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Model Agencies, Web Listings...
Model Agencies are employment agencies and as such are regulated by state laws governing employment agencies. They are regulated as to their practices and fees that they charge. Agencies may be affiliated with Modeling Schools but their main function is to make money by finding their models work and earning a fee by doing so.
Web Listing Services bring the power of the Internet to individual models by providing a web page for their portfolio and basic information. Depending on the provider the listing may be free or have a monthly or annual fee. Listing Services get their income from fees and on site advertising, they provide you with a way of advertising your availability for work but they take no role in getting you work.
Managers are usually photographers working with listing services who will manage your listing and filter any job request for you. To some extent they are like a model agency but operating without state regulation. They may charge you a fee for managing your listing page and they may be more interested in building a "stable" of models on the listing service as a marketing tool to shoot more models rather than having any interest in your career. They may not only filter out prank job offers but legitimate ones as well.
The Internet has brought a large number of Model Listing Service ( links to some are provided at the bottom of this page) some are free, others have a modest charge. What they provide is a web page listing with a small portfolio of your work , the type of assignments you are looking for , your stats and a comment area. They also provide you with some degree of anonymity in that emails to you go through them so no one sees your actual e-mail address . Most models use only their first name or a pseudonym to further insure anonymity as well as only the name of the nearest city as opposed to the actual town they live in. The advantage to listing services over personal web pages is that they provide search capabilities not available to private web pages. Lets say I need a model for a swimwear shoot at the Jersey or Delaware Shore with a listing service I can search by state for models seeking swimwear work. If I am looking for a blonde or redhead I can also specify that also. A link to your own Personal Web Page may be included in their package. If you are looking for a photographer in your area they may have a photographer section where you can see samples of their work and a link to their Web site. Bulletined Boards and chat rooms provide a basis for networking and sharing thoughts. Some Web Lists are also real model agencies and have their "inventory" of models and portfolios on line and like other agencies they do not charge you anything affront but do collect commissions on work the secure for you.
A good marketing plan for your modeling career will start with being represented by one or more modeling agencies ( most agencies have non exclusive contracts with their talent so you can be represented in Philadelphia by one agency and another in New York or Paris or on the internet). To that add a web Listing services , a good working relationship with several local photographers and your own modeling web page. If you are listed on a web listing service through a relationship with a photographer make sure you have the password for your listing and or that the e-mail goes to you.
Your web page and listings should be professional and dedicated to your modeling activites, not your prom pictures or photos of your friends. Before plunging into developing your web site of getting on a listing check out what others are doing. The two best model listing services that I am familiar with are One Model Place and Garage Glamour. One Model Place has both free and fee listings with the number of pictures you can post vary depending on your level of memvership. Without having to sign up for membership you can get limited acess to the site and search for models or photographers in your area and see their portfolio. In their Recent Image section you can browse the last 5000 images posted to the site. When you do to model or photographers site not only can you view their portfolio but also their linked web page.
Garage Glamour is a fee based service and has a smaller but more professional database. OMP has many beginner models who may not have any images in their portfolio. Review the listings as if you were in the market to hire a model . See which sites are really professional and then try to emulate them in your site and try to avoid trite statements like you work very hard and want to succede etc, You want to project yourself as a MODEL not a WANNABE.
Agencies and Schools
Online model Agencies
Model listing Web sites