Finding the Right Agency

How to Become a Model

Have you ever been told that you have “the look”?

They’re words that every aspiring model longs to hear… but what are the next steps from there? All models must make a very important decision as to whether they work with a modelling agency, or go freelance (which means that they are self-represented and manage all of the marketing of themselves individually).

If you’ve decided that you want to work with a modelling agency, you’re now probably asking yourself “How do I find the right modelling agency?” and “How do I get booked as a model?”

There is a process to go about finding how to work with an agency and more importantly, how to find the right agency to work with.

Step One: Nail Your Niche
In order to find the right modelling agency to work with, you need to first determine what kind of modelling that you’d like to do – as this will inform you which agencies are suitable from the start. Next, you’ll need to do some research online and find out what modelling agencies are in your local area. If you live in a major city or CBD Australia, it’s relatively easy to find agencies in your city. There are plenty of major modelling agencies in Australia with offices/scouts in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Darwin, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. If you live in a rural area of Australia… it may be a little more difficult to find a modelling agency near you (so you’ll need to be prepared to either dig a little deeper in your research or potentially travel to your nearest city to meet with agencies).

TIP: Pick up a copy of a local magazine advertising things happening in your nearest city and look for an advertisement that has people in it. At the bottom of the ad (or somewhere in the magazine credits) you’ll find the advertiser – go online to try and find their phone number. Then, call the advertiser and ask them for the name of the agency that creates their ads. Go online again and find the phone number of the ad agency, call them and ask them which modelling agency they usually book their models through.

Note, this approach relies on people being forthcoming with information… but as a model you’ll need to be friendly, personable and persuasive so time to put these skills to the test!

Step Two: Do Your Research
When researching and selecting a modelling agency, exercise caution as there are some modelling agency scams… it’s crucial to do your homework! And of course if you are handed a pre-prepared contract by an agency, take the time to thoroughly read what you’re signing and be sure you understand what you’re agreeing to. If you don’t understand, we strongly recommend seeking legal assistance. In most CBDs in Australia, there are free legal services available to help you understand your paperwork if you don’t have the funds available for a legal service.

When doing your research, be sure to take note of the types of models that an agency is working with – this will give you an understanding of whether your personal look and niche is a good fit for the agency (as well as whether the agency is the right fit for your needs at this point of your career).

It’s important to note that a legitimate modelling agency will usually work solely on commission and as such, is expected to absorb the initial cost needed to market you as a model to their clients. Some agencies will ask you to refund them for these costs down the track – however if any agency asks you to pay the administrative, consultation or registration fees upfront, run! Any reputable agency will pay for your test shoots, lessons in acting and modelling (if you need any) and comp cards.

Step Three: Put Yourself Out There
Once you’ve discovered an agency that you’d potentially like to work with, now it’s time to book an appointment (or even, if you feel it’s the right approach, show up to their office in person with your portfolio in hand.). Without a doubt, never show up at any agency without a portfolio… we cannot stress this enough! An in-person visit to your agency of choice will give you a first hand look at the agency’s legitimacy, overall vibe and whether the agency is the best fit for your needs. Please also note, if an agency explicitly states that they don’t host open casting calls – do not show up unannounced! Agencies are busy and you don’t want to give anyone the impression that you’re intrusive, pushy or unobservant.

If a modelling agency has open calls, castings or “Go Sees” then be sure to always attend and always bring your portfolio. An in-person appearance is always beneficial as an aspiring mode (particularly if your portfolio right now is made mainly of snapshots rather than industry/campaign work, it’s always helpful for an agency to see your look in person).

And, before you sign on the dotted line for any modelling agency, make sure to assess how professional the environment is and ask any questions you need about the business… as well as meeting the booker! A booker will be managing every aspect of your modelling career if you sign with an agency, so it’s important that you feel good about your booker. As an aspiring model, a booker will help you strengthen your portfolio, highlight your best skills, assets and features and present you to the agency’s clients. They’ll also manage your schedule so always make sure to meet the booker before signing anything – you want to make sure you trust your booker!

