Mod­el­ling an agent re­la­tion­ship

Got a fash­ion shoot lined up and go­ing to need model tal­ent? Aaron K talks to booker Mar­i­jke Van Dillen of 62 Mod­els and Tal­ent about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween photographer and mod­el­ling agency

The Photographer's Mail - - Column - Aaron K

If you want to pro­duce high-end ad­ver­tis­ing or fash­ion im­agery for pre­mium brands, you have to work with agency-rep­re­sented mod­els. Ask­ing a good-look­ing friend to step in and model sim­ply won’t cut it — not by a long shot. In ad­di­tion to hav­ing all the phys­i­cal at­tributes that dis­cern­ing com­mer­cial clients ex­pect, an ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sional model also knows how to per­form in front of the cam­era. This makes the photographer’s job a lot eas­ier and pro­duces a far bet­ter end re­sult. So, when your client has the bud­get, and the shoot calls for a sub­ject with the X fac­tor, get­ting in touch with an agent/ booker at a lead­ing model agency should be at the top of your to-do list.

With this in mind, I in­ter­viewed Mar­i­jke Van Dillen — one of the five book­ers at 62 Mod­els and Tal­ent. 62 has been rep­re­sent­ing in­cred­i­bly at­trac­tive peo­ple for over 20 years. You may not know any of its mod­els by name, but you will def­i­nitely rec­og­nize many of their faces.

The Photographer’s Mail: Can you out­line the range of ser­vices that top model agen­cies like 62 pro­vide pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers with?

Mar­i­jke Van Dillen: At 62, we pro­vide high-end lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mod­els for a wide va­ri­ety of jobs that can range from ed­i­to­rial and high fash­ion to cat­a­logues and TV com­mer­cials. We rep­re­sent males and fe­males who are ex­pe­ri­enced or in de­vel­op­ment. We also have a cre­ative divi­sion, so we can pro­vide stylists, hair­styl­ists, and make-up artists for shoots as well.

What does your role as a model booker in­volve — what ex­actly do you do?

I fa­cil­i­tate the process of se­cur­ing a model for pho­to­graphic shoots, fash­ion shows, TV com­mer­cials, and films. I ne­go­ti­ate the model’s rate based on the de­ter­mined us­ages and time frame of the work re­quired. It’s an agent’s job to en­sure that a model is be­ing paid ap­pro­pri­ately for their time and the use of their im­age. Once the fee and us­ages are con­firmed, I en­sure that the model has a clear sched­ule for the job and send through all the rel­e­vant de­tails to the model so [that] they ar­rive on time and [are] fully pre­pared.

In ad­di­tion, we nur­ture and train the mod­els to ex­cel in their ca­reer. We are gen­er­ally avail­able to mod­els 24/7 should they have any ques­tions, need ad­vice, or just want some­one to talk to. I be­lieve a booker can be a friend, coun­sel­lor, taxi driver, and agent all at once. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween a model and their agent can be in­cred­i­bly strong, par­tic­u­larly if an agent has worked with a model from a young age and been a large part of their mod­el­ling evo­lu­tion.

What can pho­tog­ra­phers do to make your job eas­ier?

From an agent’s per­spec­tive, the best thing a photographer can do is be clear and con­cise with their in­for­ma­tion. Keep a firm shoot date; pass on us­age de­tails; en­sure that the model is looked af­ter on set. A good agent can book a model un­der tight time con­straints pro­vided we are given a secure shoot date and call time. Per­son­ally, I like pho­tog­ra­phers who are suc­cinct in their de­tails: tell me what sort of model you’re look­ing for, give me a shoot date and some ref­er­ence im­ages, and then stick to these. There’s no need to send me an es­say about the shoot. I just want to give the model enough in­for­ma­tion for them to be their best on set: what team they are shoot­ing with, what the vibe is, how many hours they’ll be on set, and what are they go­ing to be paid.

When hir­ing a model for a shoot, what at­tributes should pho­tog­ra­phers be look­ing for?

Ob­vi­ously, I would rec­om­mend that the first thing a photographer … do is re­quest a model from a rep­utable agency. That way, the photographer can be sure that they’re go­ing to be work­ing with a model who has some in­dus­try experience. A pro­fes­sional model (even if they’re still in a de­vel­op­ment divi­sion) will know what to ex­pect and how to be­have on set. De­pend­ing on the level of mod­el­ling re­quired, pho­tog­ra­phers should al­ways look at the port­fo­lio of a model to gauge how much experience they have. And I al­ways rec­om­mend check­ing out a model’s Po­laroids/dig­i­tals, too. This shows what a model looks like with­out make-up, styling, re­touch­ing, etc.

What can pho­tog­ra­phers do to get the best re­sults from the mod­els they work with?

At a big shoot, there will be a big team, and the last thing a booker wants is to have their model dis­ap­pear among the crowd. With­out the model, a photographer isn’t go­ing to get very far. Call me bi­ased, but I con­sider the model to be the most piv­otal as­pect of a shoot. De­spite be­ing beau­ti­ful peo­ple, mod­els are hu­man, too! They can get tired and hun­gry, and they value their pri­vacy. Pro­vid­ing a secure chang­ing area and en­sur­ing a model is given enough time to eat and rest are all non-ne­go­tiable as­pects of book­ing a model. Be rea­son­able! A model will give you their best if they are be­ing looked af­ter ad­e­quately.

Can you help pho­tog­ra­phers start­ing out in the in­dus­try who need pro­fes­sional mod­els for their port­fo­lio shoots?

Yes, we can. This is a two-way re­la­tion­ship. In order to progress, a new model needs experience be­hind the cam­era, and, to build their port­fo­lio, they need great pho­tos. How­ever, be­fore we work with an emerg­ing photographer, we need to know that they can pro­duce good-qual­ity im­agery that we can ac­tu­ally use. Any­thing too ob­scure or artis­tic, while beau­ti­ful, is prob­a­bly not ap­pro­pri­ate for a mod­el­ling port­fo­lio.

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