How to become a modeling agency photographer by Heidi Hope Photography

In our post “Kids’ Modeling and Talent Agencies 101“, I mentioned that I would write a Tips Tuesday on how to approach agencies to shoot for them! Here’s a quick primer on approaching the industry.

First, why would you want to shoot for a modeling and talent agency?

  • The agency will send clients to you year-round
  • Your clients will LOVE being in front of your camera
  • Shoots are shorter- usually around 1 hour for a 5-look comp card
  • Minimal editing and printing

Why might you NOT want to shoot for an agency?

  • Some agencies require a certain price point for their models and talent that you don’t control
  • Some agencies require “referral fees” per client that you shoot
  • Shoots tend to be fast-paced, with a tendency toward less creative shots (no editorial!)
  • Little to no print or product orders

What to consider when approaching an agency:

  • Location. Agencies will look for a group of photographers from a variety of locations around their state to accommodate their clients. Make sure it’s a reasonable drive from your house!
  • Style. Some agencies are “All American”, and some are strictly “Fashion”. If you’re not comfortable with studio lighting, pick a more casual agency.
  • Quality. Choose an agency that you would send your own child to. See this article. 🙂

Submitting and Interview

Most agencies are very email-driven now. When I approached Cameo Kids, I wrote a quick introductory email with my name, my website with portfolio, and why I would be a good fit in terms of style and location (Key word: QUICK. Make it short!). I also attached a one-page PDF of the same information with 4 of my best photos, as a quick at-a-glance of my business.

When they emailed back with interest, I was called in for a formal interview with the director. She wanted to see a “book” of my work to check that it translated well to print. I brought a book of about 15 images, sat with her for about 30 minutes, and was added to their “preferred photographer” list as a photographer specializing in child models. This list is given to every accepted model, and the parents decide who they would like to book with from there. Some agencies pair models with photographers based on location and style, and others let the parents choose.

You could also cold-call the agency or walk in with your portfolio, but it’s my opinion that busy agency directors like to review submissions when their schedule permits it. Make sure to check on the agency website for specific photog submission guidelines!

Good luck! 🙂