All the time we hear from models who tell us they have been approached by large retailers or well known agencies via facebook and someone has asked them to apply via messenger because you know.. It's easier than you having to visit the website and fill out the form. NO!
A reputable agency WILL require you to visit their .com or .co.uk website and most likely will NOT approach you through social media. When you visit the website check for signs that it is legitimate... Can you see the books of who they are representing? Can you see a client list? Do they have a contact number, email and phone number? Are they established? All of these questions you should be thinking to yourself when looking at what agency to join. Don't waste your time responding to people via social media who may not even work for the agency and they could be after your images, data or generally to cause harm to you. If someone contacts you through a retailer or through an agency via social media contact their legitimate email or phone-line.
Another thing we hear of are photographers mainly requesting nude or lingerie photos of models! This is not something which is done and a headshot photo with minimum makeup on or /and a photo in a vest top and t-shirt with heels is suitable for castings. Never let someone pressure you into doing something which you are uncomfortable with.
There are often huge queries around agency fees, some publications will say NO and other places will say YES. There are myths around if an agency charges a fee it's a scam as you shouldn't be paying fees to be on an agency site which in some ways we agree with! I was a model from 2009 - 2014 and was on the books of both UK and International agencies, I also followed the stages to ensure my portfolio was updated and kept making sure my portfolio was to the best level that it could be at. I paid agency fees a couple of times to help get my name out there and nothing happened, no work, no communication and as far as i know there wasn't any real traffic to the site. Dream Street decided to enforce agency fees in 2015 following offering almost weekly opportunities for models to update their portfolio free. Dream Street were (and still are) arranging photographers, videographers, stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists, venues, exclusive locations and fashion designers for nothing. We were arranging that many publications, editorial shoots and chances to build a portfolio that models would start from nothing, build themselves up then go to another agency who found them work straight away then they'd wonder why Dream Street didn't, Yet without Dream Street's FREE knowledge, FREE portfolio opportunities, PUBLICATION features and training they wouldn't have got the opportunity elsewhere! We try to keep our costs to a very minimum but what we offer will speak for itself, In our personal opinion you need to just do your research and see what you will be offered within the agency for what you will be paying for. If the reviews are good, you have good feedback and you can see the vision ahead of you (plus your willing to work hard) then it's down to your personal decision if you want to go for it!
We already established in recent blogs that a portfolio is the key to the industry and we still standby that! When looking for an agency online there are SO Many and we hear it every single day that you'll apply to the agency and be unsure of the response then you'll get an email back saying HEY! We LOVE your look and we would LOVE you to come down the studio and build a portfolio, There's a deposit of £50 which is fully refundable when you turn up. You'll go to meet the "agency" at their "studio" and have your stunning images done while someone is working tirelessly in a separate room editing your images on site, As if by magic around 20 minutes later you'll be invited to the viewing gallery where they'll show you your wonderful images which will help you get paid work straight away, In most cases there are about 30 people per session and EVERYONE'S photos that day will look the same but unless you've worked in the industry, you probably won't know this and you'll be taken back by how beautiful you look, Having never seen yourself infront of a camera before. You'll then decide just to have the three images as they are stunning and the viewer will offer you 6 for the price of 4. You'll then take 6 and end up spending another £75 on top of the what.. £300 you spent on your portfolio, But for a disc of images where you can print them all the time it's only £500 and that's only another (£125 for a disc) so you could go with that option or for the WHOLE set it's only £1000 and your bill already comes to £500 with six images so you will go for the best deal... 48 hours later you'll realise you spent £1000 on images and have no real clue on what the next stage is on the modelling industry as since paying, nobody has really told you what to do next. These companies are SO common especially in bigger places like London, A few will pop up in Birmingham each year then quickly go off the radar, We see them come and go all the time and they are not reputable agencies just a photostudio sales places who take people's dreams and make a profit. Almost every company who does this has the same style layout on how they make money, Once you have spotted one.. You'll see them all coming! If you want to build some nice photos take a look at local photography businesses, colleges or studios with good reputations. There is no real "Average price" of photography as this depends on people's styles of work, what your getting in a package and if your having a studio shoot or location. It's best to discuss EVERYTHING up front so you have no nasty surprises or feel rushed into anything when the day comes.
