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How To Find The Right Model For Your Brand

July 15, 2024 - July 15, 2024   

Before you even start to call up agencies to cast a selection of models have a good think about the type of look you are after. Look through magazines and catalogues, if you see a look you like check the credits for an agency reference. Tear out any images you think are appropriate for your collection and whittle down your criteria, this will save a lot of time. If you give no requirements to the agency then every model in town will arrive on your doorstep, a waste of time for you and for the unsuitable models in the queue.

Once you have a clear idea of what you are after it’s time to call up some agencies. Some designers like to build a relationship with one agency, while others prefer to select from a wider pool. Many agencies will have a good range of models on their books but some do specialize in a variety of fields such as: Plus Size, strong editorial looks, commercial, mature models and so on. Check out agency websites to see which best fulfills your criteria. Photographers, stylists and make-up artists can also point you in the right direction.

Some new designers feel a bit coy to approach some of the big name agencies such as: Models 1 and Storm, don’t feel intimidated. Obviously you’d have to be pretty loaded and very patient to get a booking with the likes of Kate Moss, but these agencies do have a number of new-faces that will work for a basic fee and some new images to build up their portfolios. You need to ask yourself if you are happy to work with a new-face that might not have much experience, versus a more established model that will bump up the price.

Once you know what look you’re after you need to establish what you are willing to pay. If you are on a really tight budget then you may be restricted to new-faces, or models in need of new material for their portfolios. Most agencies in the UK charge an additional 20% commission on top of the basic fee. Be straight up with the agency and tell them what you can offer, if they’ve got any sense they’ll help out as not only is it good experience for the model but you may also become a regular client.

Once you’ve made contact with the agency(s) – told them what look you are after, any special requirements such as height, hair colour etc and have discussed fees – request that they email you e-cards or a list of possible ideal candidates. This too will save time, as you can filter down your choices and make a list of the models you would like to see at your casting.

Holding a casting is essential; so that you can check out the model in person, possibly ask to take a few snaps to see how well they move, along with looking at portfolios. Most clients hold castings one to two weeks before the actual shoot date; this gives them enough time to sort out arrangements etc. Think about where you hold the casting, central London is preferable as models can be sent on up to 8 castings a day all over the city. If your office/studio is outside of London, then either photographer’s studios or dance studios such as Pineapple (Covent Garden) or Dance Worx (off Oxford Street) are suitable locations. If you are using just one or two agencies then you can arrange to hold the casting(s) at their offices – most agencies have a room set aside for this very purpose.

Another tip is to set the casting between two times, say 1pm – 3pm, rather than one fixed time. It will give the models more flexibility to fit in your casting with any others they have that day. If you have booked a space such as a dance studio to hold your casting, book it for an extra half an hour, all castings will have a few stragglers and you’ll need a bit more time if a few models turn up at the last minute.

It’s good to take Polaroids or video of the models you are interested in; they will serve as memory joggers when you come to make your final selections later on. Contrary to popular belief not all models walk around looking like their glossy made-up magazine images.

Casting over, now its selection time, you need to choose more models than you need as your favourite could well be booked by someone else for the day. When you phone up the agency with your ‘options’ as they’re called, the models booker will refer to availability in terms of 1st option, 2nd option and so on. 1st option means you have first choice on that particular model, 2nd option and you could be waiting for a yes or a no from another client. If you really like the model but you are on 2nd or 3rd option then wait for a few days to see if the other options come off. Sometimes clients put an option on a model all week for a three day shoot, finalizing the dates at the last minute. If you have planned an outdoor shoot then it’s advisable to ‘option’ across a few days and confirm nearer the time when you’ve examined the weekly weather forecast.

Once you’ve organized your shoot date with your photographer you should then proceed with confirmation of your chosen model(s). No problem if you have 1st option but if you are waiting on a model on 2nd or 3rd option and the shoot date is nearing it would be advisable to go with your alternative choice. With the confirmation in place the agency will then send you a booking form listing all the fee details, payment due dates, etc

Cancellations are best avoided once the model is booked but if it is unavoidable bear in mind that you should try to cancel 24 hours before the booking is due to commence. Cancel just a few hours before and you will have to cough up at least half of the model fee.

Book a model for an all-day shoot and you will be expected to provide lunch and refreshments. (Plus travel expenses if the shoot is outside of London.)

Over-time is another extra cost to watch out for. If you’ve booked the model until 6pm and 6:30pm is fast approaching you will be charged for overtime by an hourly rate.

It’s not always easy to find a good team but it makes all the difference to the end result, always set time aside when looking for appropriate models, and the same goes for photographers, make-up artists, stylists and printers.

A selection of UK agencies:

Boss Model Management
33 Turner Street
M4 1DW

T:0161 237 0100
F:0161 236 1237



133 Bridgegate
G1 5HZ

T: 0141 552 6262
F: 0141 552 5344



First Floor
16 Neals Yard

T: 020 3696 9911



Industry Model Management
Suite 5, Basil Chambers
65 High St

T: 0161 839 1771



Linden Staub
29 Charlotte Rd

T: 020 3871 0902



12 Macklin St

T:020 7025 4900
F:020 7025 4901



The Ingenuity Lab
Jubilee Campus
University of Nottingham,
Triumph Rd
Nottingham NG7 2TU




4th Floor,

Broadway Studios,

20 Hammersmith Broadway,

London, W6 7AF

T:020 7352 7273



40/42 Parker St

T:020 7333 0888
F:020 7242 4788



27-35 Mortimer Street

T:020 7299 1300
F:020 7299 1385



5 Jubilee Place

T:020 7376 7764
F:020 7376 5145



Unit 17, Tileyard Studios
Tileyard Road
N7 9AH

T:020 3819 7410



Unit 1,
60 Great Eastern Street,

T:020 3409 9180



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