Legitimate modeling agencies are called booking agencies. They earn their money by deducting a reasonable percentage models' bookings -- 15 or 20 percent.
Less scrupulous modeling agencies make money off the dreams and hopes of well meaning, but inexperienced young guys by selling them expensive photo shoots, and promotional materials such as composite cards. They say that these promotional materials are mandatory to secure any paying male Model Jobs.
Basic Initial Snapshots Are Needed
While it is true that clients need to view a male model in person or in photographs before deciding whether to book the guy, simple, in-focus and good-quality modeling photos are acceptable initially - until the model begins earning money.
If an agency tells you that they need for your photos to match a special "look" of their agency, walk, do not run for the door. People who hire models from agencies do not give a shit about an agencies "special image." They just want to see what a model really looks like and this can be accomplished with a simple digital camera.
You should read how to set up a modeling portfolio before you begin spending money of photographs.
Low-Paying Jobs Don't Justify Expensive Portfolios
Often times the modeling jobs you receive at first will be low-paying and ones that more established male models do not want to accept. Agents are most likely to initially push new guys toward the less popular male modeling jobs and save the cream-of-the-crop jobs for their established male models.
If a modeling agent has a decent relationship with the client who is casting the low-paying job, they should be able to send you to the job sight unseen and without showing the client any submission photos.
So, why pay $800 for an expensive portfolio or promotional materials when you will only earn a few $75 jobs?
Top nationwide modeling agencies often submit Polaroid snapshots of male models. They make color laser copies of these instant photos, and overnight them to casting directors.
Good Agencies Will Arrange Free Photo Shoots
If a modeling agent believes in your potential, they should be able to front the cost of any photographs or promotional materials you need. They then deduct the cost of the promotional materials out of the jobs you receive. A good modeling agency can also locate a professional model photographer to hold a "TFP photo shoot" with you. A TFP shoot will cost you little or no charge. Any modeling agent who says you have major potential but cannot get you any jobs without you first paying a large amount of money - is a scam.
Buy Composite and Zed Cards Directly From Printers
Modeling composite cards that are available from ABC pictures in St. Louis, Missouri, for under $100 are resold to male models for $300.
Hourly Rate Fraud
The most unscrupulous modeling agents will tell a male model that the client is paying $75 per hour. When in reality, the client is paying the agent $150 per hour. Amazingly, they still take a commission from the male model's piddling $75.
Good Models Give Up
The trouble with dealing with unscrupulous agencies is that a hot young guy with real modeling potential can go through a bad experience and lose interest in his potential. He might actually have a genuine chance to become a successful professional male model. But getting burned can cause the guy to give up.
Other Modeling Scams
Some modeling agencies may never pay you or make you wait forever
Model Scouts & Talent Scouts
Modeling horror stories where gay agents seek to seduce naive straight guys.
Assembly line style Model Photo Shoots produce almost worthless photos.
Avoiding Modeling scams - an article by EntertainmentCareers.net - a reputable entertainment job listing service.
Avoid Hometown Photo Shoots With A Visiting Photographer
Tips On Avoiding Bogus Talent Scouts
Beware Of Modeling Agencies That Advertise to Find Models
Modeling Conventions Seek Money From College Guys
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