Modeling Agency Scams
One of the most basic kinds of modeling agency scams is an individual, a couple, a group, or company calling itself a modeling agency, when it is not a modeling agency.
A photographer, for example, may call himself a modeling agency, when in reality all he has is a photo studio. A photo studio, however, is not a modeling agency.
There are also modeling agencies which are photo mills. They do not get people work. They do not make all their money from commissions after models work; instead, they make most of their money or even all of their money from modeling photos, before a model gets any work.
This type of modeling agency runs what is one of the most basic kinds of modeling agency scams: a modeling photography scam.
The modeling agency pretends it is going to get aspiring models work, and to do that, the aspiring model will need photos, or comp cards, or a portfolio.
So the hopeful model pays hundreds or thousands of dollars on photography, but never gets any work.
A major modeling agency scam is when the agency makes all its money from photography, or it takes all the money the models spend on photos. They can do this because they have their own photographer(s). (If, for example, a model spends $1,000 on photos, the agency takes and keeps $1,000.)
A very similar scam, or the same scam at a different degree, is when a modeling agency works with a modeling photographer and can make half of all the money the models spend on photos. (If, for example, a model spends $1,000 on photos, the agency keeps $500, and the photographer keeps $500.)
The agency requires or highly recommends a specific photographer because they have a partnership -- a secret agreement -- where the agency and the photographer split the fees.
To many aspiring models all modeling agencies initially, at least, look the same.
Reputable modeling agencies require their models get comp cards; and scam modeling agencies also require their models get comp cards; so how can you tell if a modeling agency is a scam or legitimate?
The answer can be found by looking at two issues: work and photographers.
Regarding work, three questions must be asked of all modeling agencies:
1. How many of their models get work?
If none of the models get work, it is more than likely a total scam.
If most of the models get work, but they don't do more than one modeling job, and they don't make more than they paid for modeling photos (comp cards), it could be a modeling scam.
A legitimate modeling agency cannot guarantee all its models will work. After all, which models work and which models do not work is not the choice of the agency. The best they can do is recommend specific models to their clients, but the clients ultimately decide.
But at a legitimate modeling agency the majority of the models will work, and the majority will make more money from modeling than they paid for comp cards; the comp cards will pay for themselves.
If you only check into the first question, i.e., how many of the models get work, you can be deceived. In certain regions, there are few modeling jobs, and most of the jobs do not pay well. So you can have the situation where all of the models get work, but none of them make a profit on their investment (comp cards).
If you only check into the second question, i.e., how much work do the models get, you can also be deceived. In certain regions, most of the jobs do not pay well. So you can have the situation where all of the models get work, but they earn little and, indeed, none of them make a profit on their investment (comp cards).
If you only check into the third question, i.e., how much money do the models make, you may be better off than asking just the first or second question, but you can still be deceived. What if only one or two models make good money, while the rest make little or nothing?
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