Monthly Archives: October 2012

Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive Agency


If more than one agency sends you on the same audition and you get the job, then there becomes a discrepancy between who gets paid. For this reason, there are exclusive contracts. It makes things simpler if one agency has an exclusive contract and the other does not. If both have exclusive contracts, you could be obligated to pay both agencies. If both have non-exclusive contracts you could still be obligated to pay both. However, who caused you to get the job may be considered. 


If an agency signs all of their models exclusive, that can mean they either don’t sign that many models (less competition for you) and/or only sign those they know they can market (you’re more likely to get booked). The benefit you receive from this is the confidence the agent has in getting you booked because you’re more marketable for what their clients are looking for.


One reason an agent signs exclusive contracts is so that any work the model gets- whether they find it or not- they get a percentage. In an exclusive contract, if a model gets work on their own, they can still be legally required to pay their agent the percentage they are contractually obligated to. A non-exclusive contract will typically only require a model to pay their agent a fee when the agent is the procuring cause. To me, this is fair. 


  • If you have an exclusive contract with an agent, consider you may not be able to get work independently or from another agency, without paying that agent their fee.
  • Working with more than one agency can be a good thing in a smaller market because you increase your chances of getting work.
  • If you get booked for a job on your own, you can still be obligated to pay your exclusive agency. 


*Note that I say “may not” because I am not an attorney. Any legal concerns should be discussed with a licensed attorney.  Below is part of an example of a non-exclusive contract from



How Do I Get Into Modeling

The first thing people do when getting into modeling is go see an agent. The agent evaluates whether they can market you or not. Before they can decide that, they need to know if you can move in front of a camera. If you don’t have photographs already and they feel it’s worth the investment, they may send you to get photographed. If you photograph well, they will build you a portfolio book and get you up to speed on your technique. A reputable agency will never have you pay for things like training, photographs, or composite cards.

Reputable agencies make money when you do. If you get a lot of no’s, don’t get frustrated, give in, and sign with whatever agency will take you. Do your research and make sure you’re signing with a good match. An agency that says all you have to do is get a portfolio, etc., “oh, and by the way, that will be x amount of dollars” doesn’t have your best interest in mind and most likely makes money off you instead of the client. Most “scam” agencies are a thing of the past, but still some exist. 

If you don’t want to go the route of finding an agency, and decide you want to try it on your own, you will need to market yourself. In order to market yourself, you will need a portfolio book and composite cards. Depending on what type of modeling you want to do, you may also need to be able to walk down a runway. Later I will post some photo movement and runway techniques, as well as a link to a video for demonstration. We will also talk in more detail on how to break into your market, getting auditions and bookings. The first step is to start with a portfolio book, and then comp cards. 

A portfolio needs to be black and measure between 9″X12″ to 11″X14″. The prints should also measure to fit the size of the book, and they should all be consistent in size. The pages of the book should not be removable and should have a pocket in the back used for comp cards. The book should consist of a variety of looks, including commercial and catalog,  high fashion and editorial, beauty, figure, headshots, 3/4 shots, and full length, to name a few. This is to show your versatility and make you appeal to a wide audience. Some people specialize in certain markets and demographics, and build a portfolio that appeals to those specific clients. I specialize in beauty because I have high cheek bones, and bridal and cosmetics because of my location and area demographic. 

A comp card measures about 5″X7″, has images on both sides, your name on the front and measurements (height, bust, waist, hips, shoe size, etc.) and contact information on the back. The front typically is of your best headshot and while the back has 4 other images that best represent you and provide versatility to your market and demographic. Again, something that shows your full length, a closer up shot like 3/4 length, and something that shows the condition of your body like a figure shot, to name a few. 

For comp card printing, you can try for pricing and quotes. 

For portfolio books, you can try Pricing for a 9X12 book can run between $40-$70 depending on the quality.




Pitching Yourself to a Magazine

James Patrick Photography blogged an interview with a fitness magazine editor  that will help any model looking to get more exposure and portfolio credentials. The following are condensed points to the interview I find most helpful in getting a submission accepted. You can also click the above link for the full article. 

  • The submission needs relevant to the magazine
  • Media is always in need of interesting, well-written, innovative articles
  • Submit finished photos, not contact sheets
  • Photos need to be a good reflection of how you currently look
  • The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models
  • Understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day
  • Pitches from photographers tend to go over better than pitches from models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Angela Brown, Owner of  SLUG Magazine, suggests emailing your submission to a targeted magazine editor, press list, or list of magazine editors, and making sure you bcc the contacts when you send it out to a list. Angela sets up a Google Word Alert for her submissions (with the name of the headline if, for example, it’s an article submission) so that you get alerts when people write about it online because you don’t always get notified when they write about your release/submission -even if you ask them, they just don’t always have the time to.

INTERVIEW with LaRue Novick, the Editor in Chief of Max Sports and Fitness Magazine:

Understanding a fairly hectic schedule, how often do you get pitches from models, trainers, writers, photographers, etc?
I probably receive a handful each week.

