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How Do Modeling Agencies Work?

 jonah taylor fitness male modelHow Do Modeling Agencies Work? So whenever I am lucky enough to get into talks about modeling, some of the most frequently asked questions I get pertain to Modeling Agencies. Questions like:

  • Do I even need an agency?
  • What is a mother agency?
  • How do I know if an agency is a good one?
  • What can I do to get an agency?
  • All these questions are remarkable ones, and all have a remarkable answer that I am going to brighten up your day with. Starting with one of my favorites…

Hey there Jonah my old friend, buddy, Do I even need a modeling agency?

The blunt answer is no, but I would recommend that you did get one.

The wonderful thing about having an agency is that they will do all the work for you. They find the work, call you and check your availability, take care of payment, deal with the client for you in case you were late, or had to deal with a grumpy photographer who swears you are handicapped. All you have to do is answer the phone and make plans to show up.

Now the down side is that modeling agencies will take roughly a 20% cut from any of your earnings. Though, this is worth it since you probably would not have gotten the job without them. You could do freelance work and do it all on your own. But usually these are guys and gals who have a good reputation and left their agency because they knew they could make it on their own; they already had many connections and now connect with the clients on their own.

All said and done, it is easier and and more lucrative to deal with an agency, for all that they will do for you.

How do I know if the one I found is a good agency?

A few things go into knowing whether or not you got a good modeling agency (Read about Legitimate Modeling Agencies in the Teen Advice section of

The first thing is, do you work? Is the modeling agency getting you jobs, and if not, is it because of you, or them? It may just be that this is not your market. But if they are not networking well, it may be that they have poor clientele and don’t have much work available.

Also, how do you get along with your agency? Of all the agencies I have been with, I have had pleasant relationships with them. It is important that you feel comfortable and not pressured. Otherwise you will feel obligated and find yourself overstretched. You need to be able to say no. Remember, they work for you as well.

Finally, do they have unnecessary charges and fees? Most agencies will have a couple charges such as: portfolio, comp cards and or website/digital fees. But this is about it. Anything else should be closely monitored and always ask why? Don’t get ripped off. If you can say that an agency has….

…a fair amount of work for you; you get along well with everyone at the agency; and aren’t expected to pay for anything other than some composite cards/website fees and a portfolio, then it is safe to say that you have found a good agency.

What is a mother agency?

Basically, a mother agency is your primary manager. They are the agency you have a signed contract with. You may work with other agencies through them, but they are your primary agency, or in other words, your mother agency.

Lastly, What can I do to get a modeling agency?

If you are starting out just like I did, with nothing, then the first step you will need to do is submit some photos to an agency, or agencies, that you are interested in. So really the first step is to get some professional photos taken.

The agency can recommend some photographers if you don’t know of any, or you can get them taken all on your own. But most agencies are going to ask you to first submit some photos and they will get back to you. Then it is a waiting game. Most agencies will not want you working with other local agencies as they are competitors, but since you don’t know if they will accept you, go ahead and send them to other agencies as well.

Some agencies may love you but have many models that fit your look already. So all you really need to do is get some great photos taken by a professional photographer, and then start submitting. Then depending on who wants you, pick the one with the best chance of answering the questions above. Don’t be discouraged if this takes a while, I didn’t get my first agency for many many months.

By having the answers to these questions, you already have a great understanding of how to apply for modeling and how do modeling agencies work? Of course there are more, but these are the main agency questions and I hope you found them helpful.

I would definitely recommend getting an agency due to the resources and convenience they offer. By asking the simple questions of

  • are they getting me work?
  • am I comfortable?
  • and are there too many fees?

You can decipher which agency is a good fit for you. Lastly, get some professional photos taken and get submitting. Take criticism lightly and try constantly. It’s like trying to get a job. If you show persistence and determination, eventually they may give you a chance.


Jonah Taylor

Also, for more insight be sure to check out: How Do Legit Modeling Agencies Work? How Do They Make Money?

1 Comment

  • Iryna

    Reply Reply May 7, 2018

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