Modeling Contract Basics

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Modeling contracts are what bind an individual person in the modeling industry to a client or company, and this comes with the usual terms and conditions necessary to remain under the contractual agreement. However, there are different types of contracts and obligations based on these agreements between parties.

Because each agency is different from each other, there are various rules, guidelines and stipulations to modeling contracts based on the employer that the model works under. However, each specific contract may only be for a single job, and this may require additional documentation to retain and obtain new work or the same jobs with the agency. Through constant working, the model may understand overtime what benefits and disadvantages exist with the employer and which agency is best to seek a contract through. However, until experience is garnered, the model may need time to adjust to the industry and what terms and conditions apply.

Typically, there are four types of modeling contracts that a person may sign with. These include the mother, exclusive, non-exclusive and one-time only. The dream may involve the exclusive contract where the person is signed with one agency with exclusive rights. However, many start with a mother agency. These help the model build a portfolio for future agencies, and this is how the professional becomes an expert in the business. Knowledge is accrued at this stage, and guidance is given so the individual is able to excel and progress to the next level.

The Mother Contract

Once a model has started learning about the trade, he or she is engaged by a mother type agency so the knowledge is taught. These contracts are often the first, and the agencies are smaller with more familiarity and intimacy than other companies. The models are promoted through larger markets in bigger cities around the world so greater and more profitable contract jobs are possible. This could lead to big companies hiring the model such as Gucci, Vogue and similar agencies. It is beneficial to stay with the mother agency along with another company due to costs remaining low for the contractual percentage taken.

Non-Exclusive Contracts Explained

When the model has not yet found the perfect contract with an agency he or she wants, a non-exclusive contract permits him or her to retain as many agency jobs as necessary for side jobs and other work. These professionals with this type of agreement are most often in the commercial business rather than editorial or high fashion. The possible opportunities are not as great or as high in pay with some of these contracts, but the model is afforded more freedom. The agency receives commission for work, but the model may find work on his or her own and not need to pay the company anything.

The One-Time Contracts

When moving along the modeling career, many individuals seeking work will find contracts that are only for one time period, one job or for a single season. These are the one-time contracts with obligations of only showing up for set shoots. Some conditions may apply that alter the times, places and agencies. However, once the job has been completed, the contract ends and the model must look for additional work. The stipulations about how the photos are used, what ads may be applied and similar circumstances should be listed in the conditions to protect the model from negative effects.

Exclusive Contracts Explained

The primary type of contract many models seek is the exclusive agreement where only one modeling agency represents the professional. This may be for a set timeframe, for a country or a type of modeling job. Typically, these agreements are in place with larger agencies that represent other larger companies. This could be commercial, editorial or other. However, the drawback is that the model is not permitted to sign with any other agency while within these contracts unless express permission has been granted by the mother or specific agency. When joining these contracts, it is important to understand what the conditions entail and what is expected.

Representation in the Modeling World

When signing with an agency, it is important to have someone looking out for the model before he or she signs any contracts. When the matters are legal, the professional should have a lawyer. However, an agent is important as well to ensure the agency that is involved in reputable and may not endanger the model. Possible injury, harm or damage to his or her career could lead to legal action.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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