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How To Get Scouted By A Modeling Agency

Posted by on in Glamour Photography
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Steered by fashion’s fickle whim, the best modeling agencies are always looking for new talent, and for an aspiring model, the right agency can make a career. Signing to a reputed agency can be a gateway to editorial shoots that bolster a model’s portfolio, not to mention catwalk opportunities and advertising campaigns.

A goldmine girl can also be lucrative for agencies, which make money by taking a 20% commission of all model earnings, while also charging brands an additional 20% of a model’s rate for each booking.

Supermodel scouting stories are the now stuff of legend: Kate Moss (2015 earnings: $4.5 million) was discovered in JFK airport, while Gisele Bundchen (2015 earnings: $44 million) was found in a mall in Brazil. Adriana Lima (2015 earnings $9 million) rose to fame from a Ford modeling competition, and Karlie Kloss (2015 earnings: $5 million) was first spotted in a charity fashion show.

Today, the 21 highest-paid models who earned a combined $147 million are represented by one of four agencies in the U.S. More than half the models are signed to IMG, while Women Management, The Society Management and DNA Models each manage several of fashion’s money-making elite.

Yet as models compete with movie actresses and TV stars for high-paying beauty contracts and endorsement deals, the appetite for versatile supermodels who can build a following of their own has never been greater. Agencies are now casting their eyes wider, searching music festivals such as Coachella, and scrolling Instagram feeds through campaigns like IMG’s @WeLoveYourGenes, which invites aspiring models to hashtag their photos with #WLYG to be considered.

In the new age of digital scouting, here are five tips from two top agents on how to get signed:

Do your research

“The best agencies in the world are universal–you can look them up on,” says Chris Gay, general manager of The Society Management. Find out which agency you might aspire to by browsing their current roster and jot down their contact details.

Don’t waste money on expensive shoots 

“You don’t need to be shooting professional photos,” says Gay, who suggests models send prospective agencies honest, amateur shots. “You can send 60 second video of yourself and it’s as easy as that.”

Look natural 

“Take the most effortless beauty pictures, not a lot of makeup or hair, just be yourself,” advises Ivan Bart, President of IMG Models. “We like to see women as natural beauties wearing just a simple t-shirt and pair of jeans–we can leave the industry to imagine all the hair and makeup and clothing options.”

Cut out the middle man

If a scout hasn’t stumbled upon you, go to them. “Email images of yourself directly to the agency,” suggests Gay.

Be personable

Successful models aren’t just an image, they are people with a personality and drive. Model/actress Cara Delevingne, who banked $9 million this year, has no problems sharing goofy pictures and videos alongside social advocacy messages with her 19.5 million Instagram followers. Write something interesting and compelling as an Instagram caption, Social media gives you a voice, so use it to be compelling.

I'm a Melbourne based beauty, glamour and lifestyle photographer specializing in modeling portfolios. With a dark and moody approach to creativity and a penchant for the dramatic, my love for shooting beauty and glamour has allowed me to travel and work with professional and aspiring models across New Zealand and Australia.

Reggie Singh is a accomplished professional photographer, digital strategist and social media influencer based in Melbourne, Australia.