What to Expect When Submitting to a Model Agency

 Model Auja Smith with SEEN Model Management

Model Auja Smith with SEEN Model Management

You want to be represented by a model agency? You might be scouted, but more likely you go to an agency casting call, you do a look-see, or you’ve submitted online. What’s next??

Honestly, in most cases, NOTHING.

That’s right, you will likely receive no feedback or follow-up. In most cases the only time you receive feedback is when the agency is interested. Yes, there are exceptions but don’t be surprised if you hear nothing. Don’t take it personally.

Should you contact the agency to follow-up, ask why you weren’t selected, beg, etc.? Short answer, NO. Again, this is a general rule, but it’s the best approach. Also, NEVER complain to the agency or online.

When might your follow-up? If you went to a look-see or a casting and the agent said it was OK to follow-up or gave you their card. It’s reasonable to send a polite email and make an inquiry. However, DON’T bug, beg or complain. That gets you less than nowhere.

Remember, agencies often represent specific looks / personalities / talent type or have a specific need to fill on their board. You may be a great model or have huge potential, but you don’t fit their need. Or they saw something they don’t like, don’t think you’re ready, don’t like your social media numbers / content, etc., etc. There may be lots of reasons. Bottomline, they didn’t select you. If they didn’t, don’t expect them to tell you why or to follow-up.

That’s just the business practice of the industry.

If you are represented by a mother agency, the mother agent will be walking you thru the process and may find out why you weren’t selected. But, don’t count on it. 

Why don’t they follow-up? Lots of reasons, they don’t have time, they don’t want to say anything that might upset you (this is a subjective industry), or they don’t want to open themselves up to negative feedback on why you weren’t accepted (“what, you have something against curvy models???”). Whatever the reason, don’t expect feedback unless they are interested. 

I didn’t hear back. What now?  

First, don’t get down on yourself or complain. A pity party may feel good, but it doesn’t help you get represented. Second, look again at the agency boards and see the type of model the agency represents. Look at the talent & the talent’s socials. Do you have something that you think will fit their needs? If you don’t it might be the wrong agency for you. Third, try again. There’s nothing wrong with re-submitting to the same agency in the future. Give it some time, but resubmit. One advice, use updated photos. Or submit to a different agency.

Bottomline, keep trying. Just because you don’t hear back doesn’t mean you won’t eventually get a YES! Stay focused, keep practicing & keep the dream alive!

Be Discovered - The Submission Process for SEEN

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SEEN Model Management, and of course, most model agencies welcome open submissions. This is one of several ways agencies find new and existing models. One way to "Be Discovered" is to use the agency's online submission tool if available.

Agencies have a process and needed information when you make a submission. Your chances of getting attention increases if you provide requested information EXACTLY. Secondly, don't fib or white lie. If you are 5'7", then don't say you are 5'9". Just don't do it. Also, all information and photos should be up to date. Don't send in photos from your junior year if you are a senior. 

SEEN uses open calls, scouting & of course, ONLINE submissions. We call online submissions "Be Discovered". Just head to the CONTACT tab on our website, and fill in the information requested. We welcome all submissions.

OK, but what does SEEN need? Actually, fairly standard information & photos. Go to the Contact page, click the Interest* drop down box, select "Be Discovered". We request:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Age
  • Height
  • Shoe size
  • Women - your measurements (bust / waist / hips)
  • Men - your measurements (neck size / sleeve length / chest / waist / pants inseam)
  • Any additional comments (i.e. tattoos, significant piercings, previous model experience, etc.)

Next, we need you to send several photos separately. You will be sending them to our Talent Director at cgruber@seenmodel.com.  The photos needed are easy to take. We need:

  • Straight-on full body
  • Side profile full body or knees up
  • Straight-on headshot chest up

These photos should be current. Wear clothing that compliments your body. As an example a pair of form fitting jeans, and t-shirt. Women should keep their hair natural and prefered pulled back in a ponytail. Little to no makeup. Men should keep their look natural. This is not a fashion shoot. Also NO selfies, NO Snapchat filters, & NO professional photos. We want to see you before a stylist, hair or makeup artist works their magic. Cell phone photos are perfectly A-OK. If you want more info just Google "model agency digitals" for examples.

