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SCAM???
Old 10-25-2005, 10:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I went to a local agency a few days ago after sending them a few pictures. It was a located in a fairly wealthy neighborhood by downtown and had a clean, nice office. Before I went, I had asked them if I had to pay for classes or smething of that sort and they said no. However, when I got there, they talked me into paying $80 for "test shots". They had a studio built into their agency and the photographer took about 20 pictures with professional equipment. During the shoot, he told me I would be more suited for beauty shots. I asked him if that would cost anything and he said no. But then he asked me if I knew any makeup artists. I said no and he said that he would find me one. Are paying for test shots common in the industry? I checked their name on BBB and they have a really good rating.

What should I look out for when I go back to evaluate my pictures next week? Are they a scam? PLEASE let me know. I don't want to be duped.
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Re: SCAM???
Old 10-25-2005, 10:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From what I understand, paying for tests is normal. Just so long as you have your choice of who you can test with.
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Re: SCAM???
Old 10-25-2005, 11:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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this sounds like a scam, but from my experience it's a pretty small scam. 80.00 isn't as much as some scams I've heard of. The local "agency" here in West MI charges 450.00.

Blood sucking vampires.
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Re: SCAM???
Old 10-26-2005, 12:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
From what I understand, paying for tests is normal. Just so long as you have your choice of who you can test with.

[/ QUOTE ]

Exactly,...every agency I'm with has a binder of several photographer's promo materials...

I can't stand those ones who have some in-house guy shooting them, so that obligates you to having to have him shoot your test shots.. but then again,...it's their business if they choose to opporate that way.... what ever..

Heck,....after having my ass ripped to shreds by several members here for charging $40.00 for 9x12 prints to models who signed a release form, who ask me to shoot them, where I pay to rent the huge facility, where I bring all my professional gear on location to shoot, where I provide a CD of every single picture I take downsized to viewable "proofs", where I provided fairly large 16 edited images to the model,and somehow I am a scam artist...because I didn't mention to the model that my price for 9x12 prints from my professional lab run them $40.00......and that I didn't mention that I don't give away full sized edited tifs to them... like what the [censored]? Ok guys,....now is your chance to rip this agency to bits and pieces!

.....Like that will ever happen!

JP
 
 
I doubt it ...
Old 10-26-2005, 12:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It doesn't sound like a scam to me. If an agency is going to represent a potential model, then the model needs to have good photos and a composite. If those are not available, then it will be very hard for the agency to get the model any jobs. So they require you to have decent photos. Sometimes agencies will refer you to a photographer. Most of the time this is going to mean that you end up paying a photographer to take some professional photos of you (unless you work out a time for prints). $80 seems very cheap, but that may be due to them having a photographer on staff. Other than that, however, and a possible charge to have a composite printed, there should not be other charges. But a photographer fee and a printing charges are quite reasonable for an agency to ask for, I'd think.

So I'd say play it by ear. Don't invest more money that you can afford, but do keep in mind that one must make an investment in a career choice. It always costs money to move into a new career. Someone has to pay the cost to train a person and secure any needed working tools (for the model these are a portfolio with quality photos and a composite).



Cheers,
rfs
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Sounds reasonable to me.
Old 10-26-2005, 12:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Although I'm not a professional photographer and wouldn't charge that much, $40 for a 9x12 doesn't seem outrageous. The couple of times that I had models want me to make prints, I think I charged $20 a pop and that was years ago when I was just starting out.

$80 for a sitting doesn't seem too bad to me, assuming she got some shots useful to the agency and the photographer isn't going to charge her more for prints for the agency to use. Now if she wanted some enlargements for herself I'd expect she'd have to pay additional.

Once you get out of the hobby world and into the real world you should expect to shell out some dollars.
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probably not yet
Old 10-26-2005, 01:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Generally, any time I hear of an agency with a staff photographer, red flags go up. Agencies are (or should be) in business to make a commission off the work they get you, not charge you up front for anything. However, in this case, if all they needed was $80 worth of photos to get something to get you started, its a minor thing. Rather than agree to do any more shots with their photographer, ask them for a test list of photographers you can meet and choose from. Some of those may do TFCD or TFP, but most will charge some modest fees. There is nothing wrong with that, after all, you can't expect to go into a business (which is what you're doing after all) with NO investment on your part (of course you also have expenses like clothing, makeup, fitness classes, portfolio, website, etc). The problem lies when the photographer is too connected to the agency, and you begin to feel like there is a kickback going on, or they're asking for more and more pix from one shooter. You should have a portfolio with pictures from many different photographers.

The one other place you might be asked to spend money with an agency (and with the development of the web, I'm not even sure they do this anymore) is if they want to print what used to be called a "headsheet" or a "headshot book". The first was simply a huge poster with all the model's headshots, like a reference page, the second might be an actual book of 50-60 pages, with each model getting a page for a few shots. Usually they'd have each model pay (at their cost, no markup) for their page, but not necessarily by writing a check. The agency would pay for the whole book, and deduct each model's share from the first money they made, so it never actually cost the models anything out of pocket. Like I said, I'm not sure agencies still do this, because most have website galleries now.

Anyway, to answer your question, this doesn't sound like a scam, yet. If they start asking for more and more money for other stuff, then you can run.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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As we said before....
Old 10-26-2005, 01:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Where you got jumped on was when you asked for that model release, for what you billed as a test shoot, and THEN added on the cost for the prints. We've been through all this, but that's still my take.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: Sounds reasonable to me.
Old 10-26-2005, 02:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I understand the whole 'you need to spend money to make money' philosophy but I've heard terrible things about in-house photographers and places that charge exorbitant amounts for makeup photographers. I also feel uncomfortable about the fact that they don't have any current clients listed that they do cast for and their gallery of models look fairly mediocre. I think it is a fairly new agency so that is probably reasonable. I don't know.
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Really?
Old 10-26-2005, 04:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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guess what, I charge $450 for a model agency comp card, plus $ 150 for make-up. And I get referred by agencies. Oh, and they get 4 images ONLY, headshot for front, 3 looks on back, about 1.5-2 hours of time, a CD of the 4 images ONLY.

Guess that makes me a blood sucking vampire for actually charging people to do work for them.

Yes, those pros that charge money, they are ALL vampires. Gotta take a break and go suck some more blood.
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