Step Four: Be Courteous
It’s important to remember that modelling agencies typically won’t call you unless they’re interested – so while it’s okay to follow up with a phone call to see if they’d like to talk more about booking you, be sure to pay attention to the signs that they give you and be sure not to hassle them. If they’re not interested, try not to take it personally. Simply move on and find another agency. As every supermodel will tell you, most models face plenty of agency rejections until they find the right fit. It may be hard work now, but it makes for a great success story if you make it!

If you’re serious about your modelling career, be sure to carefully consider whether you want to be self-represented or represented by an agency. While some may be comfortable freelance and don’t want to outlay commission costs to an agency, consider also the positive impact that a modelling agency may have on your career.

Agencies and bookers have connections, can put you in front of the right people and can help you develop as a model, so they can be an invaluable asset to your career if you get the right agency!

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How to become a model in Australia


Advance – An advance can sometimes be given to in-demand models to secure their acceptance for a booking, similar to a deposit or down payment. However lesser known models generally do not receive advances.

Advertorial – Created and paid for by an advertiser, but has the appearance of an editorial.

Agency – See Modeling Agency

Art director The art director is the person who is responsible for visual style and images of an ad or editorial presentation at a magazine, photo shoot and the like.  The art director’s decisions will determine the overall design and the kind of models used in the production, they may even be involved in selecting specific models.

Audition – Auditions are also often referred to as open calls, go sees or castings. These auditions are held so that agencies can find fresh new models that they may book for modelling jobs. These open calls allow will usually last a few hours. Clients may also hold auditions with models from different agencies in attendance.


Book – Refer to Portfolio

Booker A Booker is an employee of the model agency who acts as a middleman between the client and the model. As the name suggests the booker negotiates the modelling jobs with their clients.

Bookout – A bookout is simply a period of time that you are unable to work be it for professional or personal reasons. As you are not available no clients will be able to book you in for that period.

Buyouts – A buyout refers to the purchase by a client to the rights to a model’s image for a designated period of time, there will also be conditions such as type of media and geographic region.


Call Time – The time at which a model should be at the specified location, however as with any new job being around 15 minutes early is recommended.

Call Back / Recall – A call back refers to a model being asked back for another viewing to help narrow down the agency or clients selections. Receiving a call back may or may not result in a model being selected.

Call Sheet –  Call sheets are used throughout multiple industry’s to detail the specifics such as the where and when associated with the project. They can include, but are not limited to information such as the location and directions to the shoot, hair and makeup requirements, direction of the campaign etc. However sometimes the agency will simply provide the model with a phone call or email with his or her particulars.

Casting – A casting is a notice sent out to models, agencies and sometimes modeling websites advising of the details required for upcoming productions. These can range from a call where everyone and anyone can apply to advising specific or predetermined models to introduce themselves to the client.

Casting Agency – See Modeling Agency

Casting Detail Sheet – See Call sheet

Cattle Call –  See Audition

Catwalk – A catwalk, or sometimes referred to as a runway, is an area or space used by models during a fashion show to show off the clothing and accessories to the audience. A catwalk is usually a long and narrow elevated platform, however in more recent times there has been a shift to same level runways.

Close Up – A close up is an image or video of a model taken a close range. It provides a more detailed image than regular shots.

Commission – Commission when relating to modeling is the fee you pay to your manager or agency. This will usually be a percentage of the amount your receive for completing your modeling job.

Composite Card – Composite cards can have multiple names such as comp card, sedcard or zedcard, either way they are a models business card. The composite card consists of a piece of card on which at least two of your images are placed preferably in various outfits, poses and settings. The card should include your name, statistics and contact information, it should also show your agency’s information. A good agency will compile and print your comp cards for you.

Cover Shooting – A cover shoot is a photo shoot designed to be placed on the cover of a magazine , a cover shoot can be a huge deal for an aspiring model.


Editorial – Editorial images or photographs are created to illustrate a story or idea within the context of the subject, they cannot be used for commercial purposes. Editorial works most commonly appear in magazines, newspapers, on the internet and sometimes can appear on television.


Fitting – A fitting is where the clothes to be modelled are fit onto the model in a session before the actual photo shoot. They clothes may be altered to fit the particular model so there may be a fair amount of standing around while items are made to measure.

