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Pittsburgh Modeling, Models and Talent

Modeling Agencies in Pittsburgh

One question most new models ask is “Should I join an modeling agency?”  The answer is always “yes”. 

Yes, they will want a portion of every dollar you make modeling, but they’ll bring you much more work than you would ever scrounge up on your own.  The average modeling agency will charge you 20% of your fee and will also charge the client 20% on top of that. That’s some serious ching that you could be putting in your pocket, instead of the agency’s pocket, right?  Wrong, and here’s why.

Pittsburgh Modeling, Models, and Talent is a web site dedicated to the education of models in mid to small towns like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati. To many people interestied in modeling, the industry is a mystery. This site will help answer the questions that many potential and novice models may have.


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When an advertising agency, graphic design, or major corporation needs a model, the easiest thing for them to do is to pick up the phone and call a modeling agency.  On some rate occasion, they may have someone in mind that they have hired freelance before, but nine times our of ten, they’ll give their favorite modeling agency a ring.  The client knows that they will be paying top dollar (good for you) and they also know that they’ll have to deal with the “usage” issue (also good for you).  But realistically, they don’t have a choice.  Models come and go in a city the size of Pittsburgh and keeping track of who’s available to model for them is just too big a burden for most companies to keep track of.  Rather that go to all that trouble, they just depend on the professionals to do their legwork, the Modeling Agency. 

Personally, I think that the Modeling Agencies charge too much, but that’s probably because I’m on the “consuming” end of things.  I usually don’t end up paying the final modeling invoice, but I sometimes get caught in the middle of price negotiations.  Not a pretty site, most of the times…  Come to think of it, maybe they do earn their keep. 

Here is what they do for you:

First they expose you to the potential clients (usually better that you could do).

Then they get you the job (much better than you could ever do). 

Then they negotiate a price for you.  (always much better that you could ever do) 

Then they invoice for the project.  (pain in the butt that you probably don’t want to do)

Then they make sure that you get paid for the project. (another pain in the butt avoided) 

Ya…  they’re worth it…

I’m about to tell you something very important…  As far as I know from my 20 + years of experience as a professional photographer in the city of Pittsburgh, there are ONLY two modeling agencies of the highest reputation in the city of Pittsburgh.  Those two agencies are The Talent Group and Docherty Casting.  I have no relationship with either company, except that my photography business is in the same building as The Talent Group, so I’ve gotten to know many of the people down there on the floor below me.  Remember, This is my opinion based on my experience.  There may be another agency out there that is doing a good job, and if you know of one, please email me and tell me about them.  Recently someone saw this web page and called me to talk to me about his daughter getting into modeling.  I told him that I thought that there were only two legitimate modeling agencies in the city, and he seemed to think that I was exaggerating and said that my opinion was “subjective”.   I agreed with him.  I also said that I would bet that 99% of the other professional photographers in the city would have the same exact “subjective” opinion.

If you go to the phone book, you’ll probably find many more modeling agencies than just the two I’ve mention above.  MOST, if not all the other agencies, base their business on making money from the models and not the Ad Agencies, Graphic Design and Photographers in, and around, Pittsburgh.  They charge for training, and portfolio shots, and the comp cards, and portfolio binders, and anything else they can come up with.  Buyer beware!  I’m not saying that joining either the Talent Group or Docherty Casting will cost you nothing, but at least you’ll have your headshots shown to people.  At least you’ll be going to an agency that actually makes MOST of their money from the local advertising community.

If you know of another legitimate Modeling Agency here in Pittsburgh, please contact me and let me know about them.  I’ll check them out and if they stack up (in my subjective opinion) I’ll ad them to my list.


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