TV work seems to be a popular one lately especially here in Birmingham, You'll be browsing through casting sites and looking through facebook and a fantastic role in a film will come up where you have to pay £xxxx to be in the film to contribute towards running costs. Fair enough if you are working with some local creatives, colleges or university graduates and they want your input in the show.. Many people are using crowdfunders, online go fund me pages to get the funds they need to start a business as let's face it! it's pretty hard to build a business in this day and age. However there are people out there and companies out there who will ask models to be in films in various countries, or even in the UK where in reality they will become a victim of human trafficking, Scenes may involve sex or violence to where the model is uncomfortable and no contract is given to state what's actually involved. If your involved in TV work be sure to have everything in writing so you are able to refer back to it OR ask an agency / experienced professional to take a look over the role before accepting. It's so so important to be safe and better to ask twice than not ask at all.
If you get booked for an assignment as an agency WE always encourage you to take a chaperone as you never know who you are meeting or who will be around. it is much safer for two people to be present than one and if you are under the age of 18 it is almost definite you should attend with someone. If a photographer is stating no chaperones and can't give a solid reason as to why, this should ring alarm bells! Not everyone in the world is friendly and we would avoid this situation immediate as there is nothing more important than safety!
When your booked on a photo-shoot, If your over a certain age you will probably come across a level pusher in your time. These are photographers usually who will book you for a fashion shoot and encourage you to do lingerie or they may book you for lingerie and encourage you to go topless. DO NOT do anything you are uncomfortable with doing, If you have your heart set on doing fashion or doing lingerie then do not change your levels because someone else has encouraged it. Ensure that everything is discussed prior to the shoot and if asked tell the level pusher that you have arrived to do (state job) and will not be changing levels. Always make sure you are comfortable and think about the long term effect!
You'll not always be modelling on stunning locations, in big country halls or working with bespoke pieces.. You maybe booked for a freezing cold swimming pool, a muddy field or even a derelict house. Locations are set by the creative team and they will always have the best shots at heart!
Another really important factor is Child Care on shoots, We hear of models all the time who want to go for assignments then will turn up with three children all under the age of 7 and the children demand just as much of the models attention as the client. If you have young children it's always best to arrange childcare before your assignment as turning up needs to be professional in order to be booked again. Please discuss this with your agency before the role takes place if you have any questions or are unsure.
FREELANCE V AGENCY
Something we hear all regularly is should i stay freelance or should i join an agency? and the answer is it's all down to preference. There is no magical secret to what is the best way to be! As a freelance model you will do all the work yourself from finding the work, booking it in, arranging travel to ensuring you are the top standard all the time whereas with an agency they will help contribute towards the work you are getting and if they see a weak point within your professional standard they will be able to tell you. Dream Street are a professional non-exclusive agency so we offer the work but you are able to find work yourself without asking us for our permissions. However if you do need help, We are always here!
We was backstage at fashion week and a couple of models asked why do some models get more work than others? What are they doing to get the work which i'm not when we are trying equally as hard? and we thought that this is a good question!
The modelling industry which you are joining is super competitive, Everyone wants to make it and they want to make it overnight, not in a week, not in a month and certainly not in a year however it rarely happens this way, The media will portray modelling as a glamorous lifestyle with cameras following you about, the finest clothes and the most beautiful of settings.. they won't show the long hours, the years working towards that one job and the cold weather, multiple outfit fittings and continuous rejection that EVERYONE faces at some point in their life.
