Agency vs. Freelance

For the most part, Modelresource delivers information for models represented by agencies. We do this because represented models tend to gain more notoriety and land bigger contracts than those representing themselves.

Still, we recognize that depending on an individual's unique attributes, geography and circumstances, the freelance option may be more advantageous to some.

If you are in a market that has at least one modelling agency, we recommend you at least meet with them before you choose to go it alone. If nothing else, you will get a better understanding of the industry, and possibly gain some insight into the local market.

Below, we've listed many of the PROS and CONS of working through an agency:

PRO: The biggest strength of an agency is the industry knowledge it should possess. A good agency should understand what types of photos will best market a model – and which photographers can deliver those types of photos.

CON: Some agencies have agreements, in which the agency receives a kickback from the photographer, in exchange for providing the models. It isn't always in the model's best interest to shoot with these photographers.

PRO: Clients often check yellow pages, industry directories, or the internet to find local agencies. If you aren't represented by an agency, you won't be found by these clients.

CON: Smaller advertisers often can't afford agency rates. A freelance model that is willing to take the time to make contacts can profit from opportunities agencies wouldn't even know about.

PRO: Represented models are often scouted by larger agencies from other markets. Scouts will travel to see what smaller agencies can offer, and often hold “castings” in the agency's environment. A freelance model would miss such opportunities.

CON: If, however, you don't aspire to work internationally, then you can avoid the egos and complications that can go with such ordeals.

PRO: An agency will usually get a higher contract for their models. There is an assumption that represented models have more professionalism and experience than a freelancer. There is also an agency to hold responsible if something goes wrong.

CON: A freelance model is entitled to the entire payment from a contract. There is no commission to hand over to your agency. Also, some clients will have had a bad experience in the past with this agency or one of its models, and may elect to NOT work with them ever again.

PRO: An agency will likely have an easier time collecting from clients after the completion of the contract. There are always clients who will become delinquent, but agencies usually have a better chance of receiving the payment through various means.

CON: Some agencies are less than honest, and may not remit the full amount of payment to which you are entitled. A model has very little recourse in such events, since they weren't the ones who negotiated the contract.

PRO: Agencies are usually more familiar with the terms that should go into the contracts. They will stipulate cancellation fees, weather permits, overtime, etc. A freelance model is more likely to be taken advantage of.

CON: Agencies get lazy at times, or are fearful of upsetting a client. It's not uncommon for an agency to ignore the terms of a contract (at the expense of a model) in hopes of getting a repeat booking.

PRO: Agencies are contacted by clients because they represent people of a certain appearance. If you have the right appearance (to fit what clients are seeking) you are more likely to benefit from an agency.

CON: If your appearance differs from the stereotypical model, people may not go looking for your type at an agency.