This I think is a really valuable question, my first suggestion to all, look up the meaning of the word agent.
From a photographer point-of-view would expect an agent to, book travel and suggest new models pro-actively for me to shoot as well as cashing them up. In experience I have, contact agents who display models no longer on their book, try to change the model I have request, due to their own personal agenda, charge over the top for do very little, and also with held, ignored everything I have said in reference to what type of look and model I am after.
I have had agents, do the first 2 email when negotiating a shoot and then left me and the model to sort out the rest, meaning they had very little to do at all and still hit you with the 20%
I also had agents try and control where the images are used, and one agent, who had nothing to do with the shoot also control who I sold the images to. I also feel at time when they take on models, instead of getting the models sorted out with a good and much needed shoot they just use any pictures they can find on line. I really find dealing with some agents, more time consuming than time saving, and for example you say you paying £300 for the shoot, they add their 20% and bill you, and you like no, I told you I would pay £300, so you take you 20% from that.
tehy not pasted on information and also withhold pay for models for months, when I have paid up
Do they cause more problem than they solve? It feels like it at times.
On internet modelling sites like this I'd wager that 99% of the time 'agents' are most likely middle-aged men who feel that they've struck gold by preying on the dreams of young girls. In doing this they get to socialise with girls who in some cases could be their granddaughters while at the same time seeing them naked and getting a few free photoshoots (or worse), all in the name of getting them a portfolio started of course and opening doors for them. At the same time they're also wrecking good chances for both the girl and other photographers to shoot them by poisoning the models' minds with nonsense about the way this business works, how much to charge, who to work with etc. etc.
This may appear to be a somewhat cynical view but stories like this are not unheard of and I'll stand by this view.
That maybe true in some case, and I have heard and even witness occasion like that, but a few of the agencies are run by women, and they are very lame and lazy approach, with little professionalism, in my view, they seem to live on their own hype, which they pat themselves on the back for.
but it seem very hard to find an agent, that does do their job and take over those tasks you want them to to earn their 20%
it seem stupid why they don't invest in their models, and get them photo shoots sort out for portfolios, after all good photos sell the models, which will then bring in more form for them, and make more for the agent.
I've shot models who were booked through agents and they turned out to be a stone or two heavier than their portfolio shots. when the agent was asked how come, she replied that she hasn't actually seen the model in person for several years and had no idea what she looked like. I've also paid agents booking fees and never received a receipt from them despite requesting it many many times, so I can't show them on my books.
I've kinda lost interest in using agents now. I think networking with models is probably the way to go.
Sorry guys I not talking about the chancers out there, there are stacks of them about.
Yesterday an agency was going to charge £160 as their fee on a two day shoot, and told be it would be easier if I booked the flight.
Having worked with agencies before, it is not.. Because you play piggy in the middle with someone who can get the information wrong. It is better for me to ask for a model and say what dates I want to shoot, and the agent to confirm it and book her flight while she has the model on the phone asking what her real name is, and giving her the flight reference number, I gave them the options of billing me for the flight there and then or later with the modelling fee.
Other wise I have to ask if a model wants to work, then the date, her nearest airport, her real name and then send the flight info, that is very time consuming as each question goes through another person and then there is a delay at the other end to answer and then it comes back through another person, who does not have the pro-active thinking to have that information at hand to sort it.
You can lose time and it can cost money as flight rise and seat get booked up.
It was too much for them, but forwarding emails for £160 is clearly not.