The worst part about an agency is that models are always going to be at different levels unless the agency has recruited x amount of models from scratch and they have all progressed at the same time. (Rare)! We opened up the agency in 2010 and represented multiple people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds who perhaps wouldn't make it into mainstream agencies usually due to height. Now we are still going and to this date we still have our books open looking for models to join us. Models who have just joined us (lets say last week) will then compare themselves to models who perhaps joined us in 2010. Models who have been on multiple assignments, editorial shoots, been published internationally and walked in a long chain of runway shows yet these people that new models are comparing themselves too at their current levels were once new too and spent their time finding their feet in the industry... Just because everyone is represented on the same agency!
You might see someone who is doing really well, On the cover of magazines and walking in runway shows, featuring in client's catalogues and seem to be doing really well then you look at yourself and you haven't achieved half as much but your with the same agency!.
I want to share Nadia's Story (Sorry Nadia) ... We met Nadia at an Arthritis Research Model scouting competition which was held in Acock's Green in Birmingham in around 2013.. I was the current Miss Teen Wolverhampton International and i was due to compete in the Miss Midlands International Finals following winning several titles at the regionals. Dream Street Models had been established 3 years but had mainly focused on the entertainment side of things, We had worked with singers, bands and other performers and i had a real passion for the fashion industry and making people and things look and feel beautiful. Nadia Joined us on the left hand-side as an entry for a charity modelling competition and she won. She did a shoot with @mantisphotography in Birmingham on location, It was a wet and rainy day but she turned up and got some images which she could use in the start of her portfolio. It wasn't the most ideal day for an editorial shoot but she came and the shoot took place! .. The photo on the right is the current day and the level she is working too now however she is the same person, the same agency and nothing has changed other than experience and hard-work!
Nadia worked hard building up her name on editorial work, fashion shows and any assignments which came in to get herself out there and develop her portfolio between 2013 and 2016 she is now the face of Ratchet Clothing which have over 395,814 followers.
Her achievements came from the time she dedicated to the industry, the time she put in working hard on the assignments Dream Street offered which landed her a large contract with a large retailer.
Dream Street offer so MANY FREE opportunities for new models to gain experience, gain publications and gain more confidence on the runway.. We offer them for absolutely nothing so you are able to grow as a model and be ready most importantly when that large retailer comes along and wants to take a look through your previous work. Please make the most of every opportunity you are offered and you will see yourself grow in experience, confidence and the type of work which will become available to you.
Every model we sign we 100% believe in, We believe we are only as good as our most inexperienced model and as an agency it's our duty to educate, care and inspire aspiring models to be the very best versions of themselves.
You have the ability to reach success, let us help you get there! We know some people have huge dreams in working in the modelling industry and have only just started themselves, We know they see the posts we put out on a regular basis and ignore these as they're not the type of clothing they are into or the publication work isn't paid and the images don't matter but we are giving away so many FREE opportunities for a reason! Not for the benefit of our health or because we have nothing to do! We are giving them away because we believe in our models and we believe you can make it! Please use these to your full potential, Get yourself booked in, Blog about them.. Give out your social media pages to everyone in the room, Get to know the photographer, the designer.. Even the cleaner! Make an impression and make the most of it!
We get asked a lot as an agency to look through portfolios but it's clear that people new to the industry often haven't done enough research on how things work, There are handfuls of people who provide images from Snapchat, toilet photos from a night out on the weekend, a couple of bedroom selfies and to top it off there will be the best shot from their shoot in 2002.
Clients and agencies don't want to see how you look with the best filters on Snapchat, a hundred editing apps and what you wore last Saturday night in the nightclub toilets, we are almost certain that your not the same person you was back in 2002. You have to remember that these photos you are putting forward of yourself will be put against someone with perhaps over five years experience.. It's important to stay top form all the time.
Nothing screams amateur more than an iPhone photo, if your serious about modelling do some research into companies within your area. Check their reputation online and ask other people their thoughts. Every company has good and bad points but make sure you find someone who can point you in the right direction and are going to help you, and not just because your paying them. You need to find a business who believes in YOU as much as YOU believe in yourself. If you don't believe you can make it then why should anyone else?
