The origins story of aspiring fashion photographers everywhere is often a similar experience that is shared by many. It usually begins with dabbling in a stylized shoot, falling in love and then building a portfolio in order to get in with a modeling agency before the elusive next step of success.

There are many questions that surround the inner workings of a modeling agency, how to get a foot in the door and the relationship between the model and photographer. Photographer Ernesto Sue attempts to demystify the business in a candid interview with Leigh Moose, a former NYC photographer and owner of 3BBM, a mother, development and placement agency.

As a photographer, it is important to know the requirements and market specifics in order to properly develop the model while simultaneously developing one’s own portfolio as the trajectory for aspiring models and photographers often run parallel to each other. Learning the intricacies and business side of various agencies is also good for business.

In addition to the educational aspect of shared knowledge to be handed down, many agencies are also becoming all-enveloping brands that are continuing to add creatives to their roster. For hairstylists, makeup artists, fashion stylists and photographers, being represented by an agency can mean more access to paid opportunities.

The interview is just shy of an hour and 10 minutes (photographers can jump to the 47 minute mark if pressed for time) and is packed with priceless information about the industry including when and what a photographer should submit to the agency and all things payment and trade related; when a photographer should pay a model, when trade is mutually beneficial and when a photographer should be paid. 

Additionally, Leigh talks about what the agency looks for in a model, proper model development and the specifics of a test shoot. 


Also be sure to check out and subscribe to Ernesto’s YouTube channel for other content and business related episodes.