Lisa Hardwick gives you a few things to look out for
As you may have guessed, this is very definitely a complex subject. Without going into too much detail, you should know that most states have extremely tight controls on registration fees, either banning them entirely or capping them at around $4.
The same is true of advertising. If the talent agency attempts to charge you the costs of advertising you, then once again, most state laws (ie Florida,Illinois,Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska,Nevada,New York and others) ban requiring a prospective model to pay advertising (promotion) costs as part of the condition of signing on.
Perhaps more telling than this is the attitude of the owners of the leading reputable agencies, who advise models never to pay up front fees. The point is that model and talent agencies are employment agencies who should be taking commission from the earnings they receive from you. If you look at it this way, then charging up front fees is something like an admission of failure, and admission that the company cannot provide enough work to its models to survive. If up front fees are requested, I advise you to find a different agency.
This is another very common scam that a lot of my friends have complained about. This scam works like this. You are told that you have been 'selected' to join a model agency. You are then told that you'll need a portfolio of decent quality and you are given the name of a photographer who you are required to go to ' because the agency can be sure of his quality'. So where's the scam there..sounds reasonable enough? Well what you don't know is that the agency and the photographer are splitting the fees, and the fees themselves are considerably higher than they should be. Remember, a model agency should never charge you advertising fees. If you need professional photos for a portfolio, then go to an independent photographer and always pay him directly. If your agency insists that you go to a particular photographer as a condition of joining, then as far as I'm concerned, you are being scammed
So you've joined an agency, and your agent advises you to go to a modeling convention. Once again, sounds like a good idea Well maybe until you see the cost of these modeling conventions. And then you think of the reasoning. Why did my agent suggest I go on a modeling convention to further my career, and increase my exposure. Isn't that what he's supposed to be doing? The truth is, that some unscrupulous agents receive a commission for anyone they persuade to go on this convention. If you're pressured this way , get a new agency.
Well there are just a few of the most common modeling scams. Unfortunately there are a lot more of them, which I'll tell you about when I write next. Until then, stay safe !