Freelance – A  freelancer is a model who is not exclusively represented by any one agency.


Go&See – The term go&see quite literally means to go and see someone, in a commercial environment the model will meet up with a casting person about a particular job, however with fashion it usually means to see someone who will keep you in mind for future jobs.


Lingerie – Lingerie is a word used to describe sexy or appealing underwear.

Location – Location refers to where a photo shot or job takes place. If you are booked for an on location job it is recommenced that you prepare yourself accordingly for the advised environment.


Modeling Agency – A modeling agency is a company or business that matched models to clients. Agencies usually earn their income via commission paid from the client to the model.  The agency represents the models and works to actively promotes them.

Model Release – A Model Release is a legal document releasing the rights to the images taken by the photographer at a particular session. Should the images be used without the release or in a way not documented in the the release the model and grounds to sue for breach of contract.


New Faces – As the term suggests new faces refers to models who are new to the modeling world and usually do not have a professional book or portfolio yet.


Plus Size – A plus size model is the term used to describe models who primarily model plus-size clothing. They are becoming increasingly popular in recent years.


Runway – See Catwalk.


Sedcard – See Composite Card.

Senior model – A senior or mature age model is a professional forty plus model. Mature models are used to target particular demographics.

Set – See Location.


Tearsheet – A tearsheet is a page that has been ripped out our removed from a publication to show physical evidence to a client that their advertisement was published.


Usage – Also see Model Release – Models get paid for their time on set as well as the right for the client to use the images from that photo shoot to advertise. A model will receive additional payment for each usage purchased by the client. However sometimes the fee will be a flat fee which means the on set time and usage are combined.



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Fitness Model

How to become a model in Australia

So… you want to be a fitness model! You’re not alone, the fitness model industry in Australia is booming and fitness models are in high demand. However, just like any other niche of modelling, be prepared for a lot of hard work. In fact, you might be surprised just how much hard work goes into it!

Getting discovered
To work as a fitness model the first thing you need to do (just like any other type of model) is get discovered. You may wish to attend open calls or contact modelling agencies – however nowadays, many self-represented models are finding less traditional paths to starting their careers and building a following on Instagram, which then can lead to booking some big jobs. Other models also hold down second jobs as yoga teachers or personal trainers – which can lead to other opportunities in bikini competitions, bodybuilding competitions and other similar events. At these events, talent scouts are routinely lurking in the audience and looking to discover the next big name in modelling!

A day in the life of a fitness model
The day you become signed as a fitness model, that’s when the hard work really begins! Shoot days are gruelling and fun all at once and on days that you’re not shooting you may also be holding down another job like many other models, and as mentioned above. So what can you expect on a shoot as a fitness model? Like other models, expect an early start and a late finish. When you arrive at your shoot, hair and makeup will take a good couple of hours (although fitness models are often portrayed hard at work exercising, it’s still imperative that they look attractive and beautiful on camera!)

Following that, you’ll visit wardrobe and then before you know it, you’ll be on camera! As a fitness model, a shoot will usually inform performing some sort of exercise and unlike other sorts of models who may simply stage activities, you’ll likely actually be performing the exercise – this may mean that your days will be very physically taxing and you may get sweaty and require multiple touch ups during the day.

Plus aside from the physical challenges you’ll face, many fitness models also face the self-esteem challenge of their body always needing to be camera-ready.  Needless to say, if you’re a fitness model, you’ll need to take great pride in your physique and absolutely love exercise! Even so, the constant comparison and rejection that is rampant in the modelling industry can take a mental toll so it’s important that you have a thick skin and develop confidence. After all, just like other models, although your body is one the of the biggest parts of your livelihood, having a great personality will also do you huge favours.

Remember as well that as a fitness model, it’s not simply about looking stronger than other people… you must also be stronger. The long hours of shoots and the exercises you’ll repeatedly perform require you to have great endurance.

