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!