Again, send these photos to cgruber@seenmodel.com. Also, if you have any questions or comments you can use the CONTACT for or reach out to us at info@seenmodel.com

If we are interested in your submission we will email you back or request additional information. If not interested or if we don't have a spot on our boards then we may NOT follow-up. That's fairly standard for agencies.

If you are interested in checking out other agencies most have a similar online process. Again, follow the requirements closely to get the most attention.

Come on, BE DISCOVERED!

 

 

 

 

TFP (Time For Photo)

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Time for Photo, Time for Print, Trade for Photos, Test for Prints, Test for Photos, etc., etc. or simply “TFP” is commonly used for photoshoots.  However, TFP is often misunderstood or misused.

OK, but what exactly is TFP? Basically, it’s a FREE photoshoot. No one on the creative team is paid for the photoshoot.

Two caveats, first, unless the photoshoot is simply for fun or practice then models, makeup artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist or the photographer EXPECT to be PAID so don't be surprised if your TFP request isn't accepted. Secondly, many DON’T do TFP.

Think of TFP as a collaboration. If a TFP is agreed, ALL parties must receive benefit (mutual consideration) from the photoshoot because there is no payment for their time and effort. Payment is in the form of practice and / or edited images in most cases. All parties need to be confident the collaboration & end result justifies their time.

Examples of collaboration is that the model gets practice and cool images, the photographer gets to work with a new model and his images for his / her portfolio, a MUA gets to try out a new product, a hair stylist gets to use the images for his / her portfolio. You get the idea. 

A third caveat is photoshoots for magazine submission that are not commissioned are normally done TFP.  This is especially true for the growing number of online or print-on-demand magazines.

So now that you know it’s a free photoshoot, what are a few tips organizing a TFP.

  • This sounds simple, but someone needs to initiate the request. Anyone can request a TFP. The photographer, agency, model, MUA, etc.
  • Everyone should contribute to the TFP photoshoot and understand what each party is doing. Don’t make the originator do everything.
  • When requesting TFP, MAKE SURE YOU ARE CLEAR you’re requesting TFP.  There is nothing more annoying than reaching out to someone with a line like “I love your style; would you like to shoot together”. You think it’s a request for TFP, but find out they want to be paid. Be clear right quick.
  • Be specific WHAT YOU OFFER. Example for a model would be, “Hi, I love your portfolio. I would like to know if you are open to a TFP photoshoot. I can arrange the makeup, hair and fashion”? A photographer reaching out to an agency can say “…here is my portfolio, would any of your new faces or models in development be available to shoot TFP. I would provide 5 edited license free images in return”. You get the idea.
  • If you are arranging the TFP then YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for the basics or making sure they are done: call sheet, mood board, what is being provided, how many images will be provided, turnaround time, etc.
  • Don’t be surprised if you are turned down.  Don’t take offense.
  • If you are the photographer then KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS. Don’t be one of those photographers that doesn’t keep their commitment to return edited photos as agreed. That gets around fast. Also, blow off your commitments to an agency and say goodbye to that relationship.
  • Document everything with all the creative members via email.
  • If making a TFP request with an agency you may not get the model you want. The agency may offer models that need the practice or images for their portfolio. This is especially true if you are just starting your relationship with the agency. And don't be surprised if you get no response.
  • A booking agency may respond differently than a mother agency because of different needs. 

SEEN Model Management offers TFP SELECTIVELY.

As an agency, our number 1, 2 & 3 priority is to develop our models, book-out our models for paid gigs / get placed, and help our models develop a portfolio.  TFP fits nicely into these priorities.  However, it’s done selectively.

What can you expect from SEEN Model Management if you request TFP?

  • We will treat your request with respect.
  • Before offering TFP we will ask about your budget.
  • We will request information highlighted in the Testing blog post
  • Unless AGREED in ADVANCE TFP is NOT for submission to any publications.
  • You will need to agree that TFP photoshoots are not used for commercial purposes.
  • Not all models are available for TFP.  If you request a specific model, they may not be available.
  • All communications need to go through the agency. We ask that you don’t schedule a TFP or any photoshoot directly with the model.  Reach out to us at booking@seenmodel.com
  • If you’ve shot TFP with SEEN Model we might ask you to book a paid shoot the next time.

TFP is regularly used in the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask, but be mindful of what is normally required.

Booking A Model

Booking a model whether freelance or agency represented is straightforward. If you have experience hiring a model or want to know SEEN Model’s approach skip to the end of this post.

