Is Modeling Free? The Truth about Agencies

Should you pay a modeling agency?


What should you do if a modeling agency wants you to pay them? Is it normal to be required to pay a fee to join them? There is such a hype and misconception on who pays for what when a beginner model gets signed. This is the real truth no one will tell you.

Back in the 1980's a model could be expected to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for bookings. Major agencies like Ford Models were at the for front, as well as Elite Models, discovering fresh faced models in malls, subways and even gas stations. Back then, it was normal for the agency to pay to develop the model starting out, in hopes of earning it back when they book something. With print/magazine being the main source of advertising, booking a major model made all the difference - and agencies knew that. From 1980-1990 modeling was in the peak of its prime. Since mid-2005 however, things changed when media advertising begun to over take print, thus increasing the rate an agency could once command. Many modeling agencies then closed or merged and released under preforming models from their roster.

Fast forward to 2021, no modeling agency is going to pay for your portfolio. Like another career, you have to have actual experience; for modeling, its in front of the camera. Regardless of what you heard online from social media "models" or from your parent, any real model signed with an actual agency will tell you they all charge for website fee's and marketing. The agency passes the cost along to the talent, just like any other industry. If you are signed exclusively with a big agency, like VNY Models, some of these costs may be fronted when you are starting out however, this is rare and only reserved for editorial models or those coming from another agency with a history of booking. Also, any costs they pay you will be debited from your bookings. While it is now common for an agency or service to require a fee, it is equally important to understand what that fee is for and what is reasonable. Spending thousands of dollars for a photography shoot is not reasonable for most models however. Any new model should research the company prior to communicating to ensure they are in line with what you are seeking.



Have you applied to agencies and not heard back? Well the truth is most model managers manage the careers of established talent, they do not help you start or grow. It takes more than getting your photographs into an agency, they want to know you are reliable and bookable.

At Latitude Talent, our company was designed to assist models and actors in attaining their personal goals; whether that goal is to simply build or start a portfolio, or to obtain exposure in a major market. Our personalized service provides talent of all backgrounds with the tools necessary to be successful, while being offered the personal attention to overall growth in the entertainment community. As importantly as direction, our team is always available to provide support. This industry can be tough to break into and when you need encouragement or help, we are always there. As a service, we make getting started easy and very affordable. Most photography shoots at Latitude are provided complimentary to talent.


Our talent are truly number one. Period. Learn more about our brand here

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