Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Way of the Agencies

$150,000 worth of advertising from 2 full-page color ads in Seventeen and Teen Vogue

"Given that you no longer test girls directly from the [modeling] agencies, aren't you afraid that you'll become irrelevant with them?"

I'm absolutely afraid I'll become irrelevant.

Afraid I'll be irrelevant with the agencies?


My clients have hired girls from all the top agencies here in LA. And while agents might forget to call you back, they don't forget to call me back. Neither do they forget who I am.

Lest I decide not to cast from them for my clients' next campaigns.

Agencies are businesses. Let me repeat that in case you didn't get that the first time.

Modeling agencies are businesses.

So when you're sitting there scratching your head wondering why the agent/agency hasn't called you back regarding an unpaid test, ask yourself the following question,

"Where do I stand on this totem pole of priorities for the agent/agency? How important am I to this agent/agency?"

If you haven't figured that this is a leading question, let me help you out. Unpaid tests are called unpaid tests for a reason. They are unpaid. Hence there is no monetary exchange. You are not paying the agency/model. Neither is the agency nor the model paying you. And being that the agency is first and foremost a business, you as an unpaid test photographer are doing nothing for their bottom line.

Which is why I always distinguish between a paid test and an unpaid test.

Now one might argue, "But I'm helping their models build their portfolios so they can get better jobs".

Yes sir, you are. But you and every other photographer lined up behind you around the block, are trying to shoot these agency girls for free. Do you think you are offering a service that the agency can not easily attain elsewhere? You will be replaced faster than Honey Boo Boo can eat 10 cupcakes. You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else (Fight Club).

Unless of course you are paying the agency or have clients that are paying the agency. In that case the world is your oyster. Agents will go out of their way to be extra nice to you. They will always call/email you back. They will never forget that you represent clients.

Hell, some agents still email me from regularly just to check in and see when my clients' next big campaigns are happening. Clients that pay the full day rate (sometimes several thousand dollars). That's money in the bank for the agencies. Literally.

So, no I'm not afraid agencies will forget me. They never bite nor forget the hand that feeds.

So what's the takeaway? Show that you are a source of business for the agencies. That you are a gatekeeper. Or at least a matchmaker. Show them the money and they will shower you with all the models you ever need for testing.


  1. That's the blunt truth of reality, well said Lucima~

  2. Good evening Charles :)

    Again, been a while since I read Your blog last time but I see that nothing has changed - You write and give the best advices as You can, as always :) Just stopped to say hello from and old friend and fan!