An important note – professional models, both freelance or agency represented, expect to be paid for modeling.  Unless “Time For Print” is agreed with the model or agency the model will be paid.  There are exceptions (i.e. the agency has approved a test photoshoot or photoshoot for submission) but you should have a budget for the model.

OK, so you’re ready to book a model. If the model is freelance simply contact the model directly. Most often this is through their social media accounts or a website. Once contacted each model may have a different process they would like you to follow including how they would like to be paid and what information they need. Be respectful and follow it. Normally, all communications / discussions take place online via email, web-forms, DM, IM, etc.

Booking an agency-represented model is different. You book a model through the agency. This is one of the reasons a model signs with an agency. They want an agency to handle the basic business & booking transactions.

Most agencies ask that you NOT contact the model directly or negotiate the booking with the model. You will be working with an agency contact. Each model agency has different procedures for booking models, but it’s best to contact the agency first to learn their policies. Most model contracts have a clause stating all transactions must go through the agency. Therefore, if you reach out to the model directly it can get the model into hot water with their agency.  Don’t be that person.

Once you reach the agency they will ask specifics about the photoshoot, what model or models you are interested in booking, your budget, ask about the need for a casting, let you know who’s available, send you comp cards, etc. Simply follow the agency’s process. Remember, even if you have an established relationship be prepared to pay the agency. The agency will pay the model less commission expenses.

Similar to most agencies, SEEN Model Management requests that all bookings go through the agency.  This applies to paid and TFP requests. Even if you have worked with the model previously we ask that you go through the agency. Simply contact us at booking@seenmodel.com or contact cgruber@seenmodel.com. You can also reach out to us via our Contact form, but the other 2 methods are preferable.

“But why can’t I reach out to the model directly” you ask? “Other agencies let us contact the model directly” or “I worked with the model previously before signed”. There are valid reasons you feel it’s important to contact the model directly. As photographers ourselves we understand the value of talking to the model directly. However, SEEN Model wants each experience working with our represented models to be excellent. By managing the process, we can deliver the services you need.

Our goal is to make working with SEEN Model Management’s models super easy. Reach out to us!

Scammer, Spammers & General Jerks

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Social media is an amazing tool for a model. It allows you to get out there and be seen. It’s part of your marketing and can be fun. BUT, it also has well known downsides. It will bring out the scammers, spammers and jerks. This is true for everyone not just models. However, models (represented or independent) are often sought out because of: 1) your looks, 2) the “influencer” trend, 3) the need to “build or enhance your brand” to name just a few.

One of our models got such a scammer / spammer message today. An individual sending an IG message asking to book her. Then it quickly went to a request for measurements & photos. Then saying he was willing to teach modeling & will you come to an audition. Obviously, either a creep or someone trying to sell services. 

All models have their agency contact in their bio’s. A legit client will check the model’s bio, link to the agency and see photos & measurements. No need to ask the model directly to provide. Danger Will Robinson!!! Red flag city. 

In this situation, our model politely told the individual to contact her agency and then she disengaged. If you are represented you can allow your agent to deal with these types of queries. If independent it’s best to cut it off “right quick”. Don’t get into a debate. Don’t get into a back & forth. Don’t rehash it on your other social platforms. Just disengage.

IF you decide to respond to such a request (our advice….don’t) then simply send a link to your curated portfolio or a digital copy of your comp card. The problem is you will likely get a follow-up request for more photos. 

Other examples of spammers / scammers are people or companies promising to increase your social media engagement or numbers. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of social media (especially IG) is that numbers count. Therefore, there are people who say they can help you get those numbers. Of course, it’s always at a fee.  It’s best to avoid these get number quick schemes and simply build your brand and numbers organically.  Be yourself, put out good content and the numbers will grow naturally.

Bottom-line, social media is an important part to a model’s success and enjoyment. You just need to be alert and avoid the get rich quick type of schemes. Stay away from the scammers, spammers and those general jerks.

TESTING

Testing is an important part of both photographer (or makeup artist / hair stylist) and model development. We encourage testing both on paid (model is paid by a photographer) & trade basis. When we book a model for a test shoot we will consider a trade arrangement (TFP or “time for photos”). The key is mutual consideration (benefit).

If interested in testing with one of our models we will ask if you have a budget for the shoot or we will quote our test rate. Remember, we are a business and always feel models should be compensated. If you are looking for a TFP test we will definitely consider it. However for any test (especially TFP) we will ask for the following information:

  • A copy of your mood board.