But, although it’s a tough line of work – fitness modelling can open up some incredible doors for the rest of your career. You’ll meet a lot of interesting people and if your passion is fitness, fitness modelling can open up doors to personal training, gym instruction and other lines of work that you might not have considered. If you’re a fitness model on Instagram, you also have an invaluable opportunity to provide great content that not only shows your passion, but helps and inspires other people to  become fitter and healthier too… what a great chance to leave a positive impact on the world around you!

Fitness models also frequently find themselves being offered television appearances and other speaking opportunities, which is great for skyrocketing your image.

In summary, if you want to become a fitness model…
Our number one piece of advice? Make sure to take care of your body and always remember that although it’s part of your job to look a certain way, it’s not all about the aesthetics. As they say, if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. And modelling is hard work so to be a successful fitness model, if you love what you do then your passion for fitness and the modelling industry will always show in what you do.

Just like any other model, also take care to build a strong portfolio that shows your versatility and if you would like to be agency represented, you’ll need to get out there and network!

But, however you choose to model (whether agency represented or freelance), this is ultimately your career and in a sea of fitness models – you need to stand out, so be creative with your portfolio and let your personality shine!

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Spotting a Scam

How to become a model in Australia

Considering becoming a model? Unfortunately, as the modelling industry in Australia (and indeed, internationally) is largely unregulated, there are many scammers and scam agencies who seek to rip off and profit from the hopes and dreams of young, aspiring models.

Here are the four biggest scams to watch out for and how to spot them:

Scam #1: The Fake Agency
Beware any agency that claims to work outside of Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm! This is when most legitimate agencies work and many agencies that ask models to attend after hours castings, open calls or talent reviews are scammy. Be sure to double check their license from their website or researching their business name, as all agencies must be licensed. And, at the agency, be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you.

Scam #2: The Photoshoot Scam (THE most common modelling scam!)
A photoshoot scam will make its money by sending models to photographers on staff to shoot expensive photos (or by taking the photos in house and charging a fee). Be suspicious of any agency that wants to force you to shoot with a particular photographer, as there’s a chance it may be a scam. A legitimate agency will always give you a testing list, or a round up of good photographers that you can pick and contact at your own discretions.

Scam #3: The Online Portfolio Scam
The Online Portfolio Scam sees online modelling agencies attempting to sell budding models their online website – that is, models pay a fee (yearly or monthly, usually upfront) to host an online portfolio with the agency with the promise that the more they pay, the more work will come their way. This sadly isn’t the case and these sites make their money by taking your credit details, not by booking you legitimate work. Many models will never see any work come from these paid portfolios.

Scam #4: The Parent Scam
All parents think their children are adorable, but sadly many scam agencies will prey on this. Talent agencies that charge exorbitant fees and make big money after you’ve paid for your child’s photoshoot sadly are all too prolific these days, capitalising on parents desires to make their children famous. Often, these agencies will have a stall at children’s expos and conventions. For example, the US-based Premiere Group claim to be “the leading global specialists in launching young talent” and frequently host “evaluation” sessions in Australia and abroad that claim to give young people a foot in the door to working in the very lucrative entertainment industry. However, internationally, Premiere Group has come under extensive fire for hard sells, very high fees and low return.

Spotting a reputable agency is easy – so long as you do your due diligence and research any potential agency that you’re considering signing with before you sign on the dotted line. Any reputable agency in Australia are unlikely to conduct mass recruitment sessions or make excessive promises.

Our number one tip is this – if you ever feel like an agency is fishy, suspicious or you just get a strange vibe from it… trust your gut. At the end of the day, there are plenty of agencies in the world that are legitimate and would love to have you on their books, so don’t risk your reputation or put yourself in harms way. There are better ways to build a portfolio than to compromise yourself with dodgy dealers!

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How Much do Models Earn?

How to become a model in Australia

From the outside, a model’s life looks very glamourous with expensive clothes, makeup artists, jet setting across the globe, beautiful photoshoots and parties every week.

The reality can often be different, though.. and it’s a reality that you need to be prepared for if you wish to break into the modelling industry! This article is not to discourage you but instead to make sure that you’re prepared for the work ethic that you need, as many potentially great models have been discouraged and given up when they realised that “the model life” wasn’t as instantly abundant as they thought it would be.

