You need a modeling agency because you want to book work with top brands. These top brands use advertising agencies who then call on the best modeling agencies to provide the models for the ad campaign the ad agency is creating.
A modeling agent is a piece of the modeling puzzle, your business relationship is based on demand of the agencies clients.
This is why if you are short you should not submit to fashion agencies. The demand for shorter girls is not there. So you want to submit to commercial print modeling agencies.
You need an agency because the way marketing professionals and creative director’s book models is typically through the best modeling agencies. The agency will send over the best models they have to a casting. Or mail the models portfolios or images.
Think of it this way, an art director for an ad campaign isn’t going to be scouting the internet or some modeling website or Myspace for the face of a haircare ad, or jewelry ad, or skincare ad. They are going to call a modeling agency.
They call the modeling agency because they want a professional model. The mindset is a professional model will be at a modeling agency. Which can explain why agencies are so picky about the models they work with.
The art directors, ad agencies, client, brand, editor, -they don’t want to waste time or money, and they want to know the models they will book will be easy to work with and experienced. So the agency has the expectation that the models they work with are professional which means if you are not with the agency you will most likely never hear of this casting, or opportunity.
You need a commercial print modeling agency because although much of the work will be yours, and up to you, and you will make your own compcards and portfolio, you need the middleman, -the agency- to help you book bigger and better work.