1. BEWARE photographers who try to sell you expensive portfolio shots before you approach any agencies. This is a common one. They tell you that you'll never get anywhere with an agency unless you have a professional portfolio to show. Not true.

2. BEWARE fly-by-night "agencies" that charge so-called "registration fees," and are more interested in getting you to pay for expensive portfolios than finding you work.

3. BEWARE modeling schools. Some people believe that they are an outright scam, while others believe that they're a pretty good way to gain a little experience, so long as you have money to burn. It's your call to make. Just don't let anyone tell you that you must go through a school (which always seems to be, coincidentally, their own in-house school) before they'll even consider you.

4. BEWARE false-sounding promises. Flattery, promises to get you working immediately, unusual fees and high-pressure tactics are all signs of a sleazeball operation.

5. When you approach an agency, check them out, make sure they've been around for more than three months, and have a nice big ad in the Yellow Pages. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints levelled against them.

6. If someone asks you to pose naked or to have sex in exchange for jobs, then you'll know you've hit rock bottom. Alert the authorities. Keep in mind that, although this sort of thing is more common in less classy operations, it is not altogether unknown at a higher level.

7. When the agency gives you a contract to sign, take the trouble to have your own lawyer look at it before you sign.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW be a model?