How to Start a Career as a Model Scout, Agent or Booker (Part 2 of 2)

11 Tips to Start Your Career as Model Scout, Agent or Booker

Focus on One Type of Model

Clay Womack Discovered by Model Scout Vanessa Helmer.

Until you have been working in the industry for a while it is best to focus on one particular area and become the best you can be in that area. Focus on representing only editorial female models, male models, child models or swimsuit models - whatever area that most interests you is the area that you should focus your attention. It will allow you to become a specialist and the go-to person for that type of model or talent.

Top 12 Types of Female Models

Top 10 Types of Male Models

Attend Conventions & Networking Events

IMG Models Scouting at Faces West. Faces West Vancouver

If you want to work on an international level it's important that you meet and network with agents and scouts from the agencies with which you'd like to sign your models.   The International Modeling & Talent Association (IMTA) hosts modeling conventions in New York and Los Angeles annually.  A less expensive option is the Faces West Conference in Vancouver, Canada. 

If you can't attend a modeling convention a great online resource of agents and scouts is  The scouts at often mentor new scouts who bring them new faces to market to major agencies.

Understand Basic Contract Law

It's certainly not necessary to have a law degree to be an agent (although it wouldn't hurt) you should have a basic understanding of contract law and how to negotiate contracts.  There are many great online resources that teach basic contract law for little or no cost.  There are also more focused types of resources such as the book Hollywood Dealmaking - Negotiating Talent Agreements, by Dina Appleton and Daniel Yankelevits.

Be Willing to Take Risks

John Casablancas Founder of Elite Model Management. Elite Models, New York

Becoming a successful model scout or agent means being willing to take risks. If you are too afraid or nervous to approach a stranger on the street who you think has modeling potential you'll have a very short career.  If you truly believe in a new model's potential don't be afraid to negotiate "time for prints" or other special deals with photographers or clients in your area. 

You also need to be willing to work on a commission basis.  Most model scouts and agents do not earn a salary but rather a commission based on a percentage of what their model earns.

Always Behave in a Professional Manner

Being a professional means more than just calling yourself an agent or model scout and setting up shop.  It means to always behave in a professional manner by keeping your appointment times and never being late, always taking the high road in difficult situations, never bad mouthing other agents or scouts, paying your debts - never owe money to your models, photographers or others whose services you use.  While the industry may have a relaxed image, to be a successful agent, scout or booker you need to be all business.

Don't Be Creepy

While it may be tempting to do so, never, and I mean NEVER, use your job as a personal dating service or a way to find your next hot girlfriend or boyfriend.

As in any professional setting, never make inappropriate or sexually suggestive comments, or approach or stare at a model in a way that will make them feel uncomfortable.  The very nature of the industry can make even the most innocent of behaviors appear creepy and even scary to a young model.  

Model Safety - Protecting Yourself From Online Predators

Go With Your Gut

Kate Upton Discovered by Model Scout David Cunningham. IMG Models New York

Being successful also means going with your gut and following your instincts.  If you believe that one of your new faces has star potential and none of the big agencies or clients agree with you, you need to do whatever it takes to turn that around. 

It was just that kind of instinct that model scout David Cunningham had when he saw Kate Upton for the first time.  Cunningham introduced Kate to New York super agency IMG Models, but with Kate's curvy figure and bouncy personality everyone at IMG Models thought Cunningham was crazy because Kate "wasn't fashion enough".  But, the head of IMG Models, Ivan Bart, saw Kate's potential and signed her anyway.  And, the rest as they say is history with Kate Upton earning over $7 Million in 2014 making her one of the highest paid models of the year.