Your little one is so cute! You get stopped on the street and your child is showered with compliments. You often get asked “do they model?” You wonder if maybe your child could model. From print to television, children and babies are all needed for advertisement to roles in television and movies. Your adorable child is so cute they would make a great addition to a television commercial or in a magazine ad. But how do you show the rest of your world that your little one has what it takes to get into child modeling?
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What Age Do I Get My Child Into Modeling?
Your child can start modeling at any age! Brands need models of all ages so you can start as soon as you are comfortable. Generally, parents put their children into modeling after they have received their vaccinations. Being a child model means a lot of people are near you. The choice and comfort level is up to you and your child’s doctor. Consult your child’s doctor before you begin the modeling journey.
How Do I Get My Child Into Modeling?
You know you want to take the next step into child modeling. Your child is so cute and you get compliments all of the time but how do you take the next step into this world of print and commercials? Here are some facts first before you take the giant leap.
Cuteness Isn’t Everything
Your baby is absolutely adorable but how good looking a child is isn’t the end all be all. Children and babies do not have to be perfect, there are much more important attributes agencies, print and commercial modeling needs to be the ultimate child model.
Baby or Child Temperment Play a Huge Role
You have the cutest baby on Earth but can they smile when you need them to? Are they shy of strangers or are they personable? A Child or Babies temperment plays a great deal in booking a gig for your child. If your child is beautiful but tempermental, beautiful but fussy, the attitude is everything.
Your child or baby will be asked to pose with strangers. They will have people working fast around them and they would need to follow instructions (babies to some extent). If your child or baby is always crying or has a tantrum, they cant shut down set until your child is calm and ready. It comes at a great expense to production and a lot of people’s jobs are on the line. They need a child who can keep calm under busy situations.
If your child cries often, is shy or wary of strangers, really think about whether your child will enjoy modeling or it will become a chore for them.
Usually,The Money Isn’t Great
If you think your child will be a millionaire on those magazine covers or those commercials, think again. Your child will be paid well but not enough to necessarily retire on.
Child models can be paid anywhere from $50 to $250 an hour and more if the child is well known. Usually, a child model can be guaranteed two hours of work. Standards of work are governed by the state, province or country that you live in. Children are generally not allowed to work over a certain amount of hours a day so their days are shorter than an adult model’s would be. Even though the hourly salary can be lucrative, the amount of time is usually governed by child labor laws and can mean shorter days.
Where You Live Depends on Where You Work
Go-sees are a thing. Going from potential job to potential job means you will be traveling around the city, visiting your Go-see to audition for a potential modeling job means being on time, having the required “asks” and meeting with the agency or job. These happen during the day, often during school hours. If you live in a rural area and want your child to be a regular model, you have to either live close to a city or incur the cost of driving into the city on very short notice.
Some agencies do not even take a child who lives outside of a major cities perimeters! Not showing up to a Go-see is like not showing up for work. It is considered very rude and you not only lose the job, but you will be booked less, if at all.
You May Have To Change Your Job
Go-sees come up quickly and often times last minute. Parents who manage their child’s modeling career find it difficult if they have a regular nine to five job. Some parents become a stay-at-home parent managing their child’s career while others have odd jobs that they work at night. If you have a job that needs you in the office or warehouse and isn’t flexible with last minute appointments, you may have to change your job or rethink how you can balance Go-sees and work.
Being a Momager or Dadager or Parentager is hard work!
Now that you know what to expect from child modeling, here is how you begin!
You Have to Get A Portfolio
A big mistake that parents and models in general make with their portfolio is that they have to look like a million bucks. Parents get their child’s hair professionally styled and use filters for their child. They buy the best outfits. This is not what agencies or go-sees want to see! Your child is a work of art and they want to create the canvas with your child as a subject.
Put your child in their natural state. No filters, no fun angles no beautiful backgrounds. Here are some tips to get you started:
-child with no make-up
– child in regular clothing
-a head shot
-a full body shot
-head to torso shot
-black and white photos
You Want To Find an Agency For Your Child Model
Your beautiful child wants to be represented! Parents will seek out an agency to represent your child and recommend them to go to Go-Sees. The appointments can be last minute. Your agent will recommend you based on your portfolio and may require you to have photos done.
Finding an agency can be tricky for parents. There are a lot of fake agencies out there. Why would someone create a fake agency? They can sell you the opportunity to “upgrade” your portfolio. A few thousand dollars later you have pictures you may not have needed and you’re not booking contracts of importance.
Reputable Agencies For Child Models
A reputable agency has a resume of child models who have had successful shoots. They do not charge you large amounts of money to join the agency and they don’t charge you for expensive head shots. An agency believes in your child because they know that everyone can make money and have great experiences. They believe in your child.
An agency would have minimally a reputable website, a physical permanent office. They would be in the industry for years with professionals and connections in the modeling world. They can prove actually success with their cliental and they have a fair contract. a 20% commission is normal for an agencies cut.
If your child is scouted by an agency that is reputable, many modeling agencies encourage you to call their offices to verify identity of the potential scout, as we see with prestigious Wilhelmina Models.
There are modeling agencies in every major city. To find the one that is best for you,read reviews, check posts about each company and research these talent agents. Filling out forms and sending the head shots can be so exciting! Once you sign the contract you have to get used to the day in the life of being the parent to a child model.
What to Expect As a Child Model
As a child model, approximately one fourth of your income to go back to the agency. Secondly, one fourth of your gigs will be booked from your portfolio alone! This means keeping your beautiful child’s portfolio up to date.