MS&F March 2011 Cover

March 2011 Cover

When it comes to models pitching themselves to you; and taking into account how many pitches you have to get; how important is it for a model to have a unique pitch story?
MS&F is different from other national magazines in that it is Max Muscle Sports Nutrition’s No. 1 marketing piece. To explain, this magazine, which is more than 100,000 in circulation, is distributed to more than 140 Max Muscle stores across the nation. From the stores, the magazines are distributed into their local communities at drop off sites that include gyms, doctor’s offices, high schools, yoga studios, YMCA’s, etc.

The magazine is intended to “sell” Max Muscle products, but it’s more than that. When I took over, the magazine was more about driving ads and the body-building industry, which sometimes embarrassed some of the Max Muscle franchisees who wouldn’t be able to drop off particular issues because of the racy, super-muscled content. Today, the magazine is a true lifestyle magazine covering everything from beauty and fitness to nutrition and supplements.

With all of that said, most of the profile pieces in our magazine have to do with Max Muscle customers and franchisees. So, if a fitness model comes to me with a unique and inspirational article (particularly a weight loss story), I most likely can’t do a profile piece unless that person takes Max Muscle supplements.

MS&F Interior Page

However, we do feature people who aren’t Max Muscle customers from time to time, especially if they have a big name in the industry. For example, fitness models in our workout articles do not necessarily have to be Max Muscle customers.

What are some of the things which help some applicants stand out over others?
If you are a fitness model and a trainer AND a writer, we’re in business as I always need interesting, well-written, innovative workout articles. Also, if you let me know you are willing to travel to do a shoot and you are always photo ready (trust me, some are NOT), it helps you stand out.

We have a tiny budget, so our models work for Max Muscle product and for clips for their portfolios, plus the national recognition that comes with being in a national magazine!

Do you prefer when you get pitches via e-mail, fax, regular mail or other?
E-MAIL! There’s only so much room in my office!

How many photos do you like to see included with a pitch?
Doesn’t matter, but definitely want to see a variety. Please, do not send me contact sheets from photo shoots because I don’t want to see images where your eyes are closed or you’re making a funny face (haha!). I want to see finished photos.

Have you come across some definite No-No’s when it comes to applicants contacting you
Don’t be pushy and tell me you’re the best for the job and why and then keep emailing me to see if I got your previous 10 emails. Also, if you are a huge bodybuilder (male or female) with veins popping out everywhere, we’re not interested.

Without names, do you have any stories about a difficult experience you had in working with someone?
It’s frustrating when you choose fitness models because of their pictures and they show up for the shoot all flabby and not at all like they looked in the photos. It wastes everyone’s time and that is just unprofessional. I’ve had that happen a few times. Now, I ask potential models to send me a picture with their camera phone. And it better be current.

How much contact is too much contact?
One follow-up e-mail will suffice if you haven’t heard from me yet. I save all e-mails from models in a specific “models” folder and will refer to that when necessary.

What are some of the best pitches you think you have seen?
Truthfully, pitches from photographers such as James Patrick and Mike Byerly have been better than pitches from fitness models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Any parting comments to readers?
Just understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day wanting something. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. That doesn’t mean we don’t like you or don’t care or will never use you. The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models vying for a coveted spot in national magazines.

FREE print and runway model training (Salt Lake City, UT)

I have been a professional modeling coach for 10+ years and am offering free one-on-one photo movement and runway training. Take your career to the next level by perfecting your craft, prepare yourself for a modeling career, learn what it takes, or just see what it’s all about. The purpose is to gather content for this blog. All are welcome and there are no requirements except to be timely to your appointment. If interested, please email your availability and the training you are interested in to book your time slot by going to this link:

The Harsh Reality of Worshiped Youth

Sustainable Modeling: modeling where age and other stereotypes don’t matter


The career of a model is short lived and usually only lasts until the early 20’s. Has the industry develop this standard or did women drop out of the race when they became older?

My experience so far has been that you get to a certain age where things become more difficult and you have to work harder to be what you were in your 20’s. Staying in shape and being fit takes more effort. Looking healthy is a bigger challenge. I don’t know that many people who will work too hard on the way they look. But I am determined to try. Not only to see if it’s possible, but to see if we can push the industry away from having beauty be determined by youth. Youth is determined by the amount of wrinkles and sun spots you have- not by how beautiful you are. Next week, a local T.V. station will be screening a film series on the harsh realities of youth in the modeling industry.

Can I still have wrinkles and be considered beautiful? Designers have produced some images that have tested this theory. The results have proven that it doesn’t hurt a brand if the image is good enough. I would like to contact some of them directly and see if I can get an interview on the subject. For now…

Everything has to be so perfect in every way and is very oriented towards something unattainable. Celia Peterson of Eco Verse -a sustainability company, says organic and sustainable beauty is something that values signs of life and living, growth, and personality, rather than a synthetic doll. It creates poverty of the whole idea of beauty, and like art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What benefit do we get from someone else telling us what beauty is? Actually, there is no scarcity of beauty in the world, at all. Stylist Tyson Daniels says, “There’s no such thing as an ugly woman- just a lazy one.” Still, recreation and decompression need proper balance, and that’s where the organic part comes into play. Plus, with organic beauty, many of these designers can finally move their marketing campaigns to the next level.