We remember a time in Oxford Circus when there was a ‘model scout’ on every corner offering girls of all heights, builds and ages the chance to be a model! Their pitch was something along the lines of ‘you can make £10,000 a day’ or ‘you may be little but you could definitely do photographic work’ or as I once heard one chap say ‘face modeling’ such a technical young man! Although the false model scout has died out quite considerably, in our area, they are very much still out in force.

These days we are extremely happy that the general public are much more savvy with these people and know that they’re being ‘pitched’ into something, that will at some point cost them a great deal of money and what they are really being sold is the dream! Although we are a little more aware that these establishments exist, sadly some people do still fall for the trap.
Working for Vanity Studios and understanding the industry inside out, you do get a small amount of pleasure when one of these ‘scouts’ approach you and you get to hear their pitch. It can give you such amusement to pretend your gullible and ask loads of questions so we know exactly where they’re from and what their game is. So it has finally become wide spread knowledge that modeling agencies do NOT charge people to be on their website, nor do they produce their own photo shoots and then charge the models they work with. This used to be the reason for the false model scout. They would offer girls the chance to come for a shoot with their ‘agency’ and then say if they want to be on their books they need to buy photos. There would be a website and maybe a convincing looking office but that’s where their business ends. Do they have a long list of clients waiting to book models of all shapes and sizes. The short answer, no. They make their money by selling the dream and if you were to enquire as to why you have had no castings, the response would be well we sent your pictures to everyone but haven’t had any interest. Ouch! So after you part with money for your expensive portfolio… no one likes your look!
Now we are on to these people false agencies rarely appear in London, however, much to our dismay, there is something else! So these ‘agencies’ with studios attached are essentially photo studios that source their clients with the model scouts then pretend they can get them work IF they buy all the pictures…
Recently a lady came to Vanity and told us about her last photo shoot. This was also in Oxford Circus but the sigh of not again that came from the creative staff when she informed us that she was ‘scouted’. Firstly the gent on the phone told her it’s all free, we just want to see you and how you work in front of the camera. She said the place was a bit dirty and everyone seemed like they couldn’t be bothered to be there and afterwards when she went to view the images, the gent she saw said ‘well, you’ve passed’ she’s passed? Apparently this particular studio says the photo shoot is a test to see how she performs and all she has to do to get work is go for one of their packages starting from £1000! What! That’s the starting off point? She also commented that the images were mediocre at best and some were outright terrible. Luckily she told them where to go but sadly many don’t. The same lady did a shoot and Vanity and laughed that she’d also spent a hunk of money but the photos were incredible and they don’t come with a false promise attached. Just look how beautiful the pictures are!

Here’s the simple truth guys and gals… real model scouts do exist but beware of the overly charming that are selling modeling to you. They don’t usually have the first clue about it. A real scout will give you a card and say check us out, you’d be a nice addition to the books! Boom! That’s it! When a scout says you can do commercial modeling… the truth in that is anyone can do commercials. There are loads of agencies around that take people on for a detergent commercial or someone to have their photo taken eating cornflakes. Usually they use actors but this is not modeling in the usual sense. Don’t get me wrong commercials are great money and you don’t need to be tall, svelt and angular but when its sold to you as modeling, back away! Finally how does a model build their portfolio… normally via test shoots. An agency will recommend a photographer who is currently testing or you can source your own test shoots. This means that a photographer is looking to portfolio build and will use new faces so he/she doesn’t pay for the models and you don’t pay for them! Its used to be called time for prints… but time for digital images doesn’t sound as nice.
Obviously the photographer will be in control of the look he wants to achieve and it may not be your cup of tea, but this is the normal way and after a few tests you might have a fairly decent portfolio. The other option is to go to a reputable photo studio and tell them exactly what you want in your portfolio. No its not free! But it’s quicker and you get to decide how it looks but please avoid giving your details to scouts in Oxford Street! And you don’t have to part with money to be a model…. Until next time! xxx

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