A child model can expect to get calls, sometimes last minute to see Go-Sees for exciting opportunities! This can range from television, to commercials to print ads to online magazine ads. Your child could be a background character in a movie or smiling for a grocery store ad. The possibilities are endless. However, the more Go-sees and ads you refuse, the less you will be booked. Your child or baby has to enjoy what they are doing or it can become difficult for you all to enjoy this unique and exciting experience.
The average Go-See experience is maximum 20 minutes long. Expect to be in and out!
Once your child is booked, they become the talent. These industries start early! Expect to go into a meeting with your child’s agency about what the contract entails. This includes what is expect, where to go, what to do and of course payment. Here is a typical day of a working child model.
Day Break Down of The Average Baby or Child Model
It is time to get ready! Baby or child is all ready to start their day. They are bathed, fed and changed. Parent of the model child begins a long and exciting day as well. These parents are resilient, quick to think and of course plan for anything. A parent would pack things that they will need for an entire day. A child that is regularly employed usually works between 2 to 4 times a month.
What to Pack For Your Child Model
-Diapers and Wipes if your child is still in diapers.
-Books and (newer) toys. We recommend rotating toys so the toys always seem new to your child.
-noise cancelling headphones. Just in case you have to wait and it’s nap time, sets can be quite loud at times.
-Ipad to play some music or watch some of your child models
-healthy snacks and some drinks for you and your child
10am until 1pm
Photo Shoot! Your child model is getting photos done and you need to be there but not get in the way of the process of the photo shoot. Its a balance for parents of a child model.
2pm to 4pm
You have been called two a few Go-sees around the city. You will go from Go-see to Go-see with about 15 to 20 minutes per session. It is busy, especially if you have multiple appointments booked that day. You squeeze in some lunch and drive off to your appointments. Make sure your baby or child model squeezes into some naps!
You drive home trying to avoid city traffic and get dinner sorted for your child model! A regular working child model can expect to have these days between to two to four times a month. It’s a busy life!
How To Become A Child Model
Here is a quick rundown on how to become a child model.
-Start a portfolio of unaltered pictures of your child. Head shot, full body shot and a black and white shot is great.
-Choose an agency to apply to. Remember to read on the website the rules and what they are looking for!
-Research professional agencies. Make sure you do not have to fall into any scam traps.
-Go to call backs and interviews.
Child Model No Agent
What if you don’t have an agent and you don’t want your child to have an agent? It is still possible to be a child model. You do not have to have an agency. Agencies are great because they have relationships with magazines and those looking for child actors. They know Go-Sees and are trusted in the modeling world. However, you can have a great child modeling career if you become your child’s manager. Here is what you need to do:
Talk to an accountant
Talk to different stores and brands in town that are independent
Get head shots done of your child
Take a photography class
How To Spot Fake Modeling Agencies
Fake modeling agencies are everywhere and you don’t want to get caught up in one of their schemes. There are many ways to keep on top of the latest scams.
It Is Too Easy to Get In
You apply and are immediately accepted! They want to see you as soon as possible. You arrive to a small office that looks like it was just moved into. The “agent” emails or tells you in person how your child is going to be huge. They have the look, the attitude, everything! Your child is going to be very rich and fast. Everyone wants that fairy tale story and we know your child is as cute as a button but as the old saying goes, “if it is too good to be true, then it is!” Don’t worry, your child will get there, its going to take a bit of work.
The Agent Fees Are Too High
You get accepted to an agency and you receive the contract and there is a lot to read! You skim over it and find the agencies fees. Fifty percent! Well, a small price to pay for your child to be a model, right? Wrong! The standard is twenty percent and this agency may be booking you for real modeling contracts but take a lot of money from you. They may also have in their contract that they can bill you for anything. Constant updates to portfolio, you can only use their photographers, you have to go to a runway school or pay for this make-up team. These are all serious red flags.
They Bill You For Everything
That coffee they offered you when your child’s set was delayed? That will be five dollars please. Your agent fee was only the half of it. You went to a photo shoot for a brand and somehow you owe your agent money? Being nickle and dimed is not professional, its a scam. You and your child deserve better.
They Have Horrible Reviews
Every business in its life time is going to get a few bad reviews. Their are definitely some bad apples in every bunch. However, this agency you have found has horrible reviews. From high fees to billing problems, models and parents are complaining about this agency. Check the dates (has this happened recently or ten years ago?) and see if their is a consistent story amongst the former families ( are they over billing? Is everyone complaining about unsafe sets or not being booked?) You can trust the word of mouth enough so you don’t have these same type of problems.
Keeping your child safe is integral from people who are scammers. They usually want to make money off of your willingness to put your child into the modeling industry. These tips will help you narrow down what agency to work for.
Pro Tip To Find A Reputable Child Modeling Agency
Other than going with traditional agencies, look at your favorite child models and see who they work with. These are reputable agencies that are getting these children great jobs. Who represents them? A quick check on Instagram or Google will get you your answer. Maybe this is the perfect agency for your child model too!
Your Child Could Be The Next Child Model!
Child modeling can be a fun and exciting experience for your child. They get a taste of the working world, get to see what it is like being on set for a print photo shoot or a commercial and they have beautiful photos and possibly videos of their commercials to look back on. It could be the beginning of an incredible career for them or they an look back on the experience as something that was really unique. Either way, you want your child to cherish the experience. Child modeling can be done safely and be a great time for your entire family, as long as everyone is enjoying themselves. Take these tips into consideration and most of all, have a great time. We know your baby or child has what it takes to be a child model!