Modeling Schools Are Not Modeling Agencies

Detroit Michigan Comp Card Photographers Mary DuPrie

I had a call tonight from a potential client and she mentioned an agency I hadn’t really heard of, Mannequin Modeling.   Hummm… who are they really?   While she was on the phone I Googled them.  The only difference between her and I is how I Google.  I put the word “scam” after who I’m looking up.

People who are disgruntled with a company will often write this word along with the company’s name.   So you would simply write “company name” scam.  I found their website and started digging.  They are not an agency but a school, touting classes and conventions. I’m not saying as a school they are a scam but they allude themselves to be an agency.

Don’t bother with these types of companies.  The ones that come to mind are One Source Talent, John Robert Powers, John Casablanca’s and the one she mentioned, Mannequin Modeling.    Thousands can be spent/lost with these companies.  Parents don’t bother.

Paying schools is a waste of money.  Instead pay a good, and good means “appropriate” photographer who specializes in models and you’ll get training along with your shoot… it goes hand in hand.  Get signed to a legit agency and they’ll recommend a coach to help you with runway… cost?  about 50 buckaroonies total.

New “agencies” are cropping up saying they need “real” models.  Sorry folks, that’s also a misrepresentation of the modeling business.  You could say they need real people for acting but NOT for modeling.  Commercial models still have requirements.  Height, weight, looks and especially TEETH are still important factors, you don’t have to be as tall and thin as fashion models and commercial models come in all ages.   Smiling is a make or break feature in commercial modeling.  Smile, smile, smile and then smile some more!  If you don’t have a great smile you probably will not quality as a commercial model.


You can actually submit any kind of images to a modeling agency.  Bookers are extremely skilled at seeing model potential, even with bad photographs.  They will call and asked that you come in for an interview… if they like what they see in person they will recommend “a few” model photographers for you to contact. The photographer will NOT be part of their business, but will be independent and you will write your check and deal with the photographer directly.

The agencies that are union are not even legally allowed to “steer” you to one photographer but must suggest a few by law. Once you’re signed, your booker will recommend an appropriate photographer for you.

Now would it help to submit professional model images, yes it would.  But I would suggest to spend the least amount and just get a couple of looks to get the process started.    A “true” headshot and a 3/4 or full length body shot like I’ve pictured above.  I call these “2 look agency submission shoots”.  Spend the least amount to get the process started… not a whole day shooting a comp card you might not even need.  If you get signed you can come back and do two or three more looks and your modeling will be even better on the second shoot!

Should you go to a Portrait Photographer, probably not.  Model photography has a certain “look” and you don’t want them to look like high school senior pictures.  You should have a professional makeup artist and the photographer should totally dictate the shoot, not the client.  The bookers are actually the clients… even though you’re footing the bill.  I work closely with all the local bookers and know what they’re looking for and that’s what’s important.  Do it right… right from the beginning.


Detroit Michigan Comp Card Portfolio Photographer Mary DuPrie


2 comments category: Comp cards,Headshots,Makeup artist,Modeling Agencies,Photographing models

1 Antonella Anton January 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

Hello Marie ! I’m Antonella Antón, from Argentina..
I’m trying to become a model.. it’s a little bit hard because i’m 5’2″, but if there is ANY posibility, i am going to do my best.
I’m more interested in photos, than runway.. but i need to learn both anyway..
I saw your videos and i love them! Next year i want to go to United States to study, or go to an agency, or what is neccesary to do! And I wonder if you can help me.. can you teach me? what i have to do? how much is it going to cost?

here is my facebook page, so you can see my pictures and tell me what do you think!

thank you very much ! i’ll be waiting for your answer! 🙂



2 Mary DuPrie January 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

you don not need to learn runway… at 5’2″… perhaps glamour? promo? not much available for 5’2″


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