Note - part of this blog post is a repost of a blog post I wrote for SEEN Model Management's blog
Booking a model whether freelance or agency represented is straightforward.
An important note – professional models, both freelance or agency represented, expect to be paid for modeling. Unless “Time For Print” is agreed with the model or agency the model will be paid. There are exceptions (i.e. the agency has approved a test photoshoot or photoshoot for submission) but you should have a budget for the model.
OK, so you’re ready to book a model. If the model is freelance simply contact the model directly. Most often this is through their social media accounts or a website. Once contacted each model may have a different process they would like you to follow including how they would like to be paid and what information they need. Be respectful and follow it. Normally, all communications / discussions take place online via email, web-forms, DM, IM, etc.
Booking an agency-represented model is different. You book a model through the agency. This is one of the reasons a model signs with an agency. They want an agency to handle the basic business & booking transactions.
Most agencies ask that you NOT contact the model directly or negotiate the booking with the model. You will be working with an agency contact. Each model agency has different procedures for booking models, but it’s best to contact the agency first to learn their policies. Most model contracts have a clause stating all transactions must go through the agency. Therefore, if you reach out to the model directly it can get the model into hot water with their agency. Don’t be that person.
Once you reach the agency they will ask specifics about the photoshoot, what model or models you are interested in booking, your budget, ask about the need for a casting, let you know who’s available, send you comp cards, etc. Simply follow the agency’s process. Remember, even if you have an established relationship be prepared to pay the agency. The agency will pay the model less commission expenses.
Finally, don't be surprised if a model and / or an agency doesn't follow-up. This may be because you're portfolio doesn't match their needs, you don't have a portfolio at all, they don't feel they will get benefit from the shoot, something warns them off, they are too busy, or they are just rude. Bottomline, you may not get feedback. Don't take it personally & don't pester the model or agency beyond a simple follow-up. Just try someone else.
At the end of the day, the process is easy. Now go out there an hire a model!