes and dislikes of a particular client and the best way to make sure the client is satisfied with your work.
The agency will be able to confirm the safety of your working conditions such as the location of the set, the other people you will be working with and meeting there, and exactly where your modeling jobs will take place and for how long you will be there.
Freelance models rarely ask the right questions for fear they may offend the client which can lead to all sorts of problems for both the model and client. A good agent is fearless when it comes to the safety of their models and will do everything they can to protect you.
It can take many years for an agency to develop a new model and get them to the point that the agency will see a return on its investment. Therefore, agencies are always interested in developing the model's career with the model's future in mind. It's not just about accepting every job that comes along or working with every client. It's about picking and choosing the right clients that will make the difference in the model becoming a superstar or simply fizzling out after one season.
Building Your Brand
Models have become much more than living coat hangers or voiceless people who simply smile and show off pretty clothes, they have become "brands."
A model must be a complete package. They must be able to navigate through social media, television, film, and much more. Clients are paying much more attention to the type of brand the model has when choosing them for their big campaigns.
A good model agency will be able to help a model develop his or her brand and really make their mark in the industry.
Get Paid What You Deserve
Some clients will hire models online rather than use a professional modeling agency because they know the model is inexperienced and likely won't negotiate the best rates for his or her work.
For example, if a client wanted you to do a commercial print ad where your photos will appear in a magazine, on clothing tags, and on a billboard, would you know what to charge for that? Most models have no idea what a fair price would be and often sell themselves short, missing out on thousands of dollars.
A professional agency will know exactly what you should be getting paid and how your photos will be used. Not only is this important for you financially but prevents any future conflicts of interest if a client with a similar product wants to hire you.
Better and More Prestigious Bookings
Major clients such as Vogue, Elle Magazine, Victoria's Secret, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Toyota, Apple, Panasonic, and others only work with legitimate modeling agencies to find models for their companies. They never go online to find random models as this would be much too time-consuming and they would never really know what they are getting. Clients trust the agencies to send them models who look like their photos and are appropriate for the client's brand.
In addition, a particular model a client may want to book may not be available and the mere fact you are in the same agency means that you could get that booking.
Exposure to International Markets
Models can be represented by more than one agency as long as it is in a different market. For example, a model can have agencies representing them in New York, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo. The model would then travel to these different markets when the season in that market is busy and will stay there for a few weeks or months at a time.
Even when you are represented by only one agency, scouts from other international markets will often visit looking for new models for their markets. Many models are discovered simply by being in the right place at the right time.