You need a good portfolio of at least 3 images to start with, images where you look natural and comfortable. Clothing that fits and posed properly with nails painted or clean. Once you have a small portfolio you can begin to put yourself forward for work, you can find work in Facebook groups from casting directories or you can find an agency. This will give you the BEST start in the industry and show that you are willing to put the work in to get where you want to be. Success does not happen overnight.
Once you have your three images you can then progress on to a time for shoot (known as TF) where you shoot for free and so does the photographer on a collaborative basis. You can both then use your images in your portfolio and this will grow your experience as a model and start to create strong images to use to represent you.
Although when shooting TF or meeting someone you have never met before, do keep in mind the dangers of working with people who have no references. Sometimes bad images can do more harm than good and safety is a huge priority too.
Once you have a portfolio, It's then a case of "What's Next" If you are just hearing about us because you have paid thousands for a portfolio and the studio that sold it to you have closed it's doors in your face then you may also be wondering "what's next" along with being sceptical of everyone and everything in this industry.. & We don't blame you!
Look for an agency with Success Stories do they have genuine people who have been successful through their work? If an agency is a good as it says it is then it should be able to backup where long term models have made it too.. We have a few people who have really taken every opportunity which we have gave them and made it to where they want to be in the space of a year or so.
You could post your portfolio to FREE websites such as Model Mayhem, Purpleport or similar websites that have a good track record of helping people gain them "TF" Shoots. Although it is flattering to receive hundreds of messages back from a casting CHECK references. We can't say this enough, Check and Check again that the people you are working are 1. who they say they are, 2. have good feedback and 3. Are SAFE as safety is a huge priority! It's also important to check the QUALITY of their work as trust us, There is NOTHING worse than a set of bad images floating around the internet of you. Bad images can damage your reputation as a model and even show you in that much of a bad light it will put others off from working with you.. The images produced might even not look like you!
There is nobody to say as and when you are going to get paid work or the huge jobs you might be dreaming of, it's not like the job centre where people will think your a nice person and you have good qualifications so you'll get the job. This industry is based purely on looks and often social media following. Brands want to get their name out there and be seen, They also want someone who comes across as experienced so they know the time in front of the camera will be beneficial. Clients don't have time to tell you how you should be posing or time to be telling Models what they should and shouldn't be doing.
Here at Dream Street Models we do give people the chance to join us who don't have portfolios and do not have any experience. We offer in house editorial work which is professional images which go forward for magazine publication, in most cases work is published and the model can take home the images and publication to build a portfolio up free of charge. We do this on selected dates all through the year and aim to have models working as much as possible ready for when client work comes in. We want to save you the worry and hassle of what to do if you don't have them images the client wants to see and we are pretty sure if we sign you up, we believe in you as much as you should believe in yourself. Our opportunities we offer cost NOTHING and you can guarantee an agency standard team are working hard behind the scenes to produce the BEST images and even better.. All you have to do is turnup! We take ALL the headache from you and do thevery best we can.
We also help people with low confidence and help them through smaller fashion shows to build up confidence and self esteem ready for when fashion week comes around or other large national shows.
Alongside what we offer for free we do offer luxury portfolio management of 8 images in the studio with professional hair and makeup and up to four outfit changes and model training. This retails at £250 and includes everything someone should need to start up. With years of experience our team aim to deliver the very best and enable models to have the best start in the industry. We also have NO hard sell, NOTHING to purchase on the day and NO optional extras. We aim to produce the most transparent service. We must point out that we offer this service to make things easy, it is 100% OPTIONAL and people are left to make up their own minds regarding portfolios. We aren't always able to accept everyone we would like on to the books for one reason or another and we would HATE to waste anyone's time so outside of the agency we always have these services available for anyone who enquires.. You just have to ask.
If your interested in joining Dream Street Models you can visit www.dreamstreetmodels.com
Work hard, stay humble.