Just about every job out there requires the employee to sign a contract, likewise so will you as a model come across a contract when getting hired for a gig. You’re always told to read over modeling contracts before signing off on anything, yet year after year models get conned into work they hadn’t realized they had signed up for.
Getting a new job is always exciting and plenty of times no one really goes through the 50 page contract provided to them. I get it, it’s mundane and you probably would want to be doing something else with your time then going over a modeling contract, however it’s vital to read and understand everything you’re signing up for. Failure to revise a contract could result in an unfixable situation that could affect your career.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to hire an agent who can represent you and can guide you, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. If you’re not happy working with an agent then hire a lawyer, just to ensure that you’re safe and protecting yourself from being in a sticky situation.
All modeling contracts should include the length of the contract i.e. how many months/years the contract will be active for, whether or not you will be able to be represented by other agents and what percentage or commission the agency will earn from jobs you book.
Other information to look out for is expenses, this should state whether or not you will receive a travel allowance if you’ve booked a gig in another state etc. Modeling contracts also usually state the manner in which models are to behave and conduct themselves in public and also the ideal measurements they should be. As taboo as it sounds, models need to maintain a certain image and you need to make sure that you’re okay with this.
Moving on to the contracts, there are 4 main contracts that are used; mother agency contracts, exclusive contracts, non-exclusive contracts and lastly, one time contacts. All of these contracts differ and have certain aspects that you need to be aware off before signing.
A Mother agency contract is the first contract you will ever sign. This is the agency that will help you launch your career by promoting you in the modeling industry. They will help you build your portfolio so that you can ultimately move on to a bigger agency where you can book bigger jobs. Mother agencies receive a commission of around 5-10 % and once you’re with a larger agency the deduction usually doesn’t affect your earnings. Your mother agency contract can last anything from a couple of years to your entire modeling career, so make sure you know the duration of the contract before signing anything.
Exclusive contracts are the most frequently used contracts for editorial and fashion models. They allow models to have one agency in every market but they do not allow models to have more than one agency to represent them in a specific market. If you do sign with any other agent you will need permission. Now this does give all the power to the modeling agency, which means that you should make sure that if you do sign an exclusive contract with them they should have your best interest at heart.
Non-exclusive contracts give models way more freedom than any other contract, as you can sign with as many agencies as you like. You will also be able to find your own jobs on the sideline without having to pay a commission to the agency. The downside with this is that you might not get as many jobs as you would with an agency and you might not have as much guidance as you would from an agency.
A One Time contract is quite self-explanatory; this is for a one time gig and as soon as the gig is over the contract ends. Make sure that you know exactly what you will earn and how long your pictures will be used for. With this contract it’s always best for an agent or lawyer to read through the contract.