If you are an aspiring model, you may be wondering if it would be better to be a freelance (unsigned) model or if working with a reputable agency would be better. Agencies work on a commission basis, taking a percentage of a model’s earnings, whereas a freelance model would retain all their earnings.
However, by signing with a model agency the small commission is by far outweighed by the benefits. A model agency will place you on their books and actively promote you to their contacts including creative directors and photographers and find regular, suitable work. Being a freelance model means you have to secure those bookings yourself – this is harder and more time consuming than you might think, and often leads to no work at all.
What is a ‘signed’ model?
Being signed is where an agency accepts a model onto their books. This could be the result of being spotted or scouted, but more often it is due to a model applying directly to the agency themselves.
How to get signed by an agency
There are a number of things you can do which will enhance your application process, we list them below.
Invest in a good photographer – Although this is not ultimately essential, it would be useful for an agency to see you in your best light. High quality images will only help in any decision process.
Try to include different styles and setups and make sure your images are not flat – an agency would like to see your personality. Some images should be fun, closeup and others more serious. A blend of styles will highlight your capabilities and provide an agency a better insight into you.
Use Instagram – If need be, use a separate model images only account. Although agencies want to see your personality, they do not need to see all aspects of your life including the last thing you ate. By having an account that is solely for your model shots, you are creating a portfolio of images. Obviously, you can upload your professional images (see point above), and you can also include other (high quality) images from your day to day life.
A good example of this would be BMA Model’s India – https://www.instagram.com/indilillie/ Professionalism and personality shining through. Yes, India is an established model, but can you imagine if a scout visited a similar Insta account?
The next stage…
So you have caught the attention of the agency you want to be signed to. What happens next? You will be invited to meet the agency (casting call), this should be treated exactly the same as a job interview.
The golden rule is do not be late! There should be no excuse for this. If you are running late, make sure you communicate this with the agency and state the reason why. What to wear? Well, you are not on a night out, you need to dress to impress, but sensibly. Baggy clothing will not help, you should be looking for clothes that compliment of flatter your figure. A plain white t shirt and smart jeans would work well, with flats. It is also worth taking a pair of heels and nude underwear (in case you are asked to wear some specific outfits).
With appearance sorted, let’s focus on your personality. Do not be overawed or shy, try to be as confident as you can – without being too confident!
As with a job interview, you need to be attentive and polite. Ask questions if you can (have some ready before the meeting) and listen when you are being spoken to. Try to show off your personality. It is worth bearing in mind that agencies are looking for models who can take direction and work hard with no complaints.
Another good tip is to be polite to everyone – from the receptionist to the agency director. Treat them all the same as they may speak about your behaviour after you leave! It’s a life tip really that works in every environment – be kind.
If all goes well at the meeting, there is a good chance that you may get signed. Find out how this may happen at the meeting. If you are not told who might be in touch, then ask and make sure you get contact details to follow up in a week after the meeting, not before.
Lastly, make sure you find the right agency. BMA Models have longstanding connections across many industries, meaning we have assignments coming into us regularly and daily. We work hard to establish and maintain relationships with everyone we work with, including our models – We are very much a family here.
If you would like to join the BMA family, why not apply to be a model?