Before you make contact with any company/person regarding modelling make sure you know exactly what type of organisation you are dealing with. Is it a photo studio selling you a portfolio, is it a model agency that will get you work or a model directory that will charge you to be on their books with no guarantee of any work? If you don't know which then there is a very good chance you could be misled and ripped off.
"No model needs a portfolio to approach an agency."There are quite a few scams that are designed to catch out the unwary or potential models that do not know the industry. This page has answers to general questions that are commonly asked giving information about modelling and what to check to help you avoid common modeling scams.
If you have a question about modelling scams and want independent advice we would recommend one of the modelling sites like Purestorm, Net-Model or Model Mayhem, but make sure you have the correct website as some scam model agency companies are creating similar sounding names. To avoid legal action against any of the sites you should avoid calling any of the photo studios that appear to be model agencies a scam as they operate within the law. Most of these companies are not model agencies but photo studios that charge you for a portfolio; as they are photo studios they will not provide you with modelling work.
As with many things it is what they don't tell you that is more important that what they do say!
What if I've been Offered a Free Photoshoot at a London Studio?
Many free photo shoots at studios in London do not make it clear that only the shoot is free;they are NOT Time for Prints so if you want the portfolio photos as prints or CD you will have to pay for the photos you want and this could be substantial - we have heard from models who have paid up to £1000 for photos at some London studios. At other studios it may be more so it could be advisable to check total prices before agreeing to a shoot to avoid any nasty surprises on the day of your shoot. You are likely to be required to pay a deposit to confirm the shoot but our advice is to carefully check the terms of any deposit before handing over your credit card number as some studios do not allow any changes and will levy additional fees if you need to cancel or are late.
Find out the total costs of any shoot including how much each photo costs, how many prints are included and if all images are provided on CD
In our opinion you should find out the overall total costs of any shoot including how much each photo costs, how many photos are included and whether all images are provided on CD within the price before booking an appointment at any studio so that you can compare like for like prices. In our view if a company is unwilling to provide this information to you then you should proceed with caution. Once you have included the cost of your photos and the CD of images, a free shoot may work out more expensive than a shoot that includes everything in the quoted price. If you are travelling a long way to get to London then you should also take account of the travel cost for you and a parent. Remember that there are many very good photography studios around the UK that can produce suitable photos for an initial modelling portfolio and you do not need to travel to London for this.
Many fake model agencies / photography companies promoting free photoshoots do not publish any prices for the photos or CDs on their websites so it would be sensible to ask prices before agreeing to a shoot to allow comparisons and avoid being scammed by high pressure sales techniques.
Some studios offer "Modelling Assessment Days" where you spend a day at the 'studio' being pampered, having a 'professional photoshoot' followed by a private model assessment advising you of the various portfolio packages available and which are suitable to your needs. In other words, you go to their premises, they take photos and pressure you into buying them at extortionate prices.
You may also find that you are offered free Time for Prints/Time for CD (TFP/TFCD) shoots in London studios or elsewhere which will not cost you other than your time and travel. These are only worthwhile if the photographer knows what they are doing. There is no point wasting time on a shoot if a photographer has no idea how to take, light and compose a photo and is purely using you for training as the results will not be of use for a portfolio.