Often on this blog I feature Agencies by city, coming up is Chicago and Maryland modeling agencies. I decide what agencies are best for all sizes by focus on looking for a few different things:
1. Does this agency show models with smiles, and personality and all ages, from teens to grandmothers, because that is a pure sign it is not just a high fashion agency that only works with tall models.
2. Does the agency accept postal mail submissions? This is a sign the agency is legit and doesn't have time, and is too busy booking their models to deal with online submissions and amateurs. However, of course, sometimes in this Internet-age some agencies do accept submissions by email, (but the Internet-age is not an excuse not to get a comp card made or a headshot produced your self) and I would ONLY send photos that reflect commercial print modeling, and showing that you have personality within the photos is best. A photo that is too fashion styled, or too sexy can be a turn off to a print agent. Only send pegs under 100 KB. Do not direct the agent/agency to your facebook or online profile, that is consider amateur. Keep in mind you must physical marketing tools, and can't rely on the Internet soley. Usually the website will ask for comp cards, and headshots to be mailed by postal mail, and you should.
3. I am looking for an agency that DOES NOT have testimonials from their talent saying how great the agency is, or the words "be discovered", these words are a sign of scams. A legit agency doesn't need a testimonial to prove they are a legit agency. (if the testimonial is from a client, a brand, a magazine editor who likes working with the agency, then that could be different.)
4. I Google the agencies name and then put a plus sign (+) and the word "scam".
5. A legit agency does not charge you to join their agency or send in a check to review your photos, a professional agency will at least "work with" your comp card that you have if they like your energy and personality and look and think they can book you. They will not force you to work with their photographer and printing service, but they will advise and suggest often. Don't feel it is the end-all if you are getting a bad vibe, there are legit agencies out there and you can find one, but beware of scams.