In reality, modelling is hard work and long hours and especially for aspiring models, the pay isn’t always as high as you might assume.

So, how much do models earn in Australia?
Working on an editorial shoot, models are paid a day rate. The average day rate for an editorial shoot in Australia is $180. If you’re a self-represented model this goes entirely to you however if you are represented by an agency, they will take a commission (which can vary) for referring the job to you. An average agency commission can be around $80 out of a $180 day rate in Australia, which leaves you with $100 for 6-8 hours of work.

This seems very little… however, the day price of an editorial shoot is the same regardless of whether you’re a rookie model on her first shoot or a seasoned pro like Miranda Kerr.

As most experienced models will tell you, models take on editorial work cheaply at the start of their career as that’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to build up a portfolio (which you’ll need to get you most other forms of modelling work). For models who set their sights on advertising jobs as the end goal, establishing a quality portfolio through editorial shoots is a great way to build up their portfolios quickly and then book some advertising jobs, where real money can be made.

For an advertising campaign, a model in Australia may be earning anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a day – depending on the model.  And that’s for a lesser known model… those who make it into the big time earn significantly more.
In 2017, Kendall Jenner was the highest earning model at $22 million, followed by Giselle Bundchen who earned $17.5 million. Prior to 2017, Giselle had been the top earning model since 2002 however, with social media influencer popularity rising, stars like Kendall Jenner are now overtaking. For many aspiring models who take to Instagram to rapidly build up a following, they may find their incomes rising along with their follower count (much like Kendall!

Other high income earning models are Adriana Lima ($10.5 million), Kate Moss ($5 million) and Taylor Hill ($4 million). Gigi Hadad earned $9 million and with 22.2 million followers on Instagram, her bank account and exposure grows each day. It was also reported in InStyle UK that Karlie Kloss at just 23 years old was earning roughly $300 for a single step on a catwalk.

Alongside earning big money by being booked for jobs, models can also earn a significant amount of money through endorsements. Aspiring models will need to work their way up by endorsing smaller brands first – but work hard, build your portfolio and you might just be discovered by a big brand!

And, interestingly, child models can also earn a considerable amount! In 2014 Fairfax Media reported that child models in Australia can earn up to $50,000 per year or up to $10,000 for a single job.

The opportunities and prospects are great, but it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of the industry. Realistically, not every aspiring model makes it. Some never go as far as they’d hoped, others struggle to book jobs and for others, the pressure of long hours gets too much. Many aspiring models who struggle to make it may find themselves giving up on their dreams to pursue a day job with greater financial stability while for others, the thrill of competition and not knowing how great their next earning may be excites them.

Some models are also paid in “trade”, whereby they accept free clothes, jewellery and products as payment for their services whilst they build up a portfolio.

There are very few models who earn the big bucks – and although models can make a decent living, it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting into the industry for the right reasons and not solely chasing millions. Models are not on a salary or a regular wage and in Australia (and abroad), modelling is a largely unregulated industry. Being paid per job often means that you won’t be paid the big bucks until you make it big so if you’re expecting to get rich quick, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for disappointment.

It’s well known that at Fashion Week, unknown models can barely break even… however, if they have the right look that a brand is looking for, the exposure can be enough to skyrocket their profile and land them some very well paying jobs. Models looking to make some quick money will often book jobs directly with designers in the lead up to Fashion Week testing looks for the upcoming shows. For jobs like this, some models can make up to $1,000.

Models must also be friendly and personable – the industry can get a bad reputation as being catty, however many models will tell you that other models are lovely people. In fact, to save money, many models choose to live together in “model houses” where they split the rent and bills and can all share the experience of chasing their dreams whilst sharing advice with each other.

Of course, modelling is still a competitive environment though as everyone wants to book the best jobs!

To be successful, models must be hard workers, perfectionists and flexible to the needs to their directors/casting agents, as well as open to taking feedback to help them grow and improve (so that ultimately, they can book bigger and better jobs).

Ultimately, how much models earn will vary on the specific model type, the agent and the job itself… so models must be prepared for not every job to be the same.


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