  • Your agreement test images will not be used commercially, for promotion or publication.

  • A call sheet or equivalent photoshoot details in writing.

  • An agreement on how many edited images will be provided to SEEN & estimated turnaround time.

  • Link to your current portfolio.

  • Your contact information.

  • Date / time / length of the photoshoot.

  • Shoot location.

  • Hair, makeup, fashion arrangements.

With this information we can quickly review & follow-up. We approve many test requests but occasionally we will politely decline.

 

Once we get your information we consider:

  • Appropriate mood board for the model. SEEN’s focus is on fashion & social media friendly beauty.

  • Professionalism, portfolio & experience of person making the testing request.

  • Travel time & any expenses on the agency or model.

  • Experience level of the requested model.

 

Things that warn us off:

  • Previous poor experience.

  • Unwilling to provide a call sheet & mood board.

  • Vague details regarding the photoshoot.

  • Unacceptable mood board or a number of images on social media that warn us off.

  • Boastful claims about exposure or portfolio.

  • Concerns that images may be used commercially.

  • Not allowing the model to bring a chaperone (required for all models under 18)

I know this may sound onerous or you might say “other agencies don’t require this”. OK, but we want to develop a solid & professional relationship with the creative community & make testing a mutually beneficial experience. All of the partners running SEEN Model Management have a photography business so we know from experience getting details such as this out in the open early is critical & makes for a pleasant testing experience.
Let's test!

 

Going To An Open Call

An open call is one of the ways a model agency discovers new models.  An open call can be exciting. However, if it’s your first time it can be confusing or you might be nervous. 

The most important thing is to:

  • Be prepared
  • Pay attention to the casting requirements
  • Be interactive & bring the energy

Be Prepared

An open call is a simple process with minimal requirements. You can make it more enjoyable if you do a bit of preparation.

  • Do research on the agency you’re visiting.  Find out where they are located, what style of models they have on their boards, how long they’ve been in business, etc. You’ll want to make sure the agency is the right fit for you.
  • Although the event may be 2-3 hours it’s best if you arrive near or at the beginning. This gives you an opportunity to listen to any opening remarks and gives you plenty of time to fill out any paperwork. 
  • It’s OK to bring your parents or a friend, but they should stay in the background and not interfere with the process.
  • Know your measurements, your shoe size & how tall you are. The agency might measure you just to make sure. Be as precise as possible. 
  • Wear the recommended clothing. If the requirements are not listed on the casting information then it’s best to wear a simple (black or white) properly fitting top (tank top or t-shirt) and properly fitting jeans or leggings. If you wear skinny jeans make sure they are not too tight. This is no time to show off your fashion sense. 
  • For girls keep your makeup & hair very basic. 
  • Don’t wear jewelry (if your ears are pierced it’s OK to wear simple earrings). Your watch is OK. 
  • Not all agencies follow-up after the open call unless they want to call you back. Don’t be upset if you don’t get a call back.
  • Be prepared to answer a few questions from the casting agents. They might ask you why you want to be a model, what is your experience, are you in school, what sports do you participate, what type of modeling are you interested in, etc. The agent wants to learn a little about you but also wants to get a hint of your personality.
  • Bring an ID to verify who you are.  A school ID, a work ID or drivers license if perfect. This is not always required, but helpful.
  • Be prepared to have your picture taken. This isn’t a portfolio-styled photograph, but a few simple photos so the agency can remember you.  
  • If you already have a portfolio book bring it, but it’s not required.

Pay attention to the casting requirements

Open calls are for everyone and unless stated are open to the public. However, agencies are casting models that meet their needs & requirements. Therefore it’s best to read the casting requirements. If you meet the requirements your chances of getting a call back are much greater. A casting often recommends a height & age minimum. It might also recommend what to wear.

Be Interactive and Bring The Energy

Your personality is as important as your looks. First impressions are super important so let your personality show. Don’t be over the top and unnatural, but this is not the time to be shy and introverted.  Remember, you are selling yourself.

  • Answer questions with enthusiasm
  • Make sure you tell the agency why you want to be a model or want to be signed by the agency
  • Smile
  • Be prepared to ask the agency questions you might have about the process
  • Say thank you

It’s really that simple.